The experts at Belvoir reveal five essential plans you need to be a successful landlord and how to prepare them…
WHAT: Plan 1. Marketing
WHY: A clear and concise marketing plan allows you to position your property correctly in order to amplify your exposure to the market, maximise the achievable rental return and minimise periods of void.
HOW: “First of all think about the content of your marketing material,” says owner of Belvoir Bournemouth Luke Marchbanks.
“A well-written description with a catchy summary is advisable to really ‘sell’ the lifestyle of your property. Good quality, professional photographs are a must too – in fact, many potential tenants make the decision whether to view a property based on its visual impact.
“Always be honest with your words and pictures and deliver a true reflection of the property and what it offers in order to avoid disappointment during viewings.
“Next, research the major property portals so you can create a good online presence,” he continues. “And look at other advertising solutions, such as local newspapers or community message boards.
“Planning ahead is also essential so it’s vital to know when you are likely to need to remarket. Be proactive and talk to your tenant to find out their future thoughts and how long they are likely to stay at the property.
“Importantly, too, it’s advisable to regularly review your marketing material and plans in order to keep your exposure appealing and fresh.”
WHAT: Plan 2. Inspections
WHY: Without regular inspections it’s impossible for landlords to know what’s going on behind the closed doors of what is probably one of their biggest assets… so start planning ahead now!
HOW: “If you or an agent don’t visit your property on a regular basis it can deteriorate without your knowledge, plus there’s no way of knowing if the tenant is living within the terms of their Tenancy Agreement,” says owner of Belvoir Hendon Josh Sacofsky. “Quarterly visits are advisable and having a clear plan for the year to come will help reinforce the commitment to inspect.
“Planning ahead will also allow you to arrange suitable dates and times which are convenient for both you and the tenant (with at least 24 hours written notice). If possible, the tenant should be at present when you visit as this will allow you to ask questions, plus receive feedback, about the property.
“Before inspecting create a checklist of areas you need to look at, or issues you need to look out for. Particularly pertinent are signs of general wear and tear, structural damage, damp or condensation, plus brown staining to the ceiling or walls which could indicate a leak. It can be useful to take along the original inventory as a point of reference.”
WHAT: Plan 3. Maintenance
WHY: Planning ahead for your property’s maintenance needs will help protect your investment and reduce the likelihood of future major repairs, plus allow you to budget for expenses. Additionally, a proactively-maintained property will also help attract good quality tenants who are likely to stay in the property longer and look after the property for you.
HOW: “Firstly, it’s important to create a good communication channel with your tenant so you are made aware of any deterioration or necessary repairs between inspections,” advises Luke.
“As part of your maintenance plan it is also useful to create a list of reliable, trustworthy contractors for all major areas, such as a plumber, electrician, general handyman etc, so the information is accessible at speed when needed.
“Your legal responsibilities, such as gas safety inspection dates, should be laid out carefully in your plan too so you can schedule ahead.
“Creating a timeline and diarizing your property’s potential maintenance needs in advance will allow you to categorise what will need to be done when and ensure the execution of routine maintenance is carried out efficiently.”
WHAT: Plan 4. Portfolio growth
WHY: Being an investment landlord with multiple rental properties is just like running any other business… and all businesses need a long-term business plan.
HOW: “Set yourself realistic and achievable targets so you can grow your property portfolio effectively,” advises Josh. “Think about timeframes too. When are you going to make your next investment? How long will the process take?
“Budgets and expenditure should also feature strongly in your planning. Make sure you’ve got your finances in place and, if you need funding from a bank, try and get that tied up – as a purchaser, having pre-agreed finances can make you desirable and can often act as a bargaining tool.”
Think ahead, too, to when you’ve purchased the property.
“Once you are in possession of the property you want to get it to market as quickly as you can in order to secure a speedy rental return,” says Josh.
“Compile a list of contractors who are going to make the property rental ready, plus short-list the potential agents who are going to manage the property for you.”
WHAT: Plan 5. Exit
WHY: Having a long-term plan in place regarding how you’re going to leave the market is vitally important so you can exit your investment in the most timely and cost effective way.
HOW: “Many investors focus a huge amount of work and due diligence into the start of their investment journey but don’t necessarily consider the end,” says Luke. “However, it’s essential that you plan ahead so you can structure your exit to maximise your property’s potential and profit.
“Knowing why you’re investing and what you want the property to achieve is vital here. The way your exit plan is structured will be dependent on, and dictated by, these long-term aims.
“Whatever your motivation for investing, financial planning is key,” he continues. “Before committing to a property purchase it is recommended to meet with someone from the financial sector to ensure that the investment will fulfil any long-term aspirations.
“It’s also important to remember that the market does change and prices and demand do fluctuate so your plan should be flexible, allowing you to regularly revisit and revise it as necessary.”
Article Courtesy of: Belvoir>