The buy-to-let sector is a thriving industry. Becoming involved in the private rented sector is a serious business. Landlords need to ensure that they’re able to find and retain good quality tenants and handle maintenance and repairs issues efficiently. Choosing the right agent to guide, advise and support them in a way that helps them to best manage such situations, and create a profitable property portfolio, is therefore vital.
There are so many inadequate and, at best mediocre, agents out there. They’ll agree to market and manage properties on behalf of landlords but don’t provide the service behind this, which is the most important aspect. Agents will simply put a property on the market with no plan, or even discussion with the landlord, about how it would market better and, essentially, be leased much quicker at a rate the landlord desires. Questions every landlord should ask themselves include:
- Has your property been on the rental market for more than a few weeks?
- Has your agent discussed how your property could be more attractive to potential tenants?
- Have they had an honest discussion with you about the wear and tear of your investment and whether it’s time to make some improvements, so that it can be tenanted quicker and potentially let out at a higher rate?
- Are you an out of area landlord who has rarely or never seen your investment?
Honesty is the best policy
Being honest with landlords and upfront about the improvements they need to make in their properties, to secure tenants and a good return on investment, is something all agents need to do but many simply don’t. A rental property needs some TLC every now and then and we recommend a landlord budgets for allocating 10% of their annual rental income back into the property for its upkeep such as decorating, new flooring, and furnishings where required.
Unsatisfied landlords often get in touch with us to appraise their properties that have been on the market a while. When appraising them, we have discovered some very basic issues that can be fixed easily. For instance, some are dirty, or need painting, or are overpriced for the current market. I recall one visit to an apartment recently which had been on the market for three months with no interest from viewers.
Following our assessment of the property, we advised the landlord to complete a deep clean and carry out some minor decoration work, which all cost less than £200. Within two weeks, after we had put it back on the market, we secured tenants on a 12-month lease. This landlord lost over £2000 due to no occupancy, which could have been avoided if the right agent advice was given from the outset.
If an agent is not honest with you about current market trends, the condition of your property, or the correct rental amount, then they are costing you money in terms of a void period and the monthly outlay of Council Tax on your vacant property.
At George F. White, we are focused on providing a professional, friendly but ultimately honest service, ensuring landlords are given the best advice to let out their property, even if it involves spending some money upfront, so that their property stands out among the rest in a fast moving, highly competitive sector.