According to the latest English Housing Survey, the private rental sector accounted for 4.7 million households from 2016 - 17. This report is a useful measure of the types of people most likely to be looking for rental properties, giving landlords a clear idea of the sorts of tenants they’ll need to target. For example, the number of those aged 25-34 living in privately rented accommodation has increased by 19% over the past ten years to 46%. For the same age group, owner occupied properties decreased from 57% to 37% over the same period.
With this in mind, here are seven tips to help you market your properties to the most suitable tenants.
1. Offer that little something extra
Whether your property is suitable for families, single couples or students, if you offer your tenants a little something extra, they’ll be happy to pay that little bit more. It could be something as simple as providing internet access. The key is to decide who your ideal tenant is, and then work out what is going to appeal to them the most.
2. Furnished or unfurnished?
Renting a property out fully furnished might not suit everyone, but for tenants from overseas, divorcees, students, or a couple looking for their first home, a property that comes ready to move in could be exactly what they’re looking for. There’s also the added bonus that, as long as your property is not a holiday letting, you can claim tax relief on any costs you incur on the disposal and replacement of any furnishings, appliances and kitchenware. You can also claim expenses on general maintenance and repairs to the property and costs of services, such as gardeners and cleaners. There’s plenty of information on your tax obligations as a landlord and what expenses you can claim for on the government website.
3. Consider the location
If your property is close to a university or college, your obvious target will be students. If there’s already a plethora of student properties around your area, perhaps aiming at post graduates or lecturers could yield a higher rent.
4. Make sure the property is in a good state of repair
Whoever you’re looking to attract, ensuring your property is thoroughly cleaned after a previous rental and given a lick of paint can make the world of difference. Given the choice between a tired looking, damp smelling property and one that’s clean, fresh and bright, a tenant looking for somewhere they can call home is going to choose the latter.
When you’re sprucing up your rental property, it’s worth bearing in mind that decorating rooms to your own taste, may not be the best option. Keeping a neutral colour scheme that will appeal to a wide range of tastes will attract more interest. If your property is not furnished, prospective tenants will need to envisage their own furniture in place when they come to view. If you’re providing a furnished property, statement pieces may limit your pool of potential tenants. It may be that laminate flooring in rooms where there is a lot of traffic will work better than carpet which is likely to need replacing after a two year tenancy, as well as giving a neutral base to the room.
5. Look after the garden
If you’re trying to appeal to families or professionals, a well-tended garden could be the deciding factor. An outdoor space for entertaining such as a decking area could give your property the edge. It’s important to state who is responsible for looking after the garden in the tenancy agreement. It might be that you decide to employ a gardener. You can claim this expense against your rental income and it will ensure you’re not left with a jungle to deal with at the end of the tenancy.
6. Pay special attention to kitchens and bathrooms
The kitchen and the bathroom are two of the most important rooms in a house or apartment. These can very easily tempt, or turn off, potential tenants. You can increase your rental income by spending a bit of time on these two areas. If you can’t afford to put in a new bathroom, upgrading the one you have could prove to be a good investment. New taps, a power shower or a new glass screen can make all the difference to a tired looking bathroom, alongside a coat of paint and a deep clean to keep it looking fresh and clean.
The kitchen is always the focal point of any home. Again ensuring this is sparkling clean will go a long way to enticing those would be tenants and if you can’t afford a new kitchen, perhaps investing in some top of the range appliances could clinch the deal.
7. Make sure you’re covered
Once you’ve spent time and money ensuring your property is tenant ready, it’s worth looking into the benefits that landlord insurance offers to ensure your investment is fully protected. A landlord insurance policy will provide cover to protect your buildings, contents or both, against a range of perils such as fire, flood, theft and malicious damage. You can also take out optional accidental damage insurance to further protect your buildings and or contents against accidental damage caused by you or your tenants.
Rental properties come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s important to find landlord insurance that meets your requirements. If you’re looking to insure a buy-to-let property for residential tenants, your requirements will be different to a landlord with a large commercial property portfolio. While landlord insurance isn’t compulsory by law, it may be a requirement of your mortgage or loan provider to make sure you have landlord buildings insurance in place.
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