Letting your property can be a daunting experience but knowing the process can help put at ease a lot of those fears. Using a letting agent can help with every stage of letting your property from valuation, to views, comprehensively referencing tenants and providing a Full Property Management service, if desired.
Step 1. Accurate Valuation
Having an empty property can cause a great deal of stress and reduce your yields. Every agent's focus must be to let your property in the shortest period of time at the highest possible price, without over pricing your property which will also cause void periods. Therefore getting an accurate and realistic valuation is, therefore, very important.
It's always a good idea to: –
- Do your research
- Get the agents to justify their valuation
- Consider how much do you need to cover your mortgage, any ground rent and or service charges, and the agency fees.
Step 2 Kerb Appeal
As with selling a property the condition and presentation of your property is vitally important, especially if there are similar types of property to rent also available. Remember that tenants are normally looking for the similar types of things in a rental property as if they were going to buy this will be their home and most are looking for something that is clean, tidy, well decorated and well maintained. Most prospective decisions decide within the first few minutes of walking into a property if it's right for them.
Step 3 Selecting an Agent and Service
Selecting an Agent to let your property can in itself be a minefield with so many agents out there. The most important thing to remember is to go with an agent you believe you can trust as they will be looking after and caring for your property and also one that you can also get along with and who has time for you to find out your individual needs as a Landlord.
Deciding on which service to opt for again is something that can be difficult, this will come down to what time and knowledge you have and your location. Letting your property can be very time consuming and with everyone having busy lives, trying to sort out a plumber on a Sunday morning is not everyone's idea of fun especially if you live 100 miles away, in this case a Full Property Management Service would be the best service with all the hassle taken away and someone else dealing with those problems. If you are close to your rental property and have the knowledge of the Legal Legislation (and also the time), then maybe a Tenant Find Service is more suitable.
A good letting agent should be able to tailor packages to suit your individual needs.
Step 4 Marketing
To find the perfect tenant you need to give your property maximum exposure, thus ensuring that your property is advertised on all the major property website portals. At this stage you will also need to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in place.
Step 5 Viewing and Offers
Once your property is markedly hopeful the prospective tenants will come flooding in and viewings will acknowledge which will either be carried out by the Agents or yourself if desired. When an offer is made to rent your property your agent will inform you of the rent offered and details of the prospective tenants. If you are then happy to proceed Full Referencing will then be carried out on the prospective contracts.
Step 6 Preparing the property for move in
When the checks are being carried out now is the time to ensure that the following is ready: –
- Gas Safety Certificate
- PAT Test – All electrical appliances have to be tested to be safe
- Ensure the property is clean
- Inventory and Condition Report to be compiled – Without this you could be powerless to deduct any monies at the end of the tenancy if there was a dispute
- Take meter reading, which should be carried out at the same time as the inventory
- Ensure instructions booklets for appliances are available
Step 7 Move in
Once the tenants check have come back and all required Legal requirements have been met then the tenants can move into the property. Your agent will draw up an Assured Shorthold Tenancy for either 6 / 12months, which is agreed, and all other necessary documentation. They will also take one months rent in advance and damage deposit. The damage deposit will then need to be held within a Government based scheme, of which there are 3 to choose from. The aim of a professional letting agent is to make life as simple as possible for Landlords be they Fully Managed or Let Only and to ensure their property is maintained and cared for.