Top tips for a rental property makeover

Now is the perfect time for property owners to give their rental properties a check, and to ensure everything is on track with their investment.

United Kingdom-based real estate agency Belvoir has provided a list of top tips to help investors ensure everything is as it should be.

“Now is a great time to give your rental property a once over,” explained the owner of Belvoir Liverpool West Derby Adam Rastall.

“Jobs can mount up and even small issues can escalate into large problems if left unresolved for too long.”

In order to assess your property’s maintenance needs it is important to pay it a visit. Organize with a convenient time with your tenant for an inspection and request their observations in advance so you have a ‘snagging list’ to work from. Also, create your own checklist of things to look out for, both large and small.

“During your inspection keep a look out for deterioration which could have occurred sice your last check,” added Rastall.

“When you arrive at the property inspect the walls to ensure pointing hasn’t deteriorated.Check the woodwork too. Is it still sound, and free from peeling paint and rot? If not, now is the perfect time to re-paint or re-varnish outdoor woodwork, such as doors, door frames and windows.”

It is important to check your guttering and roof too, he added.

“Debris, such as leaves, can gather in guttering so check carefully to make sure they are clear.

Although we may be heading towards better weather, heavy showers can lead to blocked guttering can cause rainwater to overspill down the fabric of the building and create damp.”

“Look up at the roof. Are there any gaps that indicate tiles have been damaged during any storms, or are there any loose tiles that could pose a danger to your tenant or others?

“During the visit make sure you head into the loft too, if you have one. Can you see daylight? And are the timbers structurally sound with no evidence of recent insect activity?”

Create a schedule

Ask your tenant when they are planning to have their summer holiday so you can organise in advance large indoor maintenance tasks to coincide with the property being vacant. This will give trades people unlimited access and minimise disruption for your tenant.

“Your tenant’s summer holiday is a great opportunity for you to get on top of indoor maintenance,” said the owner of Belvoir Birmingham Central Major Mahil.

“This is especially important if your tenants hold a long-term contract, and therefore you don’t get the opportunity to modernise, update or maintain between tenants exiting and entering, or if you’re hoping to turn your investment into a sales opportunity in the coming months.

“Start planning a schedule now so there’s plenty of time for you to commission your preferred trades people in advance, or book time off work if you are planning to do the jobs yourself.

“Great jobs to tackle when the property is vacant include decorating, damp treatment, any garden landscaping, carpet and flooring changes and updating kitchens and bathrooms.”

Money on track

Give your finances an overhaul’ too to make sure your finances and goals are on track. Is it time for a rent increase? Could you benefit from a remortgage? Are you getting the best value for money from your insurance policy and other packages you may have?

“Reviewing your finances should be an ongoing process but, if you haven’t done this for a while, make sure you do it now,” said the owner of Belvoir Melton Mowbray and Belvoir Bingham Charlotte Baker.

“Check to see if there is an opportunity to improve on the mortgage package you currently have, plus check your insurance policy to ensure you’ve got the best cover for your needs and it is competitively priced.

“Also consider whether you are getting value for money from any packages you may have, such as boiler cover etc, and if you still need them. For example, if you have recently replaced your boiler and it has its own manufacturer’s warranty, you may be paying for something you no longer need.

“Managing agents will annually review the rent for our landlords,” continued Baker, “but if you don’t have an agent and are self-managing your property, then it is advisable that you do this too.
“If your tenant has been in the property for more than a year, and you haven’t already done it, you should compare the current level of rent they’re paying to what similar properties are fetching.

“The first question you should ask yourself is, ‘if my property came on the market for re-let today would I be able to ask a higher rent for it?’ If you think you could, then consider suggesting to your tenant a moderate increase so it doesn’t fall too far behind its current market value.”

Your check-list at a glance

  • Clear out guttering
  • Paint doors and windows
  • Pre-book large maintenance for your tenant’s holiday
  • Re-treat outdoor wood, such as fence panels and posts
  • Check the structural soundness of boundary walls and fences
  • Give your finances an overhaul, looking at both the incomings and outgoings.
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