The lettings market is as competitive as ever, so standing out from the crowd is imperative if you want to be a successful landlord. While there are a number of things you can do to improve your chances of success, learning how to prepare a property for rental is one of the easiest to master.
However, many landlords still fail to prepare their property correctly prior to a tenancy commencing…but you’re not going to be one of them, right? With the help of this handy list, getting your property ready for letting will be a breeze. Let’s get started.
Present your property well
Well-presented properties are naturally going to be far more attractive to potential tenants than a dark and dingy space. In a market with such high competition, any advantage should be seized with both hands - and this is a simple one to achieve.
You don’t need to go overboard with painting and decorating to give a property a welcoming feel, but the home should always be spotlessly clean when you are showing prospective tenants around. Believe it or not, many landlords still neglect this vital preparation point.
Having the property professionally cleaned will ensure that the job is done properly, and it’ll free up your own time for more important stuff. Carpets, wherever present, should be professionally cleaned, too, before you let your property…as should the windows. It’s amazing how much more light you can get into a property simply by having the windows thoroughly cleaned both inside and out.
As we mentioned, decorating needn’t be extensive, but you should spruce up areas that need attention. The same rule applies to the garden, if your property has one. You don’t need to get the landscapers round in order to make it presentable, but you will need to trim back shrubs, weed the beds and mow the lawn if you want to make your property shine.
To furnish or not?
This is a big question, and there are pros and cons to offering a property for rental both furnished and unfurnished. For example, those who are moving out of home for the first time will naturally appreciate the lower costs associated with renting a fully furnished property, but that obviously doesn’t apply to everyone. There are greater numbers of long-term renters these days, and many of them will have their own furniture, which they take with them from property to property. Therefore, unfurnished will suit them far better.
Part-furnished is another option. Offering your property in this way is a more flexible option, which could mean a wider range of tenants to potentially let your home, but it’s very much area dependant. Take a look at what’s currently being offered in the area surrounding your property and be sure to ask your letting agent for advice. Our team are always ready to lend a hand, so give them a call on 020 8989 2091.
Protect what you have
Even if you rent your property unfurnished, there will still be a need to protect what you have when you put it up for rent. Things such as laminate or wooden floors can be easily damaged, and costly to repair, so it’s vital to know that you are doing all you can to ensure everything gets returned to you in good order once the tenancy ends.
Giving clear instructions in your tenancy agreement is one way to protect your property. You can stipulate that furniture pads are used to keep your flooring looking as it should, and even suggest that shoes are not worn inside the home. Simple things such as providing the tenant with all the necessary user manuals for white goods can also reduce the risk of damage during their stay.
Probably most important of all, however, is the need to conduct a proper and thorough inventory. Many landlords see this as an expense they can do without, especially those who rent their properties unfurnished, but this is a huge mistake. Inventories help protect your property’s walls, doors, floors, ceiling and more, as well as any fixtures and fittings you may provide. For more information, see our recent blog post – Are Inventories Important?
Before you let your property, there are certain regulations you must adhere to in order to remain compliant. As a landlord, you need to:
- Supply the tenant with an Energy Performance Certificate
- Maintain all electrical items to meet the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations
- Have an annual gas safety check carried out to receive your Gas Safety Certificate
- Have carbon monoxide and smoke alarms fitted and tested
- Ensure all furniture and furnishings meet with the current regulations
If you are using a reputable letting agent, such as Petty Son and Prestwich, they will be able to advise you on all of the above and more. This is where having a knowledgeable agent on your side is essential, as falling foul of the regulatory minefield can have serious ramifications, including custodial sentences.
Insurance and income protection
Even with the most careful tenants in place, accidents can (and do) happen. It’s likely that you’ll have buildings and contents insurance as a precondition to your mortgage, but it’s worth reviewing these prior to placing tenants in your property, especially if you’ve had the policies for a while. Tenants should purchase their own rental insurance, but having cover of your own will give you greater peace of mind.
Obtaining income protection, or a rent guarantee policy, will ensure that you are protected should your tenant fall on hard times. Circumstances can change, and you may find yourself with a tenant who is struggling to meet their rental commitments to you, the landlord. While this is an entirely optional policy, and one that may not suit everyone, having the protection in place can be greatly reassuring – especially if the rent you receive from your tenant makes up the bulk of your monthly income.
Select the right letting agent
Obviously, if you have a property to rent in or around Wanstead or Buckhurst Hill, Petty Son and Prestwich should be your first port of call! However, if you are outside of East London and West Essex, you will need to make a decision on who your letting agent should be.
There are a number of points you’ll need to bear in mind, namely:
- The agent’s accreditation from professional bodies
- Their level of insurance cover
- What services they offer
- Whether they will handle the legal aspects for you
- How they intend to market your property
- What their inspection policy is like
- Their fees and charges
- How they handle repairs and maintenance
- Their reviews; see what other landlords (and tenants) are saying about them
Having a great letting agent in place right from the start can save you a whole lot of headaches later on. Check out our post on the subject for a more detailed look at how to find the right agent for your rental property.
That’s it, now you know exactly how to prepare a property for rental! By following the advice above, you will be presenting not only your property, but also yourself in the correct manner. Showing professionalism can go a long way in today’s competitive rental market, and it can often be the difference between a property being filled and a lengthy void period.