The Top Four Do’s
DO properly interview your estate agents to ensure that they have the resources to do the job well for you before choosing who to appoint. People often choose an individual that they like and feel will do a good job, which is important; but also look beyond this at the support that the individual is given by the company that they work for. From the basics of number of staff and volume of business to the experience and knowledge of the team.
DO make sure that your property looks its best in order to get the best tenant at the best price, especially in the current market. Many landlords can become blind to the most important aspect that will attract a good tenant – presentation.
DO take responsibility for wear and tear and plan a regular maintenance program to ensure that you keep your standards up. Put a percentage of your rent aside to cover maintenance costs to avoid trying to pile them all onto your tenant at the end of their tenancy. The area of maintenance and wear and tear is often overlooked by clients who manage their own properties.
DO read the market realistically. A good agent will want to get you the best price and for you to be happy as their client, but this can lead to them not wanting to give you the right advice to avoid confrontation. A great agent will let you see what is going on and be direct in advising you what to do next if things aren’t working out. If your property is being regularly viewed and is well presented but you are struggling to find a tenant, chances are the price is too high.
The Top Four Don’ts
DON’T get emotionally attached. You will have put a lot of hard work (and money) into your investment but getting emotional about each tenancy will often cloud judgement and make the process harder. It is best to keep a professional and business-like approach to running a rental property.
DON’T instruct just one agent. Most experienced landlords in Central London will instruct more than one estate agent to spread their risk. Competition is good and there is little real financial benefit of sticking with one agency.
DON’T expect your tenant to be a saint and leave properties immaculate after each tenancy. As with most things in life it is better to be wise and worldly in your approach to what your tenants may or may not do. Plan to redecorate every 3-5 years. Realistic expectations are crucial to enjoying being a landlord.
DON’T get too familiar with your tenants. They are neither your friend nor your enemy. They are however the person paying to live in your investment. Keeping things professional and creating healthy boundaries from the outset will make it easier to deal with any issues that may occur during your tenancy. If you get too close to your tenant it can be much harder to deal with any more serious issues that come up. Stick to last names and a formal introduction by email until you get the measure of who is living in your property.
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