Spring has officially begun and it is traditionally the busiest and best time of the year to rent your property. If you are a new Landlord or considering becoming one, it really is the best time of the year to have a rental property on the market. Putting aside annual fluctuations in the price of rental accommodation due to economic circumstances or new legislation, which is out of our hands, being a Landlord is a safe way to earn money or build a pension pot. You can still never get as good a return on your money as you can in British property, and our location is one of the most up and coming areas, with a year-on-year increase of 2.17 per cent in rental prices, with the region’s average rental price, now totalling £983 PCM. The growing affordability crisis facing young people working in London, is definitely contributing to the boom in the East of England area, where train links into the Capital are good, and moving further afield to reduce the rent burden makes sense, especially for those who are saving for a house of their own.
So if you find yourself in the ‘New Landlord’ market, here is our advice for getting your property ready for marketing.
When a potential tenant comes to view your property, they’re going to imagine themselves living there. Therefore, you need to help this process by making sure there are no distractions, in the form of books, toys, coats, clothes and all of those nick-nacks you have lying around the house. Hire a skip or get in touch with a local ‘man with a van’ who can come and remove everything you don’t want. If possible, distribute unbroken items to a local charity shop, or recycling centre. If you are renting your home with a view to coming back after a period of time, you should remove all of your personal items to a storage unit. There is nothing worse than coming back home after your property has been rented out, and being disappointed that your best China has been chipped, or your favourite sofa has a rip in the arm. Rental property is much more desirable if it is unfurnished.
Clean until you sparkle
Cleanliness in rental properties causes more upset and disagreement than any other issue. Start your rental with a wonderful spring clean, companies specialise in pre-tenancy cleaning and it really is incredibly thorough, making the place so welcoming for your ingoing tenant.
The kitchen is a vital part of the home so please ensure it is sparkling clean. There is nothing worse than a greasy extractor fan, an oven with baked on food, a filthy washing machine dispenser or a fluff-ridden tumble dryer. If you start off on the correct footing you will be far more likely to get your property back in the same tip-top condition. The same goes for the bathroom: reseal around the fittings, descale all of the tiles and sanitary ware, make sure you do NOT have carpet on the floor, choose tiles or vinyl and just make sure it is shiny all round. Other areasx which are sometimes missed are skirting boards, extractor fans, light fittings and windows, so ensure you get a cleaning company who covers all of those. Ideally, shampoo any carpets too!
It is an industry joke that all estate agents paint their houses ‘magnolia’ but the truth is a neutral coloured house will fare better on the market and will usually go under offer quicker than any other. Of course, if you have a neutral colour decor you will appeal to more people and that is the aim when renting. However, there are many lovely neutral colours available that are not ‘off white’ so feel free to mix it up a little bit but remember it is not you who is going to be living in the property so try to take the ‘personal aspect’ out of it. A rental property deserves a new coat of paint as much as a purchased home and, under normal tenancy agreements, tenants are not able to decorate themselves, so please ensure you give your rental investment the refresh it deserves before you rent it out, and regularly throughout its rental lifespan.
For a potential buyer to view your home, they will have to turn up at your property and view the outside first. You want to make sure that your kerb appeal is there for everyone to see so stand at the front and take a good look to see what your viewer will see. Does the door need a new coat of paint? Does it need a door number so that potential viewers can find it easily? If they come after dark, is there a light coming on as they approach? Make sure that you have swept the path, that the bins are tidy (certainly out of shot for marketing photos!) and that shrubs are neat, maybe add a nice hanging basket full of Spring blooms to say “welcome”.
If you are living in the property whilst it is on the market, try to get the personal items boxed up and stored before the marketing commences. Whilst a few photos are ok, the viewers are looking to see if they can imagine living in your property. It is already difficult when viewing rental property, because, unlike a house that can be purchased, with a rental home the new occupier will be unable to do any updates themselves, so pretty much they will be living with what they take at the outset. With tenancy lengths getting longer and longer, this could be someone’s home for the next few years, so make it as neutral as possible and allow them to really envisage themselves in the home.
We deal with a lot of different landlords at Maxine Lester, but handling rental for first-time landlords “newbies’ and those going abroad for work and leaving their homes behind for a few years, are some of our most exciting scenarios.