Preparing your property
Decide whether you want to let your property out furnished or unfurnished. It’s great if you can offer both options, as this means the agent can market it to a wider pool of applicants. In terms of decorating and soft furnishings, keep it fresh and neutral. A well-maintained, clean property will attract good tenants and generate more interest.
The safety of your tenants is very important, so make sure you have a Gas Safety check every year. It goes without saying that your rental property should be fitted with smoke alarms throughout and a CO2 alarm if required.
By law, you will need an EPC (energy performance certificate) for your rental property. Your estate agent can usually help you to organise this. You won’t be able to market the property without one, so get it organised as soon as possible – they’re valid for 10 years so you won’t need to worry about it for a while once it is in place.
It’s a really good idea to get a professional inventory taken at the start and end of each tenancy. Your estate agent will be able to manage this for you. It can make all the difference with any disputes that may arise when a tenant vacates the property.
Try to keep a relatively open mind about your potential tenants and don’t set unrealistic expectations, as this only reduces your target audience. Try not to become too emotionally attached to the property either, as it is always hard to let go of a property you love – try to distance yourself from the process.
Potential tenants may try and negotiate on the price. Depending on the tenant’s offer, it’s worth weighing up if the price you want is worth holding out for, or if it’s better to accept it and reduce the time the property is empty and not making money. It’s definitely worth listening to your letting / estate agent’s advice.
What level of service do you want from your agent?
You need to figure out how much involvement you want from your letting agent.
Do you just want them to find you a tenant and conduct all the security checks, or would you like them to look after the ongoing rent-collection and property management? Of course, there is an additional cost for the agent’s ongoing involvement and overlooking the rental of your property, but it could save you a whole lot of hassle and time in the long run.
Whilst choosing your agent, don’t automatically opt for the agent that offers the lowest fee. This may prove to be a false economy for numerous reasons.
Consider employing staff to help look after your property, like a cleaner and gardener for example. This means you can retain some level of control over your property’s care and maintenance.