Daryn’s top tips for new ‘buy to let’ landlords

“I’m often asked by those who have taken the plunge and decided to invest in a property, what to do next once they’ve completed on their purchase.

So what happens next once you’ve got the keys in your hand to your new rental investment property? Here are my top 5 tips to make sure that your new investment is going to work for you.

1 – Look around the property now it is empty and see what works need doing. I always tell my Landlords to pretend that they are viewing the property as a potential tenant. If they see something that they are not happy with, then so will any new tenant viewing the property.

2 – You need to decide whether you want an agent to just find you a tenant or you want one who can fully manage the property on your behalf. When looking for good agent, visit two or three different ones, you don’t automatically have to use the agent you brought the property from. There are many lettings agents in our area and they all offer very similar services but you have to feel confident that you can work with an agent who will not only find you a good tenant, but who is also happy to work with you to make your investment purchase works as well as possible for you. If you’re looking for a fully managed service ask the agent the following:

  • how many properties do they fully manage,
  • how much deposit do they collect,
  • where is the deposit lodged,
  • how do they deal with maintenance issues,
  • when do they inspect the property,
  • how is the rent collected and
  • how long does it take for you to receive the rent into your bank account.

Discuss management fees with the agent: how much is their setup, does it include an inventory? Also find out how much they charge the tenants for referencing. The referencing fees could be high and put off some potential tenants, meaning the property could be empty for longer and this , in turn, could lose you money. Asking questions is the key to you getting a feel for whether an agent is one with whom you want to work and build up a long term working relationship.

3 – Once you have found an agent your happy to work with, invite them to the property to carry out a valuation appraisal. Even though you may have carried out some works to the property ask the agent what they think about the overall condition. This is now the time to get the property looking its best and any valuable input is key to getting the property occupied in the shortest period of time.

4 –  Once you have completed all these works to the property, now is the best time to get the property professionally cleaned, including all carpets. Two reasons for this, firstly the property will look its best for photos and for potential tenants viewing the property, and secondly, when you have an inventory carried out it will state that the property has been cleaned to a good standard.

5 – So your agent has found you a tenant and you’re happy to let the property too. You know need to make sure that the property is legal and safe to rent out. A good agent should take care of this for you but you will need the following: Gas Safety Certificate, EPC, Legionnaire’s risk assessment, adequate smoke alarms, a carbon monoxide reader. Depending on the age of the property I would also recommend that you instruct a qualified electrician to check all the electrics over before anyone moves.

So there you have it, my top 5 tips to making sure this new property you have just collected the keys to is going to work for you as a good investment. Most people investing in property today are doing so for an income for the future. Protect your income and make sure it is working for you.