With the increase of people renting rather than committing to a mortgage, many are deciding to buy-to-let and becoming new landlords for prospective tenants. It can be a great way to make money but you also have to consider the obligations that come with the role, especially if it’s your first experience as a landlord.
Realising the number of responsibilities you’ll have might seem daunting at first, but it’s not as complicated as you may think. So if you’re considering becoming a landlord or have recently acquired property through buy-to-let, then here are a few useful tips to help you prepare for your journey as a new landlord.
- Hire a Reliable Conveyancer
If you’re about to buy-to-let, first consider the number of legal aspects that are required to complete the transaction. Hiring a trusted, qualified conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor can help save you a lot of time and confusion, simplifying the legal process for you. There’s a lot of paperwork required when buying a property and your solicitor can help with it all.
If you’re building a large portfolio, you’ll be able to save on your property conveyancing costs by using the same trusted supplier each time. It’s important to compare quotes to select the right solicitor for you. The more you search, the more you could save as finding a professional, experienced conveyancer is vital for a successful transaction.
- Don’t Forget to Compare Surveyors
Choosing a property to buy-to-let takes time, it shouldn’t be a quick decision. Before purchasing a property, it would be wise to hire a reliable surveyor to inspect the building to ensure a good-quality home for your tenants. By having a survey completed, you’ll save yourself from unexpected future costs by uncovering possible defects like damp, mould or structural damage.
If the repairs seem too costly, you can opt out of buying the property and find another suitable home for future tenants. A lot of older buildings will have issues, it’s often unavoidable, but conducting a survey can ensure that it’s a good investment for you.
- Keep the Décor Modern but Minimalistic
As exciting as it is to decorate a new property, you have to remember that this won’t be your home. It wouldn’t be wise to decorate the property according to your personal tastes as it could alienate a variety of potential tenants. By keeping everything simple and up-to-date, you can attract a wider audience and allow tenants to imagine how it will look when they settle in and make it their own.
Keep everything neutral and make sure to use good-quality paint so that it lasts and requires less maintenance over time. If you’re offering a fully furnished property, it’s recommended to keep an inventory of all the furniture used so that you can keep track and ensure nothing is damaged or stolen.
- Don’t be Afraid to Buy Second-Hand
Whilst we’re discussing furniture, never be afraid to buy second-hand. Buying everything brand-new is excessive and only increases costs. You can find a range of modern, high-quality furniture that costs less through online auctions or websites like eBay, just double-check its condition before purchasing.
Don’t overspend, especially if you’re offering a fully-furnished property. Part of the fun of moving in for tenants is decorating and making the property their own. It can still be a desirable home with minimalistic décor.
- Carry Out Health and Safety Checks
As a landlord, you’ll be legally required to get all gas appliances checked by a verified Gas Safety-registered engineer every year. You’ll also be required to provide tenants with a Gas Safety Certificate within 28 days of the check. It’s advised to keep records of these and any other safety inspections or repairs.
Landlords also have a responsibility to ensure that there are smoke alarms on every floor of the property and carbon monoxide alarms in every room with a solid fuel source like wood or charcoal. It’s recommended to test these alarms before the tenants arrive.
- Take Advantage of Liverpool’s High Student Population
With over 70,000 students in Liverpool, it would be a good idea to advertise your property as an alternative student accommodation to quickly gain tenants. As long as you stick to a rigorous screening process, you’ll find a good group of tenants to approve of that’ll care for and maintain the property to the standards dictated in the tenancy agreement.
With an exciting nightlife and access to a number of local universities, students make up a large number of prospective tenants in Liverpool that’ll be looking at your adverts. It would be wise not to alienate them, reducing your pool of potential tenants.
- Protect Your Tenants’ Deposits
Within 30 days of receiving it, landlords have a legal requirement to protect tenants’ deposits in a government-accredited scheme. You must also give your tenants the Deposit Protection certificate and Prescribed Information. There are a number of schemes available like the Deposit Protection Service, MyDeposits and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. They all guarantee that your tenants will recover their deposits if they meet the terms of your tenancy agreement.
It’s important to also receive a signature from the tenants to confirm that they’ve been given the necessary information from you or the estate agent. Any extra protection can be vital if an incident occurs. It’s a way of protecting both you and you’re new tenants.
- Find the Appropriate Insurance
Vital to all landlords, you’ll need specialist insurance specifically for landlords to cover your rented property. Having this specialist insurance can help reduce your exposure to risks and also protect your financial well-being. A good policy will cover the loss of rent, damage, legal expenses and liabilities.
This simple step could potentially save you from huge sums if an incident ever occurs. It provides peace of mind and is worth researching and comparing to find the right one for you.
- Treat it as a Business
Whether you’re expecting to have one property or a portfolio of many more, you need to remember that you’re running a business. It’s important to be organised and keep a diary of all key dates like gas checks and boiler services. Note down the contact details of your tenants and the tradesmen you’ll be working with. Writing an inventory of the furniture and electric appliances can also be vital.
Ensure you avoid legal problems and keep a positive reputation by following all necessary laws, keeping on top of all your finances and protecting yourself with the right insurance. You could even hire a reliable accountant to help with some of this. By being professional you’ll gain a positive relationship with your tenants, ensuring a smooth and happy transaction for all parties involved.
- Do Your Research
It’s important to not only know your property, but also the location. Liverpool is a great area for landlords as many of the postcodes have the highest buy-to-let yield rates in the country. If you’re a local Liverpudlian then this part should be easy but you still shouldn’t neglect it. As with any business, the more knowledge you gain, the better the chance of success.
Look at what facilities are near your property. If there are universities situated nearby then it’d be better to market towards students. If you’re in a semi-rural area with good schools, then marketing your property to families is the better option. Check the local property market and the rental prices for similar properties.
Liverpool is a thriving area with more and more people ready to become locals. As a vibrant city with a wealth of history and culture, you’ll have a variety of prospective tenants to choose from. Whether they’re there for the universities, family-friendly atmosphere or just want somewhere to commute from, Liverpool offers a range of high-quality tenants for you to begin your buy-to-let journey.