A Love For Letting: Making Money on the Rental Market

If you’re looking for a long term investment that’s safe, earns you far more than a high interest savings account at the bank and makes a fun project then why not consider property? Particularly, renting out property. If you get an estate agent to manage things for you then it’s something that you can easily do around a full time job or other commitments as there’s no hassle to you. It also makes a great retirement fund later on, as each month you have the tenants rent landing in your bank account- if the property is paid off by then it’s money you can spend as you wish. However there are a few things you will need to do first to ensure you’re all set up and ready to go.

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Decor

Decorating a property for the rental market takes a few extra considerations. You don’t want to give yourself lots of added work or have to spend significant money between tenants redecorating. For this reason, keep it as a blank canvas. If you give tenants the freedom to redecorate, put a clause in the tenancy agreement that things must be returned back to normal at the end. A coat of paint and the use of a carpet cleaner will always be needed as fair wear and tear is allowed, but it beats having to spend hundreds or even thousands getting things back to the right condition. Keep walls plain and paint them white or magnolia, not only does this create a blank canvas for tenants but it’s cheap to repaint. Put down wooden floors downstairs and hard wearing carpets in a darker colour upstairs, these will stay looking nice for many years. If you want to offer the home as furnished, for example as a student let, you can actually buy furniture designed for the rental market. It’s usually more hardwearing and is often built in so it’s extra sturdy.

Contracts and Credit Checks

If you’re working with an agency this is something they can do for you, but you always have the option of drawing up your own contract. If you choose to go private and not use an agent then this is of course something you will need to do yourself. Again, if you’re using an agent they can arrange things like credit checking and vetting tenants so there’s no hassle to you,  but you always have the option of doing this yourself. If you are very against tenants having pets, smoking for example- make sure this is very clear in the agreement. When doing credit checks, decide how lenient you will be. For example, missed payments or defaults from four or five years ago may not reflect how the person manages their money today. But in some cases, you might prefer to take someone with a perfect or near perfect record to minimise your risk.

Inspections

Communication is key when it comes to property lettings. It might be your property, but it’s home to the person you’re renting to so you need to bear in mind their rights and considerations. If you want to inspect the property, you will usually need to give fair advance notice. It could be best to set out the terms of inspection in your tenancy agreement so everyone knows where they stand.

Real Estate Investment: 4 Properties You’ll Never Struggle To Find A Tenant For

As attractive as the idea of property investment may be, many people find themselves put off by one huge concern: the ability to find tenants. Tenants, after all, are crucial to your ability to generate a profit from your property portfolio— but there’s no denying that landlords often  have huge problems relating to consistent tenant occupation rates.

Tenants are, to an extent, inherently transitory. This is one of the major benefits of only renting a home; it offers a flexibility that allows people to move from place-to-place with relative ease. As attractive as this ability may be to tenants, it can make prospective landlords rather edgy about the viability of property investment as a whole.

If you have contemplated real estate investment and then pulled back over concerns regarding finding tenants, then the properties below are well worth considering…

#1 – Student accommodation

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Student accommodation is always difficult to find. Simply put, there are more students than there are student-friendly properties. Thus, thanks to the eternal rules of supply and demand, choosing an investment property that can be rented to students is a surefire way of ensuring consistent occupation.

There are many decisions you will have to make if you investigate this kind of property. Are you going to let to a single student, who occupies a single apartment? Or are you going to let a single multi-room dwelling to a number of different students, who may or may not know one another? The second option is by far the most common, as few students have the funds available to live completely independently of one another.

If you let a property to a number of different students, then you will need to satisfy the rules and regulations involved in the process. You will be letting a property under a “house in multiple occupation” (commonly abbreviated to HMO) designation, which does require compliance with extra conditions. However, if you find a property close to a campus and contact HMO specialists to ensure you meet all the necessary requirements, you should be able to expect a high occupancy rate— which helps to protect both your initial investment and your profits.

#2 – Properties close to a beach

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As with student accommodation, this option is a different form to the standard “buy to let” that most prospective property investors imagine. However, again like student accommodation, buying properties close to a beach can be an incredibly savvy move.

First and foremost, you’ll be able to consider letting a beach-adjacent property in the conventional way; to one individual or family group, and renewing the tenancy on a monthly basis. Properties close to a beach will always be popular, but you are still going to be subject to the need to find consistent tenants. This, as discussed, can be difficult.

So buck the norm and opt for a different method of generating an income with your property investment. Rather than letting your property on a standard basis, offer your property for holiday rentals and AirBnB listings. These rentals might be short, but the close proximity to the beach should help ensure a continual stream of tenants, and those tenants will be easier to manage than conventional renters. Renting to holidaymakers gives you flexibility to reclaim and use the property whenever you want, allowing your investment a sense of freedom without all the red tape involved in managing a conventional tenant.

#3 – City centre apartments

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It doesn’t matter what city it is; city centre apartments will always be a great choice for rental properties. These properties are so in demand for one simple reason: everyone hates commuting.

If you find a property close to a business or financial district, there’s no doubt it will be an excellent investment. Dedicated workers in these areas will love the idea of a short commute combined with great access to the city’s nightlife, or you may find tenants who prefer to use the property as a pied-à-terre during the working week. Either way, a great city centre location is a reliable choice for any property investor.

While you may naturally be drawn to family homes in beautiful locations as a property investment, ultimately, you have to follow the people. City centres will always be bustling hubs, so you can expect a constant stream of city-centre workers wanting to rent from you. You’ll also be able to charge higher prices per square foot than you would on a family home. The one downside is that you will also pay more for the property itself, but you should be able to earn this investment back in consistent rental income.

#4 – A property with nearby transport connections

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It’s not just a nice neighbourhood or close proximity to a good shopping mall that you need to keep an eye out for when buying properties; transport connections matter too. Ideally, you want to find a property that offers at least two of the following:

  • Easy access to any railway or underground stations, preferably within less than 10 minutes walking time.
  • Easy access to bus stops.
  • Good road connections; less than 10 minutes drive away from a connection to a major highway.

Transport is often a key decision for tenants, especially those who are going to be commuting. You could have the nicest investment property in the world, but if it’s in the middle of nowhere and only serviced by a few buses a day, then tenants just aren’t going to want to live there. Tenants will accept smaller properties with excellent transport connections, so don’t think that the property itself is the only consideration you have to make. Your chosen property has to be as nice as possible, but its location — and particularly its proximity to transport links — is just as, if not more, important.

In conclusion

So if you have always wanted to try property investment but have worried about obtaining tenants, choosing one of the options above could be the perfect solution for you. While you will inevitably occasionally have gaps between tenants, the four property types above can help to ensure those gaps are relatively short.