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How to transform your home into a rental property

Date online: 21/04/2016

Reasons may include inheriting a property, inability to sell, or a relative going into a nursing home and leaving their home empty. Whatever the reason, renting a property out can seem like an ideal solution. Two of Belvoir's award-winning franchise owners advise on how to transform your property into a valuable asset.

Ben Davies, owner of Belvoir Swansea, comments: “If someone is unable to sell a property and decides to rent it instead they need to be fully aware of what they are committing to in the long-ter. Once a landlord has committed to a tenant taking on a property, for six or 12 months they are bound by that agreement.

Preparation

Prior to renting the property out, take time to prepare it. Go in to the property with your eyes wide open, and emotionally detach as much as possible. This can be difficult if it has been a family home for many years. Try and view the property as a mini-business and consider getting rid of things such as floral carpets and wallpaper, and replacing them with something neutral. I always advise people to get rid of unnecessary items such as stair lifts, and to get all the electrics checked over to ensure that they have the relevant electric and gas safety certificates in place, as required by law.

Safety

The safety of tenants is paramount, so look around the house and garden with a critical eye. For example, if there is a steep drop off a patio that a child could fall down you may need to fence this off, and similarly it may be better to fill in a pond, as tenants may not have the time to maintain it and there may be safety concerns if they have pets or small children.

Once you have identified anything that may be unsafe or off-putting you can take steps to rectify them. The legislation surrounding the rental market is changing all the time, but a good letting agent can provide all the necessary advice to bring a property up to the required standard, and keep landlords on the right side of the law. They can also help you to find tenants, deal with references, prepare inventories, do viewings, collect rents and deposits and sort out any maintenance issues as well as periodically visit the property to ensure it is being looked after. A good letting agent can be worth their weight in gold.”

Raising standards

Adam Rastall is co-owner of Belvoir Liverpool Central, says: “The quality and standard of rental properties has increased dramatically in the last 20 years. An accidental landlord should not make the mistake of thinking that renting is a second-rate option, because for many people it is a lifestyle choice and there is a fantastic supply of good quality property for tenants to choose from. If your rental property is not in good condition it won't rent out as quickly and tenants are likely to leave more quickly.

Professional advice

I would definitely advise accidental landlords to speak to their local agent and obtain some professional advice. Put your business hat on and look at your home as a business/investment. When we do property appraisals we recommend whatever needs to be done to help landlords secure better quality tenants. Equally, we will advise landlords if we think they are about to undertake a lot of unnecessary work and expense. For example, some people think they must rush out to a major department store and buy expensive beds and washing machine when it may be much better to buy less expensive, but good quality appliances on line.

A professional and reputable agent like Belvoir will want to help people to make profits and see good yields. It is our job to help landlords deal with the pitfalls of renting and make the experience as stress free as possible.”

Ten top rental tips

 1.  Seek free professional advice from a reputable agent
 2.  Regard your property as a mini business/investment
 3.  View the property with a critical eye, as if you were a potential tenant
 4.  Rectify any areas that may be unsightly or unsafe
 5.  Make sure your property has all the relevant gas and electric safety certificates
 6.  Consider replacing floral carpets and wallpapers with neutral ones
 7.  Clean the property from top to bottom – employ a professional cleaner if necessary
 8.  Replace appliances and white goods with good quality new ones.
 9.  Remove unnecessary items such as stair lifts
 10. Pay attention to any outdoor space to make this easy maintenance and safe for tenants.

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