Guide to preparing your property for rent
Before you begin the process of letting your property, you need to be thoroughly prepared. There is a lot to do and plenty to think about before you can think about getting your new tenants through the door.
First impressions count for everything when it comes to property, so it is vital your home is spotless before you show any tenants around. Maintaining this condition for all your viewings will give you the best chance of letting your home and achieving the best possible price. So what preparations should you make:
The external view
This is the first view your potential tenants will have of your property, so you should focus on optimising its appearance:
- Tidy up the front and back garden,
- Repair cracks, holes or blemishes in the driveway or walls,
- Give the window frames and door a lick of paint if they need it,
- Make sure the house is clearly visible,
- Keep rubbish and rubbish bins out of sight.
- De-clutter - create more space by moving some furniture into storage, tidy away or remove unnecessary objects, books and knick-knacks, clear out cupboards and wardrobes of non-essential items,
- Make minor repairs - fix leaky taps and cracks in the walls, replace broken or crooked tiles, replace burned-out light bulbs - make sure everything works,
- Clean thoroughly from top to bottom - carpets, floors, windows, fixtures and fittings, etc,
- Eradicate unpleasant odours, like pet smells and cigerette smoke,
- Decorate rooms if required - a lick of paint can re-energise the appearance of a room.
Think about the type of accommodation you are going to let and how you are going to let it out. For example:
- How will it be advertised - for example, two bedrooms with a study, or three bedrooms?
- What are your circumstances - will you be living there also, will you be living nearby or living abroad?
- Will you let the whole property to one tenant (or family), or will you let individual rooms to a number of different tenants?
- Who will your target market be? Families, students or professionals?
- Get a clear understanding of the cost of running your property - council tax, utility bills, etc.
These considerations will affect how you prepare and proceed with the let and choices you make in managing it.
Who should you consult before letting your property?
Before you can let your property, you need to consult a number of parties:
- Your mortgage lender - your lender may ask that you let your property on an Assured Shorthold basis,
- Your Insurance company - if you don’t let your insurance company know that you have let your property, you may not be covered in the event of damage, fire or theft in the property,
- Your freeholder (if you have one) it is important if you wish to let a leasehold flat, for example.
You may also find it useful to get advice from a solicitor, an accountant and a letting agent.
The cost of letting your property
While your thoughts may be leaning towards how much you can make by letting your property, it is important that you consider and budget for the costs involved, too. You should budget for the following costs:
- Any monthly mortgage repayments owed on the property,
- Any expenses involved in bringing the property up to the required standards, both physically and in terms of the regulatory safety standards of furniture, utility equipment and appliances,
- Energy Performance Certificate
- Furniture and furnishings (if required),
- Solicitor’s fees
- Letting agent/management fees,
- Insurance fees,
- Contingency budget for ad hoc repairs and maintenance.
Plan carefully and make sure you always have access to funds to make essential repairs if and when required. It will put you in a much better position to retain a satisfied tenant.
Energy Performance Certificates
Health and safety