I’m really pleased to be able to contribute to the NLA blog in their first post-Election guest spot.
Here are my top ten tips for buying to let in 2010…
1) Carry out thorough research. Check local rental conditions, analyse rental demand and determine the types of renting in your area. Look for obvious clues such as a large company relocation, the opening of trendy bars and shops, or the existence of good schools nearby and choose a property with features that will appeal to your market.
2) An appealing property rental is one that is close to transport links and/or has off street parking.
3) If you plan to rent your property to professionals, all of the bedrooms should ideally be doubles.
4) Think low maintenance. You want a property that will run itself as smoothly as possible.
5) If you are managing the property yourself, be prepared to do some hard work. A buy-to-let property is far from being a hassle free investment.
6) Choose a property close to home, which will enable you to pop over and sort out any problems easily. If you are not able to do this, it can cost you more than a week’s rent to get someone in.
7) Bear in mind that family rental homes require plenty of space and storage.
8) If you are the sole freeholder of the property, you will need to ensure that the common parts and the exterior of the property are well maintained. You may wish to spend a couple of hours a week vacuuming and polishing or employ a professional cleaning company to keep these areas up to scratch. If your buy to let is leasehold, however, the responsibility for the maintenance of the exterior and interior communal areas will rest with the freeholder unless your lease specifically states otherwise.
9) Steer clear of large gardens, especially in a town property, unless you intend adding the cost of a gardener to the weekly rental and you are aiming to market your property as a family home. As any keen gardener knows it doesn’t take long for a little neglect to show.
10) Consider whether you want to let furnished or unfurnished. Sometimes there is little difference between the rents commanded by unfurnished compared with part or fully furnished properties to let. It all depends on your market and the demand in your area. Before you go looking for furniture, do your research and find the best option for you.
More about Sarah’s new venture:
- Tepilo.com is my new free to use property website which simply walks you through the process of buying, selling or letting a property, giving you practical advice on how to make the most of your property through design, negotiation and marketing, whilst ultimately saving you money by removing the need for an estate or lettings agent.
- The site launched towards the end of last year and has greatly exceeded our expectations. The uptake has been very quick with over 7,400 homes uploaded to the site, hundreds of sales/lettings a month and huge interest from potential partners and sponsors. We were delighted to be selected as one of the top 100 small businesses in the UK and also shortlisted for website of the year.
- For landlords we hope the site has a lot to offer – you can upload your properties with no charges or commission, keep as many as you like on the site, and when you’ve let the property, just mark it as let, add an available from date and your property can still remain searchable and collect interest ready for the new term – eliminating the need to relist, or have those painful breaks with no tenants.