After you've bought the property

You've got the keys, so what's next?

  • Finding a tenant

    Finding a tenant

    The whole aim of a Buy to Let investment property is that you get a tenant in, sooner, rather than later. You might want to advertise the property yourself (this will mean you’ll have to be onsite to show prospective tenants around), but if you’d rather leave this to someone else, there are many estate agents who specialise in the Buy to Let rental markets. You could consider using the services of a letting agency to find a suitable tenant too.

    There is much legal 'red tape' around tenants living in rented accommodation, particularly with regards to multiple tenants living under the one roof, so it's a good idea to check and see if you need to register your property as a 'House in Multiple Occupation' (HMO).

    Don't second guess when you can learn the facts outright.

    Another consideration are laws against discrimination. You cannot discriminate against any potential tenants on the grounds of:

    • disability
    • gender reassignment
    • pregnancy and maternity
    • race
    • religion or belief
    • gender
    • sexual orientation.

    Know the law and understand what your role is within it, and if you are in any doubt speak to someone who is qualified to help you, like a solicitor, letting or estate agent and in some circumstances the Citizens Advice Bureau.

  • Furniture and appliances

    Furniture and appliances

    Again, the type of tenant and property will influence how much you want to spend on furniture, if anything. You may want to let it out as an unfurnished or part-furnished property.  That's your call.

    When you’ve got the house, remember you can’t please everyone, so it’s best to stick to neutral colours throughout: magnolia or white walls, plain, hard-wearing carpets in muted colours can often be a good call.

    Choose a style depending on how you want to position the property on the rental market. For example, if it’s designed for six students there’s little point in installing waterfall showers and brushed aluminium worktops. If you’re aiming for the more high-end, discerning customer, then it might be worth splashing out (no pun intended!) on premium furniture if you’re confident you can reclaim the cost.

    Whoever your tenant is, they will look carefully at the standard of the house. If the walls are smudged, the carpet is worn and appliances dated, you’re putting yourself in a position where you may not be able to charge as much rent as you'd ideally like. If, however, the property is clean, tidy,  dry and with fully-functioning and approved appliances, then you’re much more likely to find yourself a tenant who genuinely wants to live there.

  • Maintenance

    Maintenance

    There's a lot that can go wrong in any home, but when it's your own place you can fix it as and when you have both the time and money. But when someone else is paying you the going rate in rent in exchange for living in your property, their expectations are somewhat higher.

    If you've a tenancy agreement in place, it's strongly advisable to stick within the parameters of this agreement, so don't be swayed to put things of to 'tomorrow'. Act fast and understand the hazards of leaving your tenant in a position of potential risk, putting health and safety high on your agenda as a landlord.

    We've talked about this before, but employing the services of a letting agency to look after the day-to-day running of the house is an idea that works for many.

    They’ll deal with the tenants phone calls, carry out inspections and routine maintenance, and send the contractors in when something goes wrong. So if you have a job that dominates your time, this way you'll know that your tenant is still being looked after.

    You can expect to pay approximately 8-12% of your rental income to the letting agency for this service, so shopping around for the best deal is a good idea.

    In Northern Ireland there are certain laws and minimum legal requirements that apply to landlords, as per the regulations of the NIHE (Northern Ireland Housing Executive).

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