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Maximising your buy-to-let rental income is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Are you getting the best possible return from your buy-to-let property? Jamie Langley of Red Key Property Services has some helpful tips to maximise your rental income.

Read all the media reports and property sector stats and you could easily assume that making money by being a buy-to-let landlord is as easy as falling off a log.

And yes, there are many, many people – from all walks of life – who are achieving an excellent return on their money. But it’s not everybody’s experience.

Indeed, we see a regular flow of people who come to us on the verge of selling their property having had a bad experience of either trying to manage a property themselves or using an agent who hasn’t delivered on their promises.

And no, I’m certainly not going to knock other agents – the majority do a perfectly good job.  But sometimes things do go wrong, and looking from the outside it’s usually easy to see what can be done to get a property earning its way again.

In fact, I’d say that maximising your income should be as easy as 1, 2, 3.

1               Target the tenant

As with any form of selling, you need to know who you’re aiming to attract – your “target market”.

Prospective tenants will look at a raft of different factors when making a decision: how much they can afford is just one aspect: convenience for work or social life, access to public transport, or facilities such as schools if they have children, the character of the area and so on.  A good letting agent will have a very good grasp on the sort of people who would want to live in your road, and what they look for in a property. Are they professionals, students, blue-collar workers, young families? Once you’ve decided on that, the next stage is to…

2               Make sure you appeal

By this I mean decorating and possibly furnishing the property to really tick all that particular person’s boxes. “Single professional” is quite different from “young family”. A good agent can advise you on what it’s worth spending to reap maximum dividends.

While it’s always best to be pretty neutral in the colours and décor departments, you can gain an extra edge with the way you present a property. Remember to use hardwearing materials that can be readily cleaned; throws can save wear on tear on furniture; consider how much to spend on the flooring – and whether it needs to be easy to change carpets and rugs or more permanent laminates or wood.

Critically, allow prospective tenants to personalise the space – the more they consider this to be their home, the more likely they are to look after it. Make sure all the white goods as well as the boiler are in good, safe working order and of reasonable quality – you really don’t want to be landed with repair bills if they conk out!

3               Minimise the voids

If you were selling your house rather than letting it, going with the agent who promises the highest price and the lowest fees is not always the most productive route – especially if the property has to be reduced in price having spent ages on the market.

A good agent will give you an honest appraisal of what they think is a realistic rent, based on their detailed knowledge of the neighbourhood and local market. The very best agents will also have a good list of pre-qualified candidates ready and waiting to view.

With that approach, expensive void periods are avoided: remember, a month empty is the equivalent of several percentage points on the fee. And if you really want to ensure that your agent is qualified to let, ensure they are ARLA registered. If they are SAFE registered too, that’s an added bonus as your money and the tenants will be 100% safe.

And of course, if you REALLY want to get the very best return from your property, just give us a call!

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