Tips from the experts at Belvoir to help you maximise the potential of your investments….
As a Buy to Let landlord your rental portfolio is probably your biggest asset, but are you making the most of it? John and Sue Warburton are the owners of Belvoir Leamington Spa and winners of the top Belvoir award for Franchise of the Year. Here are their top tips to help ensure that your Buy to Let properties are working for you.
1) Legal compliance
Did you know there are currently 151 laws relating to landlords and over 400 regulations? We are living in fast-moving times and legal changes to the rental industry are happening all the time, which makes it challenging for DIY landlords to keep up to date. Working with a reputable property management agent can save you time and money, but will also ensure that you remain compliant and on the right side of the law. To be non-compliant puts you at risk of hefty fines and can endanger the lives of tenants.
2) Mass marketing
Marketing your property to as wide an audience as possible is key to the success of your Buy to Let portfolio. Make sure you advertise on all the main marketing portals, but also make good use of social media, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, which can help to attract tenants from far and wide. Landlords who use an agent with a High Street shop also have the advantage of ensuring that their properties are showcased in the office window, with the potential to catch the eye of anyone who may be unintentionally browsing or deliberately searching for their perfect property.
3) Picture perfect
Gone are the days when you can use a quick picture from your phone to market your Buy to Let property! You need to consider factors such as the ideal time of day to take photographs, the angles of rooms, and the use of good lighting to maximise the potential of securing fantastic new tenants. It is worth commissioning a professional photographer to take a set of really good images.
4) Realistic rents
Market research is essential to ensure that the rent you are hoping to achieve is realistic. A lot of information is readily available on the Internet, so do a search of advertisements of similar properties in your chosen area. The best rental yields can often be achieved when people share a property, so that is well worth considering. Review rents regularly, but don’t raise rents indiscriminately or you may find that your tenants leave and you then incur the cost and inconvenience of finding new tenants. Remember that in a changing market there are times when rents will go down, as well as up, so if the market is slower in your area you will need to charge rents that are achievable and attractive to good quality tenants.
5) Be professional
Before you sign any tenancy agreement make sure that you have requested and followed up on references to ensure that your potential tenant is able to meet the agreed rents, and is likely to take good care of your property. It is also vital to undertake a professional inventory, complete with pictures and videos that will ensure that there are no disputes at the end of a tenancy. If you self-manage it is essential that the inventory is conducted as professionally as possible and that both the tenant and landlord are in agreement over the condition of the property.
6) Avoiding voids
Belvoir’s rental index shows that tenants are remaining in properties for longer than ever – often for up to two years or more. Having a good long-term tenant is a perfect arrangement for a landlord, as the tenant is likely to take good care of the property and will save you money in marketing and sourcing new tenants. A professional inventory will help to ensure that move-ins and move-outs are done as smoothly as possible.
7) Visit regularly
Keep on top of all internal and external maintenance issues, or your property can become less valuable in a competitive market. Visit properties regularly – at least every three months, but make sure you give tenants plenty of advance notice of when you intend to do an inspection. Be aware of those property maintenance issues that are the responsibility of landlords, and those that may be the responsibility of tenants. Try and build up a good rapport with your tenants, and respond quickly to any issues that need attention.
8) Portfolio review
Are your investment properties working for you? Is it time for a portfolio review? With the market changing so rapidly, it may be that the rental property or properties you have owned for a number of years may no longer be producing the best rental yields and profit margins. From time to time try and arrange an informal chat with a few local property experts to help you decide whether your portfolio could be tweaked or managed better to maximise your investments.
9) Get certified! Make sure your Buy to Let property is compliant with all the electrical and gas safety certificates that are now required by law. In addition, it is worth looking at insurance in case your tenant is unable to pay their rent due to ill health or redundancy. If in doubt, consult with a reputable property management agent, who will be able to advise on the latest compliance regulations, and insurance options.
To find your nearest Belvoir office please visit: www.belvoir.co.uk