A stress-free way to becoming a landlord for the first time
So you've decided that you want to become a landlord. What next? Being aware and on top of all your responsibilities, knowing the pitfalls and staying organized will make the process a whole lot easier—and hopefully more lucrative! Here are the top things every first-time landlord needs to know.
Identify your target market
Weigh up demand and ask yourself, who needs to rent? Major markets include students and young families. The property has got to be in the right area with the right amenities for your ideal tenant. Professionals need good transport links to commute to work, for example. But make sure there isn't a local oversupply!
Keep it simple
When it comes to buying a property, you should choose one that is manageable. By this we mean that should be able to financially deal with any repairs or changes that need to be made to the house, so you may want to limit the size of the property and number of bedrooms. Make sure that there are no structural problems and set a strict budget for repairs and renovation. With simplicity in mind, keep the decor tasteful and neutral... no leopard print wallpaper!
You will need a loan to finance the purchase, so consult a professional mortgage adviser to make sure you're making the best decision based on your circumstances. You need to know what kind of return you're expecting (based on market research) and how you'll pay back the home loan.
Draw in your ideal tenant
If you market your property online, consider paying a professional photographer to take really great photos and make sure your description is clear and accurate. This way, people who contact you will know exactly what they're getting. You should always meet prospective tenants in person and come prepared for questions about refuse collection times, energy suppliers and so on.
Don't neglect the details
There are some little things that you might forget about—but they're super important! Are you totally up to date with legal requirements such as notice periods for departing tenants and local regulations about rent reviews? Will you be handling contracts or will you leave it to a professional agency? Who will conduct background checks on tenants? Do you have a contingency plan if they don't pay rent on time? Have you got home insurance?
Do you have trusted plumbers or electricians on hand should the radiators need bleeding or there's a tripped fuse? Homio, from Europ Assistance, enables you to have a stable network of trusted tradespeople available whenever you need them. With all of these areas covered, your buy-to-let investment should be one of the best you'll ever make!