Tuesday, 11 November 2014

5 Top Tips For Warrington Landlords

 


Whether you have a studio flat that is paying for itself or you have 10 houses that bring in a healthy yield income every month, you’ll know what it’s like to keep your investment on par and you’ll also have a good idea of the importance of those timely and regular ‘club fees’ in terms of rent from your tenant. Here are a few of our best tips for landlords to add to your property investment caddy, which we know will help make things even easier when you’re aiming for a hole-in-one with your rental.
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1. Neutral All Round

Firstly, it’s all about d├ęcor, and unless you can get away with bright colours in all the different rooms by claiming it’s a funky pad in the middle of Camden Town, then it’s definitely worth sticking with the plain and simple neutral shades. With this, we’re not talking Magnolia necessarily. It dates very quickly and can look cheap. Off white though, is brilliant. When it comes to carpets or flooring, go with something that will match everything. If there is a dated carpet with a floral design from the 1960’s on it, it’s time to go shopping. But none of this has to cost a fortune – smaller rooms can be fitted with off-cuts which you can often find at your local carpet shop at a generous discount.

Thing to remember is that an investment property should never be a statement of who you are as an individual. That’s for your own place and you’re own walls. The simpler, the better, and the more likely you are to let at the asking price and attract a higher calibre of tenant.

2. Maintenance

Something to definitely keep on top of is maintenance. Keep it up to date with yearly safety checks and get on top of things as soon as there is an issue, no matter how small it may seem. Small issues can swiftly turn into big problems if ignored, and then you really could have a very costly situation on your hands, not only with a bigger maintenance bill, but possibly external agencies such as the Council if tenants are fully aware of their rights and are given enough reason for complaint.

To avoid any hassle or huge layouts, make sure you have full landlord and buildings insurance from a reputable supplier, and ensure your agent routinely visits the property to make you aware of any areas that may require attention. Many Landlords run their investments by taking a little of the rent and storing it in a separate account to cover maintenance costs. This also helps some Landlords to see the property as a business concern and not a personal one.

3. Know The Legal Stuff

Whether you’re managing the properties in your portfolio independently or using an agent to do this for you, know your rights and legal bits as a landlord. There are a wealth of resources to help you with this from support organisations such as The National Landlords Association, The Property Ombudsman and even Tenant focused organisations such as Shelter who can assist in expanding your knowledge of the industry. Knowing the law can save you a lot of money, and if you’re short on time your best bet is to make an appointment to meet with an agent that is fully qualified and Ombudsman registered.

We suggest arming yourself with any pertinent questions prior to meeting an agent, and keep an eye on whether the front of house staff know the ropes legally as it’s often the younger and inexperienced team members in a high street office that will be handling the day-to-day negotiations with your investment assets – make sure you trust them implicitly.

4. Compliance’s

One thing that is a serious must is that all of your compliance’s are in place. This means a current and valid EPC, gas and electrical checks (carried out by Gas Safe and NICEIC/NAPIT registered engineers), fire checks and correct tenancy agreements for the type of tenancy; for example, where you are a landlord who lives in a converted building and you rent either a room which shares common areas with you such as a kitchen or bathroom, or if you let out each room as a self contained studio, a standard assured shorthold tenancy will not cover these particular situations as they are non-housing act tenancies which will not be covered by the statute provisions of the Housing Act 1988.
Using the incorrect contracts could mean that you are relying on an area of statute law that does not apply to your specific situation. Needless to say this gets expensive and messy if you get it wrong at the start or rush things just to get that essential first month’s rent in. If you’re in doubt, always ask a qualified agent for advice, and as before make sure they know their stuff – even go so far as to ask for proof of their qualifications before you commit to spending 10% of your rent on them.

5. Gear Your Investments

Many landlords will venture out and buy one property, or indeed inherit one, that delivers a solid income and a hassle free experience… If you’re lucky. The dark side of residential property investment, as many a veteran landlord will tell you, involves void periods, boiler breakdowns, water damage and plenty of other problems just waiting to happen. All of these come with a price tag, and lets just say the majority won’t be cheap. One investment method to soften the blow is to split larger investments, ie, a three bed house, into two smaller investments, such as one bedroom flats or studios. The theory is that, when one is vacant, the other will have a tenant living happily on the inside of those walls and bringing you a healthy income. This also gives you a little time to do any smaller tasks on the other property without the worry of not having an income at all.

Of course, all of this depends on marketing the property at the correct price, and with the absolute best level of presentation in terms of photographs, floor plans and descriptions. The best way of doing this is to get an expert opinion from a qualified agent. Even if you have the time to do your own research, it’s definitely worth shopping around and working with the agent who really does sound like they know their onions.

As usual if you would like any advice with the Warrington Property Market feel free to contact me via email tpatel@hamlethomesproperty.co.uk or call on 01925 235 338