When it comes to making an intelligent investment that will provide you with positive returns year after year then investing in property is one of the best options you can go for. However, that’s not to say it’s a failsafe route to riches; after all, life is always full of surprises and those surprises are often expensive ones . . .thankfully, we’ve got some tried and tested tips to help landlords save money on property maintenance costs and safeguard those returns year after year.
Being proactive rather than reactive
The sensible landlord does work to their property in advance of it actually needing the work, ensuring the property is always in good – or ideally, great – condition for their tenants. This means getting the property into excellent condition before you begin to let it out and conducting seasonal maintenance works to keep everything in full working order. What work needs doing will vary from property to property but if the house is in good nick before you begin to let it out then the annual works that it needs should only be minor, meaning they won’t cost the earth!
Having a maintenance ‘float’
It’s always a good idea to put money aside for your maintenance works, so that you don’t suddenly have a hefty bill to pay that you can’t afford or can’t free up the cash to pay for. However well you maintain your property there will always come a time when a repair rears its head and you don’t want to be scrambling for cash when that happens. Preparation is key in this scenario.
Never buy cheap
You know what they say; buy cheap, buy twice. If you choose to furnish your rental property, then make sure you purchase quality furniture that will last for several years and is hardwearing enough to put up with a succession of tenants. Decent hardware, such as quality taps, cupboard handles and so on, will also continue to look good for years to come.
Opt for simple and classic
Trends come and go but style is forever . . .which is our way of saying when it comes to picking fixtures, fittings and furniture opt for neutral and simple styles that will appeal to everyone. Redoing a kitchen or a bathroom in the current style may mean it looks great for a few years but once that fad is over everything can start to look a little dated. Going with classic styles for things like furniture also means it will be easier to find replacement furniture should you need to, say, replace a chair for the dining table set you only purchased three years ago.
Consider some landscaping
It may be the tenants responsibility to maintain the outdoor spaces attached to the property – if any – but that doesn’t mean it will always be as maintained as you would like and you’re almost guaranteed to have to do some gardening yourself at the end of the tenancy. A major USP with any rental property is having adequate parking, so if you can possibly convert a front garden into a drive instead then it’s well worth the expense in the long run.
Ensure you can access everything
Toilet cisterns neatly tucked away and shower units concealed behind tiled walls; it may look good but if something goes wrong accessing these things is going to be hellish and cost a lot more. Make sure anything that is likely to need repairs at some point is accessible enough and save yourself any future headaches.
DIY isn’t always the answer
It isn’t always more cost effective to do maintenance work to the property yourself, especially if it’s a complicated fix that ends up worsening the damage. The professionals are professionals for a reason, so if you have a certain issue that you don’t feel entirely comfortable fixing yourself then it’s best not to risk it. Go against your better judgement and you could end up causing a bigger issue that costs more money to fix, when a professional could have solved it quickly and simply from the outset.
Fix first thing
There really is no point deliberating over whether or not to fix an issue; if the issue already exists then further time passing without it getting fixed is only going to make the issue worse, not make it magically go away. It’s also pretty much a guarantee that the quicker you fix an issue the cheaper it will be, rather than waiting for the job to become a bigger one!
Always have an inventory
Having an inventory of everything in your property and its current condition is one of the easiest ways to work out whether work needs to be done or whether an item needs to be replaced. It’s also the best way of knowing whether or not any damage is simply the result of wear and tear or down to tenant negligence. Tenants are liable to cover the costs of any damage committed to the property and the contents therein, but only so long as you can prove that the property was in a better state previously; which is where the inventory comes in.
Inspect your properties
It goes without saying that you should inspect the property at the end of a tenancy but really you should be looking to inspect rental properties 1-2 times a year. We would recommend an inspection halfway through the year and another at the end, or at the end of the tenancy if the contract is a 12 month one. This should be included in your tenancy agreement so that your tenants have an expectation of when these will occur. Inspections not only help you to keep track of the state of the property and what works may be needed, but they also provide you with an opportunity to check your tenants are looking after the property appropriately.
For example, clothes drying over radiators in rooms with closed windows will almost certainly lead to mould and condensation problems, but if you see this happening on an inspection you will be able to inform the tenants not to do this, meaning you’re much less likely to have a damp problem on your hands. If your tenants are unhappy at the prospect of you carrying out an inspection you should wonder why, which leads us on to . . .
Get the right tenants
This is easier said than done but bad tenants are much more likely to leave your property in a sorry state than good ones. It can be a fair bit of legwork to ensure you end up with tenants who tick all your boxes, which is why it’s recommended that you opt to have a reputable letting agent manage your rental property for you. At Varcity Living we do thorough checks to ensure we get you the best tenants possible. This includes checking their occupation status, income, references and right to rent in the UK. All of these things combined make it more likely that the tenants will respect the space they rent.
Of course, keeping on top of all these maintenance tasks can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you were hoping to not be overly involved in your property once your tenants have moved in. If that sounds like you then we can manage that stress for you; our maintenance team are available 24/7 and have years of experience, meaning they can provide the type of fixes that keep you up in the middle of the night (whether that’s from worry or from trying to fix them yourself!). Get in touch with a member of our team today to find out more about becoming one of our Managed landlords by emailing email@example.com or calling 01248 719254.