When it comes to becoming a private landlord, it’s worth looking into and researching property investment as well as how to actually let a property. In today’s blog post, we have collated some of our top tips to help you prepare for becoming a landlord.
The first thing to consider is the type of building you’re after for buying to let. You want to think about the age of the building as well as the size.
Following on from this, you want to think about whether you want a new build property or an older one. There are advantages to both depending on what you’re looking for, a new build property will offer a fresher layout and design that could appeal to young couples, or a new family and the garden will require little to no maintenance as it will be new. Not only this, but because it’s a new build, the process could be quicker as it won't be tied up in a chain - which can make it more straightforward. On the other hand, an older property tends to offer more space (internally & externally) and can also be quicker as it is ready built, so you don’t have to wait for any construction on the house to finish.
Another thing to think about is the right sized property for renting. This should be based on who you intend to rent to. For example, if you want to become a student landlord, you should consider finding a property with a few bedrooms, compared to a young couple or individual who may only need a flat or property with one bedroom. Bear in mind that if you want to become a student landlord, or a landlord with a house in multiple occupation in the UK, you will need a licence.
Once you’ve found a property you’d like to rent out, think about how you want to furnish it. Opting for neutral colours throughout the home is a good place to start with wallpaper and painting the property, as it is unbiased and offers a fresh, clean & bright look to the place. When it comes to furnishings, the same thought can also be applied. We recommend you set a budget to help you purchase furnishings, and take into consideration that while you may not want to buy the most expensive items on the market, going for the cheapest could end up costing you more in the long run if it breaks.
If you are thinking of going for a fully furnished property, you’ll want to add suitable beds for each bedroom, appliances such as a fridge freezer, dishwasher & washing machine for the kitchen (although a dishwasher isn't necessary it may entice a family to rent there as opposed to one without) and then a sofa for the living room. Even though you are fully furnishing the place, make sure to not overcrowd the property with unnecessary items that the new renters will not need or possibly want. You want to leave some room for the renters to add their own personalisation to help make it feel like their own. A fully furnished property would be perfect for a young couple or individual who may be moving out for the first time and not have any accumulated furniture with them.
If you’re opting for a semi-furnished property, make sure the essential appliances are included such as lights, kitchen cabinets and possibly wardrobes. Choosing this or even an unfurnished property would be ideal for families or older couples, who may have already gathered a lot of furniture over time.
If you’re looking to mortgage your property, look in the local area for current rent prices to gauge how much you will be able to get. A good idea is to build up a savings fund for months where there are no tenants, so you can still cover your mortgage. Some mortgage providers will ask for rent prices to come up to 125% of their monthly interest payments, or even higher in some cases, to ensure you can cover all costs. You also want to ensure you have money for things that may crop up such as maintenance costs.
When it comes to looking after the property and the tenancy itself, an online property manager may be the best way to go about it. By making use of online property management services, you can easily communicate with potential and current tenants, screen them for basic checks and sign paperwork online, and also organise maintenance issues with reliable tradesmen should a problem arise.
Ensure you’re property and you are protected with landlord insurance. Make sure to research your property insurance options, and check if you’re getting a mortgage what they require you to have, as some will need you to carry out certain levels of policies. If the property is going to be empty for a few months, you may also need to adjust your policy to accommodate it.
Another option is to get rent guarantee insurance, so you’re covered in situations where a tenant is unable to pay the rent.
We hope you’ve gathered some useful tips from this blog post, and hope it helps you in your journey to becoming a landlord. Please bear in mind these are only tips, and are for guidance only.