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7 Steps to Becoming a Residential landlord in Chester

There are a number of reasons people become residential landlords. Often, it’s because someone wants to do more with their savings and sees property as a sound investment with a regular income. It might also be that a person becomes an accidental landlord after inheriting a property or moving into a house with a partner.

Here are seven things to think about when becoming a landlord.

1. Set-up costs

Finances matter, the numbers have to stack up. If you’re going to obtain a buy-to-let mortgage, the lender needs to know about your income, and what rent you hope to achieve. They have to ensure that you can cover the costs. You’ll probably have to pay for surveys too so they can be sure the house is worth what you think it is. Then there are the legal fees and the search costs. Many law firms who specialise in conveyancing will be able to give you an early indication of what your final bill will be.

2. DIY or use a lettings agency

You could manage the property yourself, and many do as it helps to reduce costs, but you should decide what is best for you. Do you want to use a lettings agency to find you a tenant and arrange the initial agreements? You can then keep on top of things for yourself. Or would you rather hand over all the management to the agency? This will certainly reduce the pressures on you, but will come at a cost as the agency will take a fee for doing this.

3. Insurance

When you are renting out a property, you should obtain landlords insurance. This is because a home insurance policy will not cover you for what you need, and also because the right insurance will protect you, your property and your tenant. If you’re taking out a mortgage to buy the property, your lender will insist that you have insurance. The costs of insurance will vary depending on the level of cover, such as personal liability, contents cover and buildings cover, and loss of rent cover. Speak with an insurer or a broker and be absolutely clear about what you need.

4. Furnished or unfurnished

Whether you rent out a property that is fully furnished or unfurnished is a decision you need to make early on. If you’ve inherited a property, then it might well be an easy decision. If this is the case, you might find this suits a potential tenant, and you will be able to get a better monthly rent. If you rent out a property unfurnished, obviously it means you don’t need to buy things for it. Some potential tenants prefer this as they can put their own furniture in and make it their home. Don’t forget; it’s best practice to get an inventory carried out as this will affect your insurance policy and could minimise disputes at the end of an agreement.

5. Paperwork

One of the top tips for being a landlord is to be well organised and up to date with paperwork from the start. It may seem daunting having a lot of documents, but organisation is key. Not only will this ensure you don’t fall foul of any legal responsibilities, but it should also mean that if any disputes arise, you know straight away where things are. (It’s also particularly useful when you’re doing your accounts or checking information).

6. Legals & Responsibility

There are certain legal obligations and responsibilities that need to be understood. These are in addition to the tenancy agreement that you and your tenant should be signing. For example, before a property is let, you’ll need an up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate for it. A gas safety certificate is required for each gas appliance in the property, each home has to have smoke alarms and a carbon monoxide detector and any appliances or furniture must meet the required safety standards. There are also rules about a tenant’s deposit and how it is kept in a Government-approved scheme. If you need help with any of these, we can advise you.

7. Right to rent checks

A relatively new aspect of renting out a property is the need to carry out a Right to Rent check. A landlord must, by law, check whether a potential tenant has the legal right to rent a property in the UK. Failure to carry out the required checks could result in hefty fines so if you do need advice, then contact us and we will be delighted to help.

For expert property advice and becoming a landlord, contact our team of professionals at Urban Let on 01244886636 or email us info@urbanlet.co.uk.

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How to Prepare Your Property for Rent in Chester

Understanding how to prepare your property for rent is an important part of the process for landlords. Getting the preparation right can make all the difference if you want to find a tenant quickly.

Our extensive experience and knowledge of the property rental market in and around Chester will help you prepare your property for rent stress-free.

Remember, if you’re a landlord, we can help you market your property, and we can manage it too. Email us at info@urbanlet.co.uk or call 01244886636.

Make Sure Your Property is Clean

This sounds basic, but you need to give your property a good clean. From the carpets to the kitchen cupboards, and from the oven to the bathroom, go through the property and make sure the standards are high. You want the place looked after so you need to get it right at the start so that you attract the right type of tenant.

Top Tip You could do the work yourself and save money, but you might want to get the professionals in, particularly if the place is really in need of a deep clean.

Get Your Certificates in Order

As a landlord, you have legal responsibilities to the tenant. You will need to make sure the property has:

  • An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • A Gas Safety Certificate
  • An Electrical Installation Condition Report

These tests must be done by proficient professionals, registered with the regulatory bodies – failure to get these certificates means you could be fined.

Top Tip Ask around to see which qualified plumbers and electricians are recommended. They must be competent of course, but you also want tradespeople who will do an efficient job at the right price (particularly if they have to make necessary repairs).

The Devil is in the Detail

When you find a tenant, you hope they will stay in your property for a while. But, when they do move out, you want to be sure that they haven’t damaged or disposed of any of your items. The best approach is to use a professional to complete a full inventory of the property. This will save you time and money at the end of the tenancy.

Top Tip Put your mind at ease by taking photos of the interior and exterior of the property or recording a video on your phone. You’ll have a record of the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy.

Complete all Repairs

Carry out all repairs before a tenant moves in. Get the place decorated if need be. It will be someone elses home, but it’s your asset, so look after it.

Top Tip You should expect to make repairs as a result of wear and tear, but, if the repairs are required due to the result of a tenant’s actions, you can claim the money back from their deposit.

Put Insurance in Place

When letting your property in Chester, make sure it is insured properly. Cover the rebuild, and the contents if you are letting the property furnished. Speak with an insurance broker who specialises in landlords insurance. If your property has been empty, notify the insurer that someone is moving in as your policy may need to be changed.

Choose a Letting Agent

Top Tip Getting the paperwork in order is absolutely essential to the successful running of a property, whether it is a buy-to-let or a home you’ve inherited. Be organised and diarise when insurance needs to be renewed.

You’ll need to choose a lettings agent, but first you need to decide what you want them to do for you.

  • Is it just to market the property and find a tenant?
  • Do you want them to deal with right to rent and financial checks too?
  • Do you need them to manage the property for you too?

Top Tip Seek recommendations and look at online reviews on social media and Trustpilot to find the best letting agent in Chester.

Consider the Profitability
  • Do you know what the rental income will be?
  • Have you worked out the yield?
  • Have you got a mortgage on the rental property and need to make a certain amount?

These are all questions that need answers. You need to have done your homework on similar properties nearby and your expectations should be based on reality, and not on a rent you are dreaming about!

Top Tip Work with a lettings agent who knows the area, knows the market, and knows the right kind of tenant for the property.

Get your property up to scratch, and you’re more likely to attract the sort of tenant you want in your property. Being a landlord can be rewarding but there’s paperwork to get right and responsibilities too.

We are local lettings experts for Chester. Speak with as we can help you through the process of finding a tenant and managing your property. Email us at info@urbanlet.co.uk or call us on 01244886636.

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5 Ways Landlords Can Increase Their Rental Yield

You’ll probably know this already if you are a landlord, but if you don’t yet, you should get to know it – because rental yield is important!

But, what is rental yield and what do you, as a landlord in Chester need to know about it?

Put simply, rental yield is a way to measure the return on your investment. There is your gross yield and your net yield, which are both important, but take different things into account.

Let’s say you rent out a two-bedroom property in Chester for £850PCM.

As an example, if you originally purchased the property for £150,000 and you divide the annual rent (£10,200) by the amount you invested (£150,000) and times it by 100, you get a percentage, and that’s the gross yield. In this case 6.8%.

Gross yield is a fairly basic figure but it gives you a good idea about what you’re getting back. However, there is also net yield. This is similar to gross, but you also take into account the additional costs you incur as a landlord, such as insurance, maintenance, solicitors, agents, mortgage, and so on.

This net yield is helpful because you can look at exactly how much it costs you to be a landlord and shows you where you could reduce costs to increase your yield.

Deciding what a good yield is might be different, but anything above about six or seven per cent is good.

Our team at Urban Let are adept at helping people make the most of being a landlord, and we have come up with a list of five ways landlords can increase their rental yield.

If you need more help or any clarification, simply get in touch with us on 01244886636 or email info@urbanlet.co.uk.

1. Review Rents Regularly

Here’s a simple way of helping to increase the rental yield. At the appropriate time, look at the rental income on a property – can it be raised to be more in line with the going rate? Make sure you keep within your contractual agreements, though and remember that while a rental increase may be right for you, if a tenant has been with you for many years and has caused you no issues, do you want to upset the applecart?

2. Review Your Outgoings

Let’s look at what you are spending on your property. Do you automatically renew your insurance, or is there a more competitive alternative on the market? If you use a plumber, are their costs expensive, or can someone do the same job for a lower price?

Keep on top of your outgoings, and set reminders to look at alternatives when the time comes. Being a landlord is a business, so treat it as such.

3. Check Your Mortgage Renewal

You may have a buy-to-let mortgage for your property, but is it still the right one? Many different products are being brought to market, so when you’ve come to an appropriate point in your mortgage agreement, have a look around.

Always be mindful about switching. Keep an eye on the media for different products and even though it might not be the right time immediately, make a note so that you can go back to it when you are ready.

4. Invest Wisely

When you are thinking about becoming a landlord, do your homework. Look at where to spend your money, but also at the type of property. Do you want a newer property with less maintenance, or do you want an older place with the risk more could go wrong?

If you have a plan and it works, don’t deviate. If you have a good yield because you’ve got a newer home, stick with the idea when looking at another buy to let.

5. Be a Better Landlord

You’re more likely to get a better yield if you have a great property and great tenants (and yes, both can be achievable). But, can you be a better landlord?

  • Do you add quality fittings?
  • Do you respond quickly to issues?
  • Do you get things fixed promptly?

By being a great landlord, you’re more likely to attract great tenants and be able to justify higher rents.

You assess a house and a tenant – why not assess yourself and see how you could be a better landlord. It makes business sense.

Having the right tenant in your property is more likely to help with yields. If they look after the house, your costs are likely to be lower.

Of course, for total efficiency, we suggest you consider using a lettings agent to help manage your property portfolio. A full expert property management service will help you make the most of being a landlord.

If you need advice about becoming a landlord, or if you are a landlord and need some support, call us on 01244886636 or email info@urbanlet.co.uk to chat with a member of our friendly and experienced team.