When it comes to lettings, we know it all. The ins and outs, the ups and downs and everything in-between. We eat, sleep and breathe property. We’ve been in the game for years, so it’s safe to say this is a question time round that we’d definitely win!
Letting property may not be new to us, but we have a lot of first timers who cross our door ready and raring to cross the threshold into their new pad, and we aim to be there every step of the way. Whether you’re a first time tenant or a newbie landlord, there’s a whole lot of information for beginners that it pays to be aware of. Knowledge is power, and boy do we have it by the bucket load, so here we came up with a lettings 101 especially for first time tenants and landlords. All so the student can become the master.
First things first, viewings. Love them or hate them, they’re an essential part of finding a property to rent. We’ve already talked you through what to look out for on a viewing, but keeping on top of what you’re viewing and where is a whole different ball game. Try and make a note of all your viewings and diarise them well so you don’t miss any. Some agents will text you and give you regular updates as to when your viewings are which makes it easier for you and proves difficult for you to forget. It’s been reported that an average of seven potential tenants can be chasing one property at a time so a missed viewing could cost you your dream home.
Once you’ve grabbed the property you want with both hands, the next step is the admin and costs that come with it. Although we’re all desperate move in and pop the kettle on, there are contracts to go through, initial meetings, credit checks and references to consider. It may not be glamorous but it’s got to be done. Make sure you’ve established one point of contact, got all the paperwork in order and made yourself aware of all the necessary costs to make the process quicker, or you could hit stumbling blocks later down the line.
So now you’ve got the keys and are settling in to your new home. It’s pretty much plain sailing from here on in as long as you remember of few golden rules:
1) Think before you leap: It feels like home, but you still have a landlord who actually owns the property so there may be some restrictions. Always double check with your landlord or agent before going ahead with anything such as painting and decorating as they may not want you to do anything that could affect the look of the property.
2) Keep it clean: While you’re not expected to keep everything spick and span 24 hours a day, not cleaning regularly can leave lasting damage. Anything such a spillages, stains and even a grubby oven are things you can get charged for as you leave, so don’t put it off for too long.
3) Who you gonna call? As a tenant, there a some things you won’t be responsible for, such as general repairs. However, just because you have a handy man on hand doesn’t mean you can get away with all the general DIY. Things like broken light bulbs and cleaning washing machine filters are ultimately your responsibility, so think before you dial.
Preparing to let your property might not be all fun and games but it’s probably the most important task you can do. The condition the property is in and how it looks makes a huge difference to how many viewings it gets and how quickly it gets let, so if you’re looking to get top tenants, you might want to get the feather duster out.
As with everything, they are inevitable costs to consider. Many landlords see property as a business so as the saying goes, you’ve got to spend money to make money. Solicitor’s fees, furnishings, insurance and other expenses soon add up so try to tackle this head on at the beginning and make sure your finances are in check before taking the plunge.
If you haven’t already you’ll also need to think about what sort of landlord you want to be. If you wanted, you could be very involved from the start and you would handle everything yourself without the help of a letting agent. To be a hands-on landlord, you’ll have to deal with all the necessary admin, viewings, lettings, inspections and repairs yourself – it’s a big commitment so be 100% sure before you make the decision. A hands-off landlord has much less responsibility as a letting agent, like Ascend, will take care of all the property management for you, so you can still get good returns on your investment without really having to deal with the day-to-day tasks.
Of course there are a million other things to think about with lettings, depending on you, your property and your circumstances. But whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, everything is made easier when you use Ascend. Talk to us today on 0161 637 8336.