Preparing to rent out a property

Renting out a property involves quite a bit of preparation to make sure that the house attracts tenants and that you can keep it in good condition in the future. The good news is that demand for rented homes is huge at the moment, as many people are unable to get onto the housing ladder and are having to rent for longer as a result. Your typical markets of students and young professionals are still looking for homes to rent, but more and more young families are also renting homes for longer.

Things like size, number of bedrooms and location will likely influence the type of renters your property will attract. Whoever ends up living in your house, it is in your interest to have happy tenants who will continue living in the property for an extended period of time. Changing tenants regularly means spending more money on contracts, agency fees (if you are using an agency to market the property) and more admin around deposits and advertising. If you can keep tenants in the property your rental income will be more secure, and you’ll have less hassle and fewer expenses.

With that in mind, it’s important to make your property as attractive and habitable as possible. A combination of regular maintenance and simple, smart decorating will help a great deal. Tenants will be attracted to a property that is in good condition and looks well-kept, but which leaves room to add a bit of personality. You can make a home out of a rented house by making small changes such as hanging pictures and bringing in your own furniture. If you offer up a high standard property and let the tenants do the rest you’re more likely to get some longevity from your rentals.

Start off on the right foot by ensuring that your property is in good nick before any tenants move in. This includes mending any broken fixtures and fittings, ensuring all the drainage is functioning properly and taking steps to make sure the whole property (especially the bathroom) is properly ventilated to avoid the build-up of damp and mould.

When it comes to decorating, colours like off whites or creams are best for the paintwork. If you choose more adventurous colours you risk potential tenants being put off because they don’t like the décor. It’s the same with carpets – choose a neutral colour. And while you don’t want to go for the lowest possible quality, it’s best not to splash out too much as carpets will see a lot of wear and tear, and may need replacing every few years. There is little point in fitting the home with top notch carpets if you’re going to have to change them fairly regularly to keep the house in good condition.

Being responsive and proactive about maintenance once tenants move in is important to ensure that your property stays in good condition and doesn’t deteriorate through lack of attention. Being responsive to your tenants also helps you to build a good working relationship with them which is likely to mitigate any potential conflicts when the tenants move out of the property.

Bear in mind that although you will have taken out buildings insurance, it’s also really important to take out a policy for landlord’s insurance. This will cover you for those landlord specific risks which other homeowners need not worry about. If, for example, some extreme weather renders the home uninhabitable for a period or you have troublesome tenants which leads to a lawsuit, landlords insurance can help to cover the lost rental income and other costs. Compare policies and make sure you have all the cover you need.

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