If you have a vacant property you will want to find new tenants quickly.
In order to do this, you need to make sure your property is perfect for any potential tenant.
First things first is to work out exactly who your potential tenants are. That doesn’t necessarily mean the person you’d like in an ideal world, but is the person your property is best suited to.
It is important to remember that decor can be changed; location can’t.
If your property is in a good, quiet, residential area, has 2/3+ bedrooms and is walking distance to a school and the local playing fields or park, it’s more than likely that it will appeal to a young family.
If it’s a 1 bed flat over a shop on the high street, it’s going to be more appealing to a young professional.
If it’s on an estate, with 95% council owned properties, your likely market are benefit recipients (in my experience often those who are tired of waiting on council lists and taking matters in to their own hands!).
Once you have recognised and embraced the market your property will appeal to, it’s time to make sure your property is what they’re looking for. You should bear in mind the return on investment and consider what will be most appealing for least cost.
Consider what your tenants would want. For example, young professionals like unfussy decoration and showers. For less than £500 you could redecorate the key rooms, put a shower over the bath, change the kitchen cupboard doors and drawers, and even put some funky (but not too funky!) tiles in the kitchen.
Consider the return on investment if the renovations cost you £500 and your monthly rent is £500. You are you more likely to secure tenants quickly (if you get them just 2 weeks quicker than you would have done without the renovations, you are already £250 up!). Tenants are more likely to keep a property in good order if it’s in a good condition to start with, so your renovations next time round are likely to be less. You can claim the renovation costs on your self assessment, which will reduce the amount of tax you have to pay on your rental income. It is easy to see how minimal effort can provide you with maximum reward.
I was recently asked by a landlord what changes I would recommend in order for her to achieve the highest rental income and the chance of a quick let. She had c. £3000 set aside for renovations. My answer: retile the bathroom. She had proposed to move stud walls in order to change bedrooms sizes and possibly moving the bathroom to make the bedrooms larger. The simple fact of the matter was that the costs for the work would not have offered her any return on her investment. A simple bathroom retile to something brighter and more neutral would suffice.
Once your property is ready for potential tenants to view, it is important you target your marketing to them. Over 90% of tenants look for their next home online. Rightmove is the UK’s leading property website so it is crucial that your property is showing on their site. You can use the services of your local high street agent or an online letting agent, such as The Online Letting Agents, to assist you with this.
Make sure the description of the property targets your market. It should make a point of all of the features that will be most appealing to your target market. For example, a family will be interested in bedroom sizes and proximity to schools, where a young professional may be more interested in the distance to bars and restaurants.
If your property is getting lost in a crowd of similar properties, consider making it unique by accepting pets and/or housing benefit applicants (providing these aren’t already your target market and that any freehold allows). There are very few rental properties available for tenants with pets or who receive benefits, and so your property will immediately stand out from the crowd.
If you would like any advice regarding your rental property, the best way to maximise your investment, or techniques to ensure a quick let, please call Eleanor on 03300 883973.