As the competition gets tougher for people to sell their houses, there has been a significant increase in homeowners turning to renting out their homes.
There are many different reasons why homeowners choose to look at letting out their houses. Some people choose to buy a home with the sole purpose of having the house as a rental home, while others choose to put their home on the rental market if they have to move away for work or to move in with a partner.
For some, they may not want to become a landlord, but find themselves in this position due to sluggish movement with selling their house. Whatever the reason might be for you if you are looking into renting out your home, there is quite a lot to consider before doing so.
Here are a number of key factors to consider before you rent out your home, to ensure you have a smooth, stress-free experience:
Ensure your home is to it’s best standard
Before listing your home privately or with any estate agency, remember the importance of ‘curb appeal’. Curb appeal translates to how potential tenants will view your house the moment they arrive at the house. They will assess the exterior and make a judgement almost immediately – it’s a natural reaction for anyone.
If anything within eyesight is broken, such as fences, gates or letterboxes, this can leave a lasting first impression. This also applied to any worn exterior paint, or tired looking doors and windows.
The next step is to assess the two key rooms which tenants are very particular about – the kitchen and bathroom. Check that all taps, extractor fans and flushes are in top working order. No one wants to spy a leaky tap that may get worse months down the line!
Assess all cupboards and drawers, and ask yourself if they are in need of repair. Now would be the ideal time to start updating anything that isn’t in top condition.
Overall, make sure the important and most used appliances and items in these rooms are updated and fully working. There is no need to fully renovate, you’ll be surprised at how making some key cosmetic updates can modernise your home and make a huge difference.
Look at using an estate agent
It is completely your choice when it comes down to the decision of whether to use an estate agent or not. The other option is to manage the renting out procedure completely by yourself, which tends to be the least common move, but it all depends on you and your situation.
If you are moving far away from the house and the area, you may find yourself struggling to attend to the house if any problems occur. If there was a flood or a problem with the boiler or electrics, these would be classed as urgent, and you would be needed quite quickly. This is where an estate agent would be beneficial, who could look after the running of the house if anything was to go wrong.
An estate agent would also oversee the advertising or your rental, and assist with all viewings. If you work full time, this can be a difficult task to attend, as potential tenants may expect you to work around their availability for when they wish to view.
However, if you will be close by to the house and have a network of tradesmen contacts (in case any emergency jobs are needed) you may be able to manage this task yourself. Have a good think about the reality of being a landlord before making your decision.
Be ruthless when clearing out the house
Whether you rent your home out as furnished or unfurnished is completely down to you, but either way, you will need to have a massive clear out before tenants are ready to move in.
If you don’t spend the time going through all your belongings, you’ll end up having to pay to keep them in storage or have too much to transport to your new abode. Look at using this as an opportunity to have a huge clear out before your tenants are due to move in. Car boot sales, eBay and using the selling app Depop are all handy ways to sell anything you no longer want (providing they are in good condition). Other than that, look at recycling anything that can no longer be used.
Before you make the decision of whether to rent your home out as furnished or unfurnished, weigh up the pros and cons of both. Unfurnished means you will have to take your furniture with you, but it also is a popular choice for tenants who want to make the home their own.
Furnished properties tend to be more popular for young couples, who don’t yet have the money to buy their own sofas, beds, washing machines and dishwashers, to name a few. Do consider the demand in your area for both types of lets.
Understand the legal procedures
There are a few steps you are expected to follow legally, with the main one being to change your current mortgage to ‘buy-to-let’. If you don’t know how to do this, your mortgage adviser will be happy to discuss this with you and go through the steps.
Having the right types of insurance is also key, as most people just look at homeowners insurance, but this won’t cover you for any damage that future tenants may do to your home. This is where landlords insurance is needed, which will completely cover you for anything that takes place in the home when you are letting it out.
Speak to a solicitor about everything you need to legally cover before you start moving forward with securing tenants. It’s best to have everything covered professionally before you get off to a bad start.
Of course, being a landlord is a rewarding ‘job’, but it has a lot of procedures and rules that need to be adhered to first. If you put the time and research in first, along with reading the above tips, you should hopefully enter the landlord world with as little stress as possible.