Browsing all articles in Real Estate
Apr
10

Rental Properties For Investment Purposes

There are lots of different ways that you can make money without having to put hours and hours into something every day. That doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have to work on your project, but there are some that can be done up and then left to run on their own, at least for a little while. One way to do this is to invest in rental properties and become a landlord, though things do seem to pop up all of the time.

If you decide to commit to buying rental properties that you can overhaul and let out, you can realise a regular flow of rental income each month with little hassle after your initial period of renovation works.

Buying rental properties can be tricky, but you can usually find the right thing if you look around. Initially it is a good idea to just buy one if this is your first time. However, if you are confident in your buying strategy and can handle the works, then aside from finance, there isn’t a limit on how many you purchase at once. For the best investment, you want to find something in a decent neighbourhood that might need some work. You will get a ‘market happy’ price by adopting these strategies when buying rental properties, but you can put a little work and money into it and turn it into a perfect investment.

That means you can command a higher rent and get a return on your investment.

When buying good rental properties initial research is essential. Think of it as your road map to success – without it you will be literally ‘driving blind’. You can’t always tell what a neighbourhood is like just by driving through during the day. To make the best decisions about an area, try visiting at different times of the day. How do these times affect your property directly? Does the feel to the area change at night? Issues may arise that you hadn’t considered that could be detrimental to the rentability of your potential investment.

If you are looking into buying rental properties, and you notice a great house at a very low price, you have to wonder why that is. There could be a high crime rate in the area of interest, even though the look and feel of it would suggest otherwise, or even a very troublesome neighbour that has left the house unsold.

If you are new to buying rental properties, you should also know that you should always have someone look over the house for you no matter what you think of it. There could be problems with the foundation or other key areas that mean the house will be more of an investment than you first thought. Though estate agents are generally very honest about what is really wrong with a house,and its sale history you should always get your own person i.e.
a qualified Surveyor/ Structural Engineer to look over anything you are considering when you are buying rental properties.

Lettinglinks.com is a social networking site that connects landlords with tenants. If you are looking to rent out your property then visit the main site and create your account in seconds. The site is 100% FREE to use.
Gain access to thousands of UK registered tenants NOW!

Dec
4

How Landlords Can Avoid Gumtree’s Advertising Fees

No one is sure what happened or why, but earlier this year it was announced that Gumtree, the classified website owned by eBay was going to be charging for their once free service. Gumtree was a place that landlords could post free adverts for vacant rental properties and find tenants quickly and easily. It was a very effective site – and free!

 

The way Gumtree used to work was that landlords could post as many adverts for free. So if a landlord had several properties, he/she could post as many as necessary without it costing a fortune. They would list their properties from newest to oldest. If a landlord wanted his listing to be visible at the top of search results, he’d have to “bump” his listing frequently in order to be put back at the top.

 

“Bumping” used to be a simple case of logging in and resubmitting your advert. This would automatically push your ad to the top because it would tell Gumtree that the property was still available. The ‘bump’ feature was absolutely necessary, especially in high volume areas such as London, where there were hundreds of vacant properties added daily. It wouldn’t take long before your advert would sink to the bottom and within a couple of hours be completely out of sight. Without being able to ‘bump’ the advert it would become completely useless.

 

The old pricing structure was wonderful, which is why Gumtree received so much praise from many landlords through the blogs.

 

But as is the case with many free listing sites, the word ‘free’ only remains for so long before the powers that be deem it necessary to charge the very people that make the site ‘valuable’ to use their service, you!

 

The result…Gumtree now charges £9.95 per ad (you get your first 2 ads free) and for unlimited ads they charge a fee of £42 per month. In addition Gumtree also has used this opportunity to revoke the free ‘bump’ feature! This is now chargeable at £2 per day outside of London and £7.14 per day in London, which would amount to £49.98 per week if you decided to do it every day; which you will probably need to do if you want your advert to be read at all!

 

Now having said all of this, one might start to wonder ‘how does Gumtree monitor and figure out how to limit Landlords to 2 free adverts per year?’ Since landlords didn’t have to register in order to post an advert it didn’t seem technically possible to restrict the free usage so a little research was in order. From the research carried out it would seem that the way Gumtree keeps track of usage is through email addresses.

 

Anyone with multiple email addresses (and if you don’t they’re certainly easy to obtain) could get many adverts posted for free. It’s also possible to use this system to avoid the costs of ‘bumping’, since all you would need to do is delete the ad, and re-enter under a new email – for FREE.

 

So now we have shared that golden nugget of information with you, our loyal readers, before you run off and begin posting free property adverts on Gumtree once more, we would like to ask you to consider this…

 

Aside from its mass traffic generation ability, historically, Gumtree’s unique selling point to landlords was to provide a service by which they could market their properties to a huge audience at no cost. A fantastic, no-brainer service if it’s free, but now it isn’t one should question what they are actually getting for their money.

 

Ok, we have shown you a way to make the service essentially free for you to use again, but is Gumtree really providing a good service for the average Landlord?

 

There are several reasons to consider but one that stands out like a sore thumb is Gumtree’s primitive search feature. It is hard to search for properties of interest at the best of times on the site, but with all the extra work involved in keeping the service free, is it really worth it?

 

There are other options that will be cheaper and easier with less time consumption that would be well worth looking into. User-friendly portal Letting Links is free to use and is growing in popularity everyday. With the sites unique ability to match tenants with properties and vice versa based on their requirements, could there be a simpler, more effective way to rent your property out?

 

If you rely on finding quality tenants online then Letting Links is just the ticket you’re looking for! Check us out to find out how we can save you money and get you in touch with the right tenants.

Nov
16

Viewing Properties Checklist

So you’ve narrowed down your search for that perfect rental unit and you’ve made the appointments to view the properties. Now you want to put together a checklist so that you don’t forget anything – and the following should help.

–      Are there bills included in the rental unit? Most likely not if it’s a self-contained property, but you won’t know unless you ask

–      Will the property be cleaned prior to move in? Will this include the cooker, the toilet, and windows? Is it possible to get the carpets shampooed?

–      How secure is the property? Does the alarm system work and are there locks on the doors and windows?

–      When looking around take note of the things you may need and if the property comes furnished you might be able to negotiate the additional pieces into the agreement.

–      Are all of your appliance needs met? Does the property have a cooker, fridge/freezer, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer?

–      If there’s a shower check to see what the water pressure is like – you wouldn’t want to get a surprise once you move in.

–      Take a good look around and make notes of any repairs that need to be made and check to be sure the landlord intends on having them repaired prior to your arrival.

–      Be aware of any outside noises such as traffic, train lines, shops or pubs. You might want to check it out at different times of the day in order to be sure you can live with it and get the sleep you require.

–      Check out the parking situation. If there isn’t a designated spot for you and you need to park on the street, it for residents only and will you be able to get a permit?

–      What is the Council tax band and how much was the current year’s cost?

–      If there’s a garden, do you have access and is it private or do you have to share it with other tenants? Are you responsible for maintaining the garden?

–      What is the source of heat, gas or electric? If there’s gas in the unit the landlord should be able to provide a gas safety certificate.

–      How much do you need to come up with to cover the security deposit and which deposit scheme does the landlord use.

These items should help in reminding you which questions you need to ask which will in turn assist you in your decision if there is more than one property that you think you’re interested in. Comparing ‘apples to apples’ is always the best plan of action so having a Viewing Properties Checklist would be a good idea.

Nov
11
Nov
5

How To Rent a Property – The Tenant’s Guide

 

How To Rent a PropertyThe rental business is fast and finding the right letting agent or landlord is very important to assist in the process and sometimes using a property portal like Lettinglinks.com can help a great deal. Letting Links is trying to make the process of connecting tenants, landlords and/or agents smooth and painless.

Once you’ve made a connection with an agent, make sure they know exactly what it is you’re looking for in a property, including your budget, location and length of the term. Make sure he is aware of how serious you are so that he’s bound to put you at the top of the list when appropriate properties become available. It’s also very helpful if you can give specific feedback to the agent after each viewing so he’ll know when he’s on the right track and when he’s off base.

Letting agents will generally ask for an administration fee of between £25 and £150, as well as a deposit of around £50 to £200. This deposit will be used towards your first month’s rent unless you pull out of the deal in which case you would likely lose it all. For this reason you should ensure you have a reputable letting agent so you can be comfortable with handing over your money. You should also ask the age of the property and if it’s looking a little on the tired side, find out how long it’s been on the market – you may just be able to make a deal.

So now you’ve found the property you want to live in – now comes the signing of the tenancy agreement. This is a legally binding document and should be treated with respect and serious consideration. It will have a lot of information such as: party’s names, the address of the property, the term, how much rent is expected and when and what percentage of an increase can be expected, the responsibilities of both parties, information about the inventory, the deposit scheme and the notice period that either you or the landlord must give in order to end the tenancy.

Of course your new potential landlord will want to make sure you are a suitable tenant which means you will likely need to provide references such as previous landlords, bank reference, employment and possibly a credit check.

Generally you will be asked to pay a deposit which could be anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks’ worth of rent in order to safe guard your landlord should there be damage done to his property while you are living there. Since there are several discrepancies when it comes to what is wear and tear or what is damage, you need to have an accurate list of inventory and the condition of the property prior to signing an agreement. In April 2007 the Tenancy Deposit Protection was introduced to apply to all properties being let in England and Wales. This protection will help if there are any disputes between landlords and tenants. Also each deposit is to be held in one of three approved Tenancy Deposit Schemes.

The inventory that was mentioned is one of the most important documents that you will receive at the beginning of the tenancy. It takes careful notice of the condition of each room, the interior and exterior of the property and anything that is included in the rental such as a fridge, cookery, air conditioner or furniture if applicable. The difference between the inventor taken at the beginning of the tenancy and the end of the tenancy will determine how much of your deposit you will get back.

The most important form of course is the Tenancy Agreement and the most common is the Assured Shorthold Tenancies Agreement. The agreement outlines the responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant, but the most important aspect is the right of the landlord to repossess the property at the end of the tenancy. If all parties are happy the term does not have to be short, however if the term is more than 3 years a solicitor must draw up a deed.

Although it is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure the safety of the property and any appliances that are included, it is your responsibility to make sure that the landlord has secured the proper certificates so that your safety is never in question.

As we stated at the beginning finding the right landlord and/or letting agent is the key to a successful rental and we hope you can find that connection by looking into Letting Links. Don’t let the process give you too much pressure – just be diligent and careful so you can feel comfortable with your choices.

Lettinglinks.com is a social networking site that connects landlords with tenants. If you are interested in letting a property then visit the main site and create your account in seconds. The site is 100% FREE to use. Gain access to thousands of UK registered landlords and their properties NOW! 

Nov
3

Letting a House – A Landlord’s Guide

Letting a House

So you’ve decided to enter into the world of property letting? Before you rush off to advertise for that first tenant there are several things you should consider and do prior to that step. As with anything worthwhile it’s worth doing well, so you’ll want to remember that first impressions are everything. Take a close look at your property and see if there’s anything you could do to make your property more appealing, both internally and externally.

Haul away some garbage or tidy up the gardens, maybe throw a little paint on some unsightly walls so that the property looks its best. The same principles apply to letting a property as it does to someone who is trying to sell a property, so you’ll need to maintain this condition throughout the letting process.

There are also several safety standards you’ll most definitely need to follow and make sure that you comply with before letting the property. Some of these safety standards are; Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, as amended 1993 and Smoke Detectors Act 1991 Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994.

As the landlord you are expected to be able to produce certificates for all of these to show compliance, where applicable. You should also look into obtaining a Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) for any electrical appliance that you plan on including in your rental unit. If you happen to have furniture that was made prior to 1988, you should seriously consider replacing it as the furniture will not meet the necessary standards. You should include any item that has upholstery or material such as beds, mattresses, cushions, headboards or sofa beds.

The following are items that are exempt from this legislation:

Sleeping bags, duvets, blankets, carpets and curtains and any furniture made before 1950.

There are severe consequences – from heavy fines to prison sentences – for non-compliance if an accident were to happen, so it is in your best interest to be aware of the standards and how to check that your possessions are up to par.

This goes hand in hand with making sure you are also in compliance with the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that has been required since October 2008. Energy efficiency is not only required by law these days but as our earth is in need of our help, it is the duty of each citizen to do our best to improve the carbon emissions and the way in which we leave our foot prints behind.

Landlords should contact their local authorities if the property you are about to let is within the House in Multiple  Occupation (HMO) leasing, as there are specific standards for this type of housing that you will need to comply with.

Other items you will need to make sure you have are; an agreed inventory which will be included in the tenancy agreement; permission from your lender (if you have a mortgage); advise your insurance company what items you intend to include in your insurance policy and what items will be the responsibility of the tenant.

Ever since April 6 2007, landlords who accept a deposit on the property must ensure that the deposit is held by an authorised deposit scheme. This protects the deposit and helps deal with disputes quickly. As landlord you must inform the tenant within 14 days of receiving the deposit which scheme you are using and giving the tenant all of the pertinent information.

At this point you’ll want to decide whether to manage the property yourself or hire a letting agent to manage the day to day operations of the building, including finding the right tenant(s), handling the viewings and paperwork, and assist in working out the appropriate rent to charge for your specific location. Having an agent certainly lessens the worry and allows you to pursue other interests. The letting agent will also handle the marketing of your property since he will likely be experienced in this area. You will need to sign an agreement with this agent so make sure you read your contract carefully and don’t go into a lengthy term. Here at Letting Links we can help find that suitable letting agent or for that matter, an appropriate tenant.

And lastly, here are a few items that you should consider as your checklist: Get permission from your lending source; if you plan on making structural changes to the property, get approval from the council’s planning office; get in touch with the Environmental Health Department (if you have a HMO); get all of your safety certificates in order and include having the wiring checked out by a licensed electrician; inform Council Tax department and utility suppliers that you plan on letting the property.

Although it sounds extensive, it will prove to be worthwhile in the end. Now that all of the hard work has been done you can sit back and enjoy the experience of being a landlord. And welcome to the world of property letting! Contact us at Letting Links if you need any assistance along your journey!

Lettinglinks.com is a social networking site that connects landlords with tenants. If you are looking to rent out your property then visit the main site and create your account in seconds. The site is 100% FREE to use. Gain access to thousands of UK registered tenants NOW!

 

 

Nov
3

The Evolution of Property Portals

Over the past several years the Property Portals market has been changing and evolving in the attempts to please all parties involved in the letting business. The market gets flooded with many players but several only last a short period of time, mainly because they’re unable to keep their promises which leave only the major players in the game.

The biggest contributor to the evolution is the internet and the web companies that have made their voices known. Keeping up with the ever changing trends is never an easy process so the successful businesses are required to be pro-active instead of re-active. It’s vital to introduce new products and unique ideas that will benefit letting agents, landlords and tenants alike. The old adage of “if you’re not moving forward, or just standing still, then you might as well be moving backwards”, has never been more relevant than it is to the property portals market.

If you can’t attract new customers on a consistent basis you’re never going to stay in business for very long. The best idea so far has been for the property portals to have a limited number of letting agents on board – hopefully you’ll find fast reactive agents that will keep your business ahead of the rest of the field. With over 11,000 registered letting agents, all of whom are paying large sums of money for registration, it’s not surprising that some of the less than dynamic agents start to struggle, their income decreases and they’re left with a large business loss.

The main idea behind the property portals is to first drive site traffic which will then provide the searching users with the information they’re looking for, which will then provide leads for the letting agent. If all of this occurs in a proper manner, everyone will be happy and the letting agents business will continue its growth. Letting Links is such a property portals that are here to help connect prospective tenants with letting agents and landlords.

By listening to the letting agents and to the tenants in order to address any additional questions, concerns or problems, the web business or property portal will continue to evolve and thrive into very successful online businesses.

Sep
19

Tenancy Agreements — Know Your Rights

When first moving into a new flat or rental unit, the excitement can be over-whelming. While this is always a good sign, it is always important to know and remember your rights as a tenant, should you need to exercise them in the event of a problem during the letting period. Likewise, as a landlord it is equally important to know and understand what the rights of both you and your tenants, should there be an issue down the road.

Insurance is the first right both the tenant and the landlord share equally. On the landlord side, maintaining adequate insurance on the rental property is the utmost important way to secure your investment, in the event of an accident. This means, while the tenant is living there, should a fire, flood arson etc. happen, your physical home is covered. Always check with an insurance agent about proper coverage for your unit. A tenant should always secure insurance on a rental property prior to moving in, for the same reasons. Should there be an accident or incident in the home, many times a landlords insurance will not cover your own private property (think you bed,television, computer or kitchen appliances.)

Rental upkeep is yet another common right both landlords and tenants share equally. In the event of repairs being needed on the rental unit, it is the landlords responsibility to make sure they are made in an orderly and prompt fashion. In order to notify the owner of such needed repairs, they are expected to provide accurate and current contact information to the tenant.

As a property owner, you have the right to ensure your property is being treated properly (not damaged or used for malicious purposes) and as such, you are entitled to enter the property after giving the tenant 24 hours notice.

In regards to monetary amounts, a landlord must put the rental deposit in trust immediately after approving the lease (see rental deposits for more information) and ensure the amount is returned promptly within 30 days of the lease being terminated. In the event of needed repairs, property owners need to justify withholding any monies from the tenant. Likewise, a landlord also has the right to collect any past due rent or arrears from the tenant. A landlord may visit their tenant at any time to request the amounts in full.

Subject to not receiving any compensation, a landlord also has the right to remove any tenant from their property (only following proper legal actions.)

Knowing and respecting tenancy rights is both a landlord and tenants responsibility meant to be shared equally. Knowing these rights can save hours of frustration down the road, should a problem arise.

Sep
13

How to take Photos That Sell Your Property

Taking pictures of your property rental in preparation for letting out your property may seem like a no brainer. However, the truth of the matter is, unless your photos are done in such a manner that highlights the attributes and focuses on the positives, you may actually cause your property some “damage” in terms of the tenant’s opinion on the property.

Before you begin taking photographs of the rental unit, it is important to consider the type of family or tenants that would probably want to let the unit. The type of property rental will obviously influence the type of tenant but keep in mind the general surroundings and the location of the property too. If your property rental for instance were in a more mature area, with plenty of activities for the elderly population, your ideal tenant would be a senior citizen.
Likewise, a property rental near a school district would probably consider having a family let out the home.

Once your family has been determined, it is important to zone in on areas of the home they would probably spend the most time. A photograph of the outside of the home is one of the easiest ways to sell or hinder the appearance of the property rental.

Aim for a day that is sunny (ideally in springtime with new buds and flowers)
when the sky is clear. Pictures with dreary appearances, often give off an
unsettling image to tenants despite it only being the weather. Make sure the
garbage is clear, the lawn is tidy and the drive is free of dirt or weeds.

Photograph the rental home centrally, making sure to get a clear shot of any detailing or unique benefits the property has (for instance, bay window projections you may wish to photograph the property rental just off centre to show depth) As you make your way through the rental home, focus on areas the tenant will spend the most time. Places like front foyers, living spaces, bathrooms and kitchens are sure-fire ways to capture attention. Again, make sure the rooms are tidy, well kept, and if furnished, organised. A messy room gives a bad impression. Note any imperfections in the room that you may want to angle away from (for instance a scuff in the floor) that a tenant could live with, but may not want to see in a photo.

Try to keep your photographs lit with the room lighting, ideally taking shots from the entrance to the room. This angle will generally give potential tenants a better idea of the room layout, and a more honest perspective as to the sizing of the rooms too.

After you’ve taken your pictures, ask a friend or two to look at them. Generally, having another perspective of your “showing material” will give you a more honest outlook on the rental property or point out any flaw you may have overseen – saving you the frustration of tenants passing over your rental
property
, instead of asking to see it.

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