Aspiring local landlords could be pardoned for having the mindset that all they need to do is buy a property, find tenants and then wait for the money to roll in on a regular basis.
But while some truth may exist in the fact that generation rent is skyrocketing, and there are still not enough houses, there are always things that can be done to make your buy to let investment even better. So for those who are interested in maximizing their rental yield further (the remaining sum after the deduction of all cost from the rent, and the remainder divided into the property’s value), here are some expert tips we’ve come up with:
1. Define your potential tenant and align accordingly
This may be regarded as a no-brainer but you would be shocked when you find out the number of landlords who haven’t really defined the profile of tenants they want occupying their property.
If you are aiming to attract mature professionals, they would be more attracted to an area with a good transport network and a good range of restaurants and bars. If you have preference for the family market, your search would be better directed towards areas having good schools and green spaces.
2. Choose an up and coming area
It’s not uncommon to find people paying more money for a certain location. Lots of new landlords fancy the idea of investing in a property that is not far from where they currently reside because they feel it is safer, and that they can react quickly if any problem occurs.
While you can’t really discredit the logic backing this idea, those who really want the most from their rental yield would be in a better position if they chose a developing area where they can get the most out of their buying price, then watch their rental premium go up as the popularity of the area grows.
Areas that are on the verge of being included in the Crossrail train line or other transport projects are particularly in high demand, while indicators of areas with growing value include the arrival of a landmark supermarket, coffee shops or establishment of local schools.
3. Meet the exact needs of your tenants and they could pay more
Crucial things like washing machines, microwaves and dishwashers could add a certain degree of value. Every tenant wants an easy life and in some cases providing important mod-cons is a great way to ensure that the right kinds of tenants are attracted to you – and at your asking price.
The growing popularity of Build to Rent Schemes is an indication that providing your tenants luxuries such as Wi-Fi, a wine fridge, just to mention a few, is now becoming the norm. Make sure you aren’t left behind.
4. Consider lowering the rent so the property doesn’t just lie empty
This might sound like backward thinking but you lose money when any property of yours lies empty. So if no one is renting your property at your current asking price, you may want to consider dropping the price and lowering your expectations.
5. Review the rent periodically – and don’t be scared of raising it
As more developments reach your area, it’s important that you review the rent to match the changes. But be wary of huge increases and never forget that a rent-paying tenant is better than one who will end up not paying at all.
6. Drop your overheads and consider how hands on you really want to be
When you have access to a time-saving tool, why wouldn’t you take advantage of that? A growing number of lettings agents have been investing in online platforms like Fixflo, which can make interactions with tenants a breeze, saving you precious time and money in the process.
Rather than having to deal with phone calls about faulty light bulbs or contractors who need correct information about parts, you can sit back and watch comprehensive repair reports go straight into your email inbox.
7. Discard all the dead space – and consider the number of bedrooms needed in a house
Lots of Victorian conversions are with a double front room, with the backroom conventionally serving as the area used for dining, and the front as a living space. With the growing popularity of open plan living and large kitchen diner extensions, you may want to consider converting a front room into a bedroom rather than just letting it be a room that is hardly used and you will then get the best out of your property’s appeal to sharers. Converting a house with four bedrooms into a five bed room house increases the yield of your rental in a great way.
Also consider that, when you are sharing a room with friends, no one really cares about a dining room, provided they have access to their own double bedroom.
8. Consider installing a second bathroom
Installing another bathroom, often done by overhauling a laundry area and turning it into a second bathroom is not a cheap investment, but one that is well worth every penny. Nearly every profile of tenant (from professionals to new families) will fancy the idea of getting an extra bathroom and this is capable of shooting up the value of the property if you choose to sell it in future.
9. A place for everything and for everything a place
Just as discussed above, taking advantage of every square inch at your disposal is crucial to increasing the yield of your rental. Besides maximizing bathroom and bedroom space, do not forget storage space also.
Landlords who are aiming to enter into the family market should be aware of storage needs to ensure that their properties are ranked high on the list of every tenant.
10. Remember who man’s best friend is
The country boasts of millions of pet owners but landlords will not even think of letting out to them. Those who desire to get the best yield out of their property should really think of ways to make their properties available to pet owners as they are often prepared to pay more.
When it all boils down to increasing your income, the cat or dog of your tenant could really be your closest companion.
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Paul Long (Director & Author of The Sidcup Property Blog)