Advice for New Landlords

Advice for New Landlords

Advice for New Landlords

In my time in the property industry, I have seen too many landlords make bad decisions. Buying a property to rent, or moving away and renting out your place is a risky business. I may not be an expert but my experience does allow me to offer advice for new landlords.

I hope in my lifetime to be able to buy a property (or five) to rent out. This will provide an extra income but also it’ll provide a legacy to leave to our children.

There’s so much information out there for tenants, but I don’t feel like there’s enough advice for new landlords. I’m not in a place to advise on buying a property but I can offer some tips.

When letting a property for the first, or fiftieth time, there’s many things to consider.

Know your Property

You need to figure out what your property is worth. There are many factors in valuing a rental property. Location, size, transport and amenities are the main ones. Different property types offer different things. The more the property and the surrounds have to offer, the higher the price will be.

Know your Target Market

A house in an area near a good school is most likely to attract a family. A super modern flat near a tube station is more likely to attract young professionals. You may know there are certain people you don’t want to rent to. For example, you might not be happy renting to students. Or you might feel your small flat isn’t suitable for a family of 5. Within reason and without discrimination, you need to have a rough idea of who you’re marketing your property to.

How to market your property

Whether you choose a national brand, a local high street agency or choose to market your property yourself, there’s several things to consider. You need to ensure the price is right. Timing is important, too. Summer is a great time to market. January is not. Good quality photos are vital. An online ad is most likely the first place your potential tenant is going to see your property. The pictures (and the description) have to make them want to take the effort to call, arrange a viewing, come and, eventually, live there!

Legal Obligations

Advice for New Landlords

The privately rented sector is one of the most heavily legislated industries. From serving government prescribed information to serving notices and returning deposits, the legalities can be a minefield. If you’re not an expert, you need to seek professional advice. This could come from your estate agents, from a property solicitor or by joining a body like the NLA.

Tenant Checks

You need to make sure that the people that you’re entrusting your property to are worth it. The most obvious check is affordability. Can they afford to rent your property? Rent, utilities, insurances, cars, entertainment… It all adds up. Ensure your referencing (or that of your agency) is comprehensive enough to protect you.

Maintenance and Repairs

Advice for New Landlords

It’s inevitable that things will go wrong, at some point. If you buy a property brand new from a developer, you’ll likely have a warranty period of around 2 years. If not, you’ll need to be prepared for everything from minor radiator issues to windows falling out of a building. Yes, that’s something I’ve genuinely dealt with in my time.

Insurance Policies

If you’re mortgaged, you’ll most likely have a clause in your mortgage that stipulates you have to have landlord insurance. If it’s not a formal obligation, it’s still worth it. These policies come in a wide range and can cover anything from accidental damage to court proceedings for repossession. It’s also worth having repair policies in place, especially if you have a boiler that’s more than a couple of years old.

Deposits

You need to ensure you take a security deposit, and that’s its registered and protected in a government scheme. I strongly advise for you to have inventories done at the beginning and the end of the tenancy. This helps prevent disputes at the end of the tenancy or offer evidence for deductions if necessary.

The list is almost endless.

I literally work a 40 hour week doing all of the above and more. If you don’t have a lot of spare time in your life, or the knowledge or experience to safely and effectively manage a property, I recommend you go with a managing agent who can take your stress away! I spend a lot of time dishing out advice for new landlords. I thought it would be worthwhile to share! I’ll be expanding on most of these topics in the future, but if you have any questions please do ask!

 

Top Tips for First Time Landlords - Honestly Holly
Top Tips for First Time Landlords - Honestly Holly
Top Tips for First Time Landlords - Honestly Holly
Top Tips for First Time Landlords - Honestly Holly
Top Tips for First Time Landlords - Honestly Holly

Advice for First Time Tenants

4 Top Tips for First Time Tenants
4 Top Tips for First Time Tenants
4 Top Tips for First Time Tenants
4 Top Tips for First Time Tenants

First Time Tenant Advice

First Time Tenant Welcome To Our New Home

You’ve grown and reached that point; it’s time to fly the nest. You have to become a first time tenant at some point.

If you live within 10 miles of a London zone, you – like me – are not going to be able to afford to buy a house until at least the time that Oprah becomes President.

So the choices lie at:
A – live with your parents until the end of time and hope you marry rich
B – sink your money into a rental property and have freedom
 
If option B is the only way to save your sanity, here’s some tips from an estate agent turned property manager, who is also a tenant (Me!). Take heed of my first time tenant advice and you should sail through the process.

My advice to a first time tenant is to ensure you thoroughly research the 5 areas below

1 – Location, Location, Location

First Time Tenant Location Location Location

There are so many factors in deciding which property to rent. You need to check
*that it’s commutable to your place of work,
*that the transport suits your needs (ie access to a tube line that has step free access),
*that there are amenties nearby if you’re a disorganised nightmare like me who has to go food shopping at least 3 times a week
*the crime rates in your area (this will affect insurance etc)
*parking amenities
*If you’re looking for something lively, you’re going to be best within walking distance of a high street.
*If you’re a homebod and not a fan of drunk people singing outside your door at midnight every night, then you’re best looking a few streets further away than stumbling distance.
 
 2 – Budget

First Time Tenant Budget

Yes, you want to live somewhere nice. But you also don’t want to struggle to make it to the end of the month after you’ve paid your rent and bills.
All the below need to go into your rental budget. You need to ensure that after these, and your other costs (car, phone, Netflix etc) that you still have money for food, fun, family and savings!
*Rent
*Council Tax (you find the council tax costs of any property in the UK on Council Tax Finder
*Electricity
*Gas (depending on the property)
*Water
*Internet
*Insurance
 
As a first time tenant, advice would always suggest to over-estimate your budget to give you some cushion room.
3 – Property Type

First Time Tenant House Type

First Time Tenant Apartment

Very rarely in the UK will you find a landlord who will allow you to redecorate fully. So you need to make sure that the property you pick suits you. As an estate agent, I believe there is a property out there for everyone.
*Modern new builds tend to have smaller spaces
*Older Victorian properties tend to have beautiful features but single glazing
*If you want a garden, you’re going to naturally have a higher rent
*Communal gardens usually mean you don’t have to do gardening but do have to sunbathe with strangers
*Private gardens are great for having a BBQ but you will be responsible for maintaining it
*Ex local authority flats tend to be in really ugly buildings but are often very spacious with lots of storage, in well maintained developments
 
A first time tenant is usually either really picky and ends up over budget or doesn’t stipulate what they want and ends up in something they don’t love. Know what you want and stick to it!
4 – Agency

First Time Tenant Estate Agent

Most properties are advertised through estate agents. In my experience, most landlords who do not advertise through agencies do so because they want to save money. They tend to continue with that attitude, taking shortcuts with repairs and more. Having an agent gives a landlord some accountability. It also means that they value their property and want to find the best tenant too. The majority of properties rented through agencies are managed by them too. They will be your point of contact throughout your tenancy and will take care of repairs and queries should they arise. This is what I do for a day job!
 
To ensure you’re with a reputable agency, there are a few things to consider:
*www.allagents.co.uk – this is a review site where people can leave impartial reviews
* Google reviews – people will turn here in the best and worst case scenarios so it’s always interesting to see who has taken the effort and what they’ve written
* Word of mouth – even in the digital age, this is so important. A lot of my business comes from referrals from tenants who have recommended my team for our reputation of being honest, efficient, friendly and trustworthy!
 
5 – Pre-moving costs

First Time Tenant Budget

If you go through an agency there will be the inevitable costs. We get a bad rep for it in the media. There are some agents that charge way over what is reasonable but these tend to be big, corporate companies. For the average high street independent agency, these fees are vital for survival. Admin fees pay my wages!
 
Ensure that your agency costs are in line with the average in your market. You’ll most likely need to save for them so it’s worth knowing in advance. By law, the agency has to display their fees on their website. If they don’t, don’t use them!

* Admin fees – usually between £200 to £300 per tenancy. This covers all the administrative work involved in creating your tenancy.

* Referencing costs – usually between £30 and £75 per person, depending on the referencing agency used. This includes landlord reference, employment reference, credit check, Right to Rent check and can include Anti Money Laundering checks

* One months’ rent in advance

* Six weeks’ rent as security deposit (to cover any damages etc). This must be held in a deposit protection scheme, by law. Don’t be afraid to ask which one they use if you’re unsure!
*Additional costs. This may include a higher deposit if you’re a student, or if you have pets, or an adverse credit history.
*Check In or Check Out fee – Generally, one of these is paid by the landlord and the other by the tenant. Having a full inventory at the beginning and end of the tenancy protects both the tenant and the landlord. It will ensure that any defects or damage created before you moved in is noted, so there is no liability on you at the end of the tenancy and no unwarranted deductions from the deposit.
 
If you don’t go through an agency, you’ll likely only pay rent, deposit and check in / check out cost.
 

There’s a lot more to moving than you would think!

 
There’s a lot to prepare when you are looking for a property, whether it’s your first or tenth time. Don’t be overwhelmed. Be organised, research and you’ll be fine.
 
I’ll happily answer any questions you have, either in the comments, or via email or my social channels.
 
Please remember, though I am a property professional, I am not an expert. I will offer my opinions based on my experience as a tenant, letting agent and property manager, but please research more outside of my thoughts!
 
Good luck – whether you’re a first time tenant or tenth time tenant (like me), keep strong and get excited for your new home!
 
First Time Tenant New home