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Ten top tips for making property pay

There are currently an estimated 3.84 million privately rented properties in this country – a figure set to rise as the population grows and increasing numbers of people opt to rent or find it difficult to get onto the property ladder.

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That opens up huge opportunities for those looking to invest in property – from big corporations down to individuals wanting a safe and potentially profitable haven for their savings. But there are downsides too, if you don’t do your research property or employ the wrong people to look after your interests.

So what are the top ten things to remember before you put your hard earned cash down? Jamie Langley of Red Key Property Services has the answers.

  1.  Do your research beforehand: identify your target market and match that to the property you buy; make sure it has the right features and is located in the right area to attract this market. Take advice from a reputable letting agent if in doubt.
  2. Decorate and furnish your property well and in a style that will appeal to your target market and not your personal taste: clean, neutral colours work best.  Ensure bathrooms and kitchens are modern and in good condition.  If the property has a garden, make sure that it is tidy.  It’s also advisable to refresh properties between lettings, including carpet cleaning and touching up paintwork.
  3. If you don’t want the hassle of managing the property yourself, employ an expert you can count on: an ARLA registered agent will ensure that all the correct documents are issued, including a good tenancy agreement which combines your rights as a landlord and the fair expectations of your tenant’s.  The agent will also obtain credit checks and references.
  4. Ensure you are able to let your property: you will need consent from your mortgage provider; and if you’re a leaseholder, seek permission from the freeholder/management company.
  5. Secure a deposit – ideally slightly more than one month’s rental.  This will give you greater protection against damages and encourage tenants to pay their final month’s rent.  Remember: deposits must be protected by one of the Government-approved Deposit Protection Schemes.
  6. Make a thorough inventory and schedule of conditions  – enabling you and the tenant to agree upon the condition of the property, so minimising later disputes.
  7. Make sure your property is safe to let – which means checking that all your appliances meet fire and safety regulations.
  8. A boiler maintenance contract is a good idea, and many white goods have extended warranties – all of which can prove cheaper than emergency call out charges.
  9. Be prepared for void periods: set aside funds to cover you if things go wrong or the tenant leaves.
  10. In the case of problem tenants, take prompt action. If your tenant is not looking after your property or is behind with rent, consult a solicitor, investigate your options and take steps immediately.

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