Dust away the cobwebs, and give your rental property a new lease of life this spring
Could you be making more profit from you buy-to-let investment? When considering an increase in rent, we recommend sprucing up your property and ensuring it remains to be a safe and practical place to live.
A survey by McBains Cooper states that four in ten tenants expect to be renting for up to a decade. By making the minor improvements listed below either between tenancies or whilst your current tenants are on holiday, you are likely to increase the desirability of your property to longer term renters and can also justify an increase in rent.
Give your property a face lift
Industry guidelines suggest that landlords should redecorate every three to five years. Its important landlords adhere to this advice and regularly refresh both the interior and exterior décor.
When viewing a property, prospective tenants will look at the quality of décor and will not only focus on the walls and windows, but also; locks, taps, door handles, curtains and blinds.
Richard O'Neill, Romans Lettings Managing Director, comments: “Don’t try and over decorate, this is not your home, it is an investment property. We suggest sticking to neutral colours to ensure the property appeals to all tenants and paint will be easy to touch up during the tenancy.”
Many people overlook the exterior and focus on the interior, however, kerb appeal is key. Ensure the exterior of the property looks just as cared for and clean as the interior. Simple touches such as adding hanging baskets or window boxes can boost the properties appeal to long term renters looking for a permanent home.
Review energy efficiencies and legislation
Keeping up-to-date with lettings legislation and energy efficiency standards will ensure your investment is safe to live in and help tenants keep their costs down. With penalties for non-compliance becoming harsher and fines increasing, many landlords are now turning to letting agents for help with staying on the right site of the lettings law.
Recent changes to legislation relating to energy efficiency means that tenants are now able to request that landlords carry out energy efficiency improvements and landlords are legally obliged to consent if the request is reasonable. With the changes to laws surrounding Energy Performance Certificates in April 2018 and soon to be imposed PAT (portable applicant testing) test and an electrical safety check of wiring on all tenanted properties, we strongly advise landlords to get their property up to standard sooner rather than later.
If it doesn’t work, fix it
Before considering increasing rent or re-letting the property to new tenants, go around the property and if it does not work, fix it. Replacing broken objects will not only increase the property value but will also ensure tenants take care of it.
Make sure that all the white goods are serviced regularly. It’s far more expensive to replace a washing machine or boiler than it is to undertake regular maintenance and repairs. Budgeting for regular services is much less of a strain on your profit margins than paying out for unexpected replacements.
Richard adds; “With our Property Management service, we provide both the landlord and tenant with a regular accurate record of the property’s condition, giving reassurance to both landlord and tenant. Because our team of Property Managers are highly experienced they can spot maintenance issues before they become serious or cause damage. It’s usually cheaper to maintain than fix when it’s actually broken.”
Preparing for the first viewing
For those seeking new tenants, it important to view the property objectively when prepping for viewings. Be sure to showcase the property in the best light and don’t rely on your existing tenants to do this for you. Pop into the property before the viewing and ensure all the best features of the property are highlighted. Let in as much natural light as possible by opening windows and doors, this will also make sure the property smells fresh and appealing. Of course, this all takes time, that’s why many landlords ask Romans to take care of this as part of our five star landlord services.
The exterior is just as important as the interior. After all, this is the first thing the tenants will see. Make sure that the grass, hedges and plants, are all well maintained and the welcome mat is clean and presentable. Ensuring the garden has been properly looked after and is well maintained is advisable for those hoping to attract long term renters who are looking for a home.