Here at Mi-Move Sutton, we provide help and advice to a range of clients. Prospective vendors, landlords and even tenants all have questions we’re more than happy to help with if we can.
Something that comes up again and again, especially for first time landlords, is how to present a rental property to achieve a good rental and attract the best tenants. Currently the property rental market is flooded with options, meaning it’s now more important than ever to showcase your property in its best possible light to beat off the competition. Here are the five things we believe are most important when trying to secure the best tenant for your property…
1) Functionality Beats Style
As a landlord, you might be tempted (budget allowing) to provide a swish, high-end pad for your tenants, however from our experience tenants will always prefer functionality over style. There is simply no need to spend thousands on a new top of the range kitchen if there is a ceiling on what you can charge in rent, which inevitably there will be. It doesn’t need to be ultra-modern, over-styled or super sleek as the majority of tenants are looking for a comfortable space to set up home with appliances that work.
2) First Impressions Count!
The exterior of your property is just as important as the inside, it’s what we in the trade call ‘kerb appeal, and it’s what prospective tenants see first. Put some thought into landscaping (or at least putting some plant pots out if you can), present a clean and painted exterior (touch up those windowsills) and a polished front door with a shiny new door number will do wonders. Make sure you also fix any cracked or broken steps, fences, gates and trim any overgrown bushes or trees to give a welcoming first impression making them think ‘I want to live here’.
3) Kitchen and Bathroom
The main areas prospective tenants look at when viewing a property are the kitchen and bathroom. This is what they usually will want to see first, so if you want to refurbish the property consider doing these two key rooms before doing anything else. Yes, these rooms might cost more but in the long run a great kitchen and bathroom will sell a property to a tenant. Don’t think you have to replace a whole kitchen as there are small changes that can be made for a fraction of the cost. If cupboard doors are looking a little worn or dated simply replace these, or alternatively paint them and fix on new door knobs. Lighting is key for both of these rooms so make sure it’s well placed - over cooking/washing up areas and near mirrors in bathrooms – and use the highest wattage bulb for these light fittings. In the bathroom simply replacing the taps, adding a new shower curtain or updating the toilet seat can give it a clean, fresh feeling.
4) Lick of Paint
A little paint can go a long way, whether it’s inside, outside or even just one wall! Painting one wall an accent colour is a great way to brighten up a room. You should really aim to re-paint your property every 5 years or so and white paint seems to be having a moment. Paint doesn’t cost a lot of money and it demonstrates to prospective tenants that the property is well looked after. Try to stick with neutral colours ensuring any prospective tenants furniture will ‘fit’ into each room. Remember, if tenants can easily picture their furniture in the property thanks to a neutral finish, it makes it easier for them to decide on whether they can see themselves living in your property or not.
5) Clean And Eliminate Odour!
Before showing your property to any prospective tenant, have it professionally cleaned. Ensure whoever does it cleans everything from the floors to the appliances, cupboards (inside and out), bathroom, the inside of built-in furniture, dusts high and low and cleans the inside of the windows. If your property is in a block and window cleaning isn’t part of the maintenance, it’s worth paying a little extra to get this done too. From our experience tenants are looking for a home that looks and smells clean; it’s definitely the first and foremost thing they are looking for. If your property has tenants still living there when it goes to market, ask them to clean the property as best they can, ensure the property is tidy and not cluttered and carry out a landlord inspection before viewings commence if needed.
Mi-Move can provide a step-by-step checklist for landlords or vendors on how best to present their property before it is released on to the market, we also have fantastic tradespeople who could carry out any work if required. Call us for a free rental valuation on 020 3538 0558 or email our property manager – firstname.lastname@example.org
Spring is in the air, or at the very least we are officially out of the winter season, so with that in mind and the start of the new financial year, it’s time to dust off your accounts books and see if you could be making more money from your rental property.
Typically, we don’t like talking about money, particularly when it means asking someone for more money for the same product (your rental property), but as a landlord you should be mindful of moving with the times and shifts in the most recent rental values.
At the end of last year the rate at which rental prices increased in London was by 4.1%, almost half as much again as the rise of 2.8% across the rest of England, proving once again that the allure of living amongst the bright lights, or at least within reasonable travel times of it, is still very strong indeed.
If you are lucky enough to already own a buy-to-let property, you’ll be breathing a huge sigh of relief as you will have missed out on the rise in stamp duty when purchasing a second home (see below bands and SDLT Cost - from 1st April 2016).
£0 - £125,000 = 3%
£125,000 - £250,000 = 5%
£250,000 - £925,000 = 8%
Here at Mi-Move we’ve put together a 5-step checklist to see if you’re charging the correct amount for your property…
1) The World Wide Web
The internet is a wonderful place and you can search for almost anything, so this should be your first stop when checking to see if your property is renting for the right amount. Choose Rightmove or Zoopla (the two largest property portals in the UK) to see what has rented recently in your area that is similar in both size and location. It also gives you an opportunity to virtually snoop around the competition.
2) A Change in the Local Landscape
Keep on top of changes to the local landscape, and we don’t just mean the introduction of a post box at the end of the road, although with the closure of many post offices we’re sure this would be a bonus. If there are major housing developments, positive changes to the access roads, openings of large retail stores and supermarkets or extensions to significant transport links into central London this will have an impact on rent prices as it could make your property more desirable.
3) Changes to Your Financial Expenditure
And no, this doesn’t include your children wanting a holiday to Florida. Within reason if your financial circumstances change in relation to your investment property then an increase could be viable. For example, if there is a significant increase in the maintenance costs associated with your rental property, or to assist in keeping up with a rise in mortgage payments on the property. With all requests to increase rent the rise should be fair, realistic and in line with similar properties in the area.
4) Talk to a Local Letting Agent – Hello Mi-Move!
Letting agents with extensive local knowledge will know, as it is their job to do so, what the climate is like in your area at any given time. By this we mean the number of people registering to rent and the number of available properties in the area at a specific time, especially those close to large places of work (such as hospitals, office blocks) and train stations. They also astutely keep an eye on what their counterparts are listing. Here at Mi-Move we can provide a free and honest valuation of your property along with very reasonable rates to become listed as one of our landlords. You’ll see from our testimonials that we’ve been in the property game for a long time and our number one priority is customer service.
5) Check The Tenancy Agreement
If you decide the time, and market, is right to increase the rent by far the easiest time to implement this is when the agreement expires – usually 12 months after signing a new tenant. This way you can simply ask you agent to re-draft the agreement with the change in rent. It is the most common method. There are alternatives but these can be lengthy, speak to your agent to get the best way forward if still inside the tenancy term.
If you think you could benefit from a free rent review, call us on 020 3538 0558, email us at email@example.com or pop in for a chat at our office – 1 Regent Parade, Brighton Road, Sutton, SM2 5BQ.