You have decided to take the plunge and rent out your home. It can be a stressful process and for many people it may take some time to secure new tenants. There are many things you can change inside and outside your property to make it more attractive to potential tenants. So here are 10 tips to help you let your property faster:
1 Instant attraction
Kerb appeal is crucial when you are selling your home and tenants are no different from buyers in their responses. A house that looks like it could be a home will be let in no time. If there’s a garden, clear it. If you can hide bins, do so. If you have time, tidy up paving and kill weeds.
2 Maintenance issues
Potential tenants will be put off if window panes are cracked, woodwork is in poor condition or cladding is damaged. Leaking – or missing – gutters, broken tiles, badly fitting windows and doors, and overgrown climbers or vegetation will all have a negative impact on any viewing. Repair and clean up before you try to let the property, so you do not put off prospective tenants.
Don’t go mad. You won’t be living here. White paint is cheaper and saves time because you don’t have to cut it in around the edges. New carpets throughout can change the feel of a property immediately. Choose neutral colours overall, then add splashes of colour through pictures and cushions. Add a decent underlay, haggle hard, and you can achieve a good-looking finish without a huge outlay. Replace coloured bathroom suites or damaged kitchens. You might get away with new cupboard doors in the kitchen and fresh grout in the bathroom. Clean or replace socket fronts, light switches, knobs and combination taps.
If you’ve no intention of decorating, at least give everything a good clean. Doors and window frames are easily wiped down and glass should be clean. Bathrooms and kitchens should be sparkling. Vacuum thoroughly, make the beds, banish any trace of pets and run around with an air freshener and the polish.
5 Furnished vs. unfurnished
This depends partly on the type of property you are letting. But if you are going to furnish it, you need to be aware of fire regulations. That means you can’t just buy a second-hand sofa. You need to be sure it conforms to fire safety regulations. It is advisable not to remove the green fire safe labels on new furniture as these confirm that the furniture complies with regulations. Instead you can place them underneath the furniture or staple them to the main seat, under the cushion. You also need to consider durability, so buy soft furnishings with removable, washable covers. Mattresses can be covered, too. Tables, cabinets and wardrobes shouldn’t be too flimsy. Yes, you might have to replace them every two years, but you don’t want to have to do it more often than that! If you do not want to commit to purchasing furniture, speak to Kay & Co who you can assist with arranging a rental package, so the property remains flexible should someone want it unfurnished. In the kitchen you need at least a cooker, a fridge and a washing machine. Where space permits, a separate dryer is also very desirable to tenants. Rugs can save wear on the wooden floors or carpets.
6 Listen to your lettings agent
It’s a good idea to use a lettings agent, who can market your property to a wide range of people, who are already looking. It gives you peace of mind that all the necessary checks will be done at a professional level, and it saves a lot of hassle. At Kay & Co, we will arrange your tenancy agreement and organise an inventory. We can also manage your property and tenants if you prefer to be more hands-off.
7 Location is everything
If your property is in a central location, with great transport links or, alternatively, tucked away in a quiet location by a park, emphasise its best features. Think about who would be most likely to rent the place – maybe a family, or a young professional. Your lettings agent will market the property accordingly. Make sure the agent knows about the great view, or the nearby garage that’s available, or the fantastic nursery across the road.
People will find it easier to imagine themselves living in your home if they can see the size of the rooms. Get rid of excess furniture, children’s toys and clothes. Hide it all into cupboards and under beds, or throw it away if you have not used or worn it during the past six months.
9 Be efficient
Make sure you have all the paperwork in order and are always available to answer questions. Try to avoid going on holiday - especially off grid - when you are trying to let the property. Answer the phone, check the emails and communicate regularly.
10 Decision time
When deciding whether to accept an offer, do not take too long, as often tenants place offers on more than one property at the same time. A delay in a decision could result in losing tenants to their second choice, especially if an offer is made on a Friday and they are potentially waiting until Monday for a decision.
In most cases, if you treat your tenants well, they will reciprocate. Always be helpful and respect their privacy. Communicate effectively and, with luck, you will enjoy a long and fruitful relationship.
• Contact Kay & Co estate agents for details of properties for sale, to rent or for block management in Marylebone, Bayswater, King’s Cross, Paddington, Notting Hill, Mayfair, Hyde Park, Fitzrovia, Regents Park, Paddington and The West End (020 7262 2030; Kay & Co).