1. Make life easy
Make life easy, if buying a property for letting, choose square or rectangular shaped rooms. Irregular or unusual shaped rooms make a room look smaller and cluttered. A key selling point for tenants is an en-suite and a decent sized living room is important even if the bedrooms are a bit on the small size.
2. Choose the right letting agent.
Choosing the right letting agent is vital for a quick rental. Establish which agent generates the most enquiries from potential tenants for your area. Consider an agent with a good high street location who may be getting the highest footfall or the agent with a strong online marketing presence. Also look at the local papers and establish which agents are advertising on a regular basis as they will have a constant stream of tenants. Many potential tenants go online and you can search the typical key words perspective tenants might input. The results of your online search will establish which letting agents have a strong online presence as the agents you find online are the same agents your tenants will come across in their search.
3. Interior design is the key
Furniture and a slick sophisticated professional interior designed look is the key to securing higher rent and an immediate let. The right look will rent your property within three viewings and also attract better quality tenants who will care about your property. It’s surprising how many landlords spend hundreds of thousands buying a property to-let only to skimp on furnishing and fittings. Consider employing an interior designer or a interior design-lead furniture supplier who can offer a ‘’wow’’ factor. This should be a colour coordinated, well thought-out stylish, spectacular look. Pay particular attention to the three piece suite selection. This is a key signature piece and the emphasis should to be on a high quality ‘’comfy’’ large suite. Stay away from overly contemporary furniture especially sofas with small narrow overly firm cushions with low backs, they look trendy, but can be very uncomfortable. Once the property is furnished, take high quality pictures or consider a professional photographer who can make your property look truly amazing. These photos are an important selling tool and will set your property apart from the competition.
Parking spaces make your property more rentable; especially in city centres and they can also be a great investment.
If you are buying an apartment, do not buy in a larger site exclusively sold to investors especially in developments with twenty five plus units. When large amounts of properties become available for rent at the same time this will create a temporary over-supply, reduce your rent and increase the time required to find tenants.
6. Be involved with your management company.
Take an active role in your management company. A well run Management Company ensures the common areas are clean and will ensure the building itself is well maintained and cared-for. This makes your property more desirable to perspective tenants. If the managing agent is not performing well, be ruthless and seek to have them removed as soon as possible. Many owners play no active role in the running of their management company and this will impact on the level and standards of services provided by the managing agent.
7. Corporate lettings.
If you have a property in a suitable location, consider renting to the short-term corporate market. This may require you becoming more active with the marketing as a website promoting the property will be required. Strong returns can be achieved and the property will have less wear and tear.
8. Keep in regular contact with your agent
Keep in regular contact with your letting agent, ask about the number of viewings, if the property is slow to rent it is vital to ask for feedback to establish any problem quickly, preferably within days of the first few viewings. If your property is slow to rent, act fast, lower the price or have a meeting with the agent to discuss any problems.
9. Don’t be greedy
Don’t be greedy. Many landlords overprice trying to hold out for months greedily dreaming of a higher rent. This is a pointless exercise defeating itself based on the fact the property usually remains empty for months while the owner seeks an unrealistic rental figure. If you’re renting in a more competitive market, then price point your property below the competition. This may hurt initially, but if you have to do it later, financially, it will hurt even more, if after many months you have to reduce the rent anyway, start lower, be realistic, don’t be greedy and get your property rented immediately.
10. Be careful about finances
Only accept payments on a standing order basis, the hassle factor with cheque or cash just isn’t worth the trouble. Check your bank account every month and if tenants are late with a payment, advise them in writing you’re unhappy about it, in effect try to make an issue of their lateness and ask them not to repeat. Ask for six weeks deposit instead of the usual four as tenants often withhold the last months rent as a way of returning their deposit. This way there is some cash available if the property is damaged.
Henry Davis develops commercial & residential property in Britain 087 2344000 or www.internationalproperty.ie
Tip 1. Think like a criminal.
In order to have your holiday home secured it is important to think the same way as the burglar. If you were a burglar you want to be able to get into the house as quick as possible with the least amount of noise. Generally, burglars would enter from the back or the side of the house which is out of sight during day time when most people in the neighbourhood are at work. A layered security approach would be the best as it will take the burglar longer to get into the house and possibly create more noise to get the attention of the neighbours.
Tip 2. Lock your security gates.
Firstly, a locked security gate with sharp edges and fence is essential as it makes it not possible for a burglar to enter the property with a car to load things such as furniture. Additionally, someone climbing over a fence of course is a clear indication that they don't belong there. A good tip is to have a hedge on the inner side of the wall as it makes it more difficult to climb back over, or even better to have cactus plants or roses bushes growing as the thorns is a natural deterrent. Having a driveway that is small loose stones and which also encircles the house is also a good option instead of the regular concrete driveways as it would be nosier and would leave tracks that may be valuable during a investigation.
Tip 3. Install motion detectors for lighting around the whole house.
Many homeowners also opt for motion detectors which is set the spotlights on the driveway, while this is important, it is fundamental that it also lights up the sides and the back of the house which is popular locations of break-ins.
Tip 4. Keep curtains drawn and valuables out of site.
A very attractive proposition to a burglar is valuable items such as electronic devices or paintings that may be visible through the windows. For this reason it is important that such items are placed out of view. Thick closed curtains which are drawn when away is a good option. Many holiday home owners may even choose metal shutters which works almost like the hurricane protection barriers which is used in Florida. This extra protection is also useful as it would take even more time to enter through the windows.
Tip 5. Add plants with thorns outside windows; add burglar bars and security coating to windows.
Breaking through windows is a popular option, therefore, plants with thorns outside the windows again is a repellent as it takes time to clear and could turn out to be painful. One way of protecting the windows is to have a protection coating placed on it. This can be a clear plastic layer which prevents the window shattering. Burglar bars of course is a good time waster for thieves but is not always so attractive and can ruin the appearance of a house. There are on the market burglar bars which have better looking designs and it would be advisable to have these on the windows that are out of sight from the road.
Tip 6. Reinforce doors and secure door handles and locks .
Often times developers uses cheap doors and locks on properties to save money and this gives and opportunity for burglars to force their way in through the door by breaking the lock by inserting a screw-driver between the door and the wall or alternatively just kicking it in. There are doors available on the market that is re-inforced with steal inside which makes it almost impossible to kick in. There are also steal security gates which can either be placed on the inside our outside of the door. These types of gates can be very useful. Also, locks which are better secured around the door handle and lock has to be considered as it can be so easy to break it. Additionally, a good option would be to have more than one lock. Besides the regular dead bolt and chub lock it would be advisable for owners to have a lock which is totally out of reach at the top or bottom of the door. Often times, burglars would break a small window on the side of the door and reach in to open the dead bolt; however, if they can reach the "second line of defence", may just give up.
Tip 7. Secure sliding doors.
Sliding doors if not closed by shutters can be an easy target and a good way to secure these is to place a rod which is just long enough to fit on the track behind the sliding door. In case the burglar manage to force a knife or screw-driver behind the lock, they wont be able to slide it open as the rod would block the track or door from moving back.
Tip 8. Store valuables.
A simple option which can be valuable is storing valuables inside cupboards and locking them. What this does is extends the time which a burglar needs to find the goods and then additional having to break the cupboard to get the goods.
Tip 9. Install a high quality alarm system.
A high quality alarmed system which links to an armed response unit is vital and will certainly let burglars think twice. This type of protection in locations such as South Africa is absolutely essential, especially the emergency button when you are living there.
Tip 10. Be part of a neighborhood watch.
Neighborhoods watch is a very popular option especially if the home is empty. A small contribution to such a scheme can assist in deterring thieves.
Tip 11. Creating an illusion of presence.
There are many new timing systems on the market which allows for the lights to be switched on an tv to go on, or even the radio to play at certain times. A smart thief of course will cop on to this if they take the time to study the movements of property owners, however, they don't tend to be that patient in most cases.
Tip 12. Get contents insurance.
Moveable property is generally insurable and while it does not often happen that goods get stolen buyers should always have such a security blanket.