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How to improve your buy-to-let

Published by on October 20, 2020

Are you looking to invest in property and become a landlord? Purchasing a property for the first time can be overwhelming and knowing how to make it over for potential tenants can be more daunting. Government schemes are available to help you buy to let and Heat Insulation is on hand to help ensure you meet your energy performance requirements.

What is a buy-to-let mortgage?

Buy-to-let mortgages are available for people that are looking to purchase property, specifically for the purpose of renting it out. Typically, mortgage providers will view this type of mortgage as a higher risk, as landlords will often encounter issues with rent collection and constant occupation. This means you will need to pay a bigger deposit than usual and will most commonly be given an interest-only mortgage.

How do I improve my buy-to-let property?

Taking the time and effort to make changes to your buy-to-let property can help you in the long run, even if it means putting in some hard work initially.

Here are our best tips to get you started!

Pocket watch infront of propertyMake the time

Most first-time landlords do not appreciate the renovations and makeovers that are needed to increase your property’s appeal. From adding an extra bedroom to putting in new bathrooms to fixing cosmetic issues like painting walls, these changes take time and leave the property vacant. A vacant property means making a financial loss. First-time landlords, therefore, need to create a realistic plan for the changes they are going to make and ensure they stick to it to get tenants in the door as soon as possible.

Appeal to the masses

When you have finally got your hands on the property you are going to rent out, make improvements with your tenants in mind. Put your own tastes to one side and think carefully about what most tenants want out of the space. Typically, short term rental agreements mean that tenants cannot paint the walls and decorate themselves, so keep aesthetic of the home neutral so they can add their own personalised touches with accessories.Grey living room

Further, think about the durability of the changes you are making. Whilst light floors and walls create an airy space and make rooms feel larger than they are, wear and tear can appear more easily. Greys and browns can be much more forgiving and hide marks more easily.

This can also apply to bathrooms. Whilst pristine white bathrooms can create a luxurious spa-like experience, marks can quickly appear and build up over time. Further, think carefully about the materials you use – cracked tiles can be expensive to replace but some paints can bubble in damp environments.

Keep it cosy and insulated

Cosy living room sofa cushions

Tenants want to have cosy and warm rooms where they can make a real home, so having damp and cold environments are likely to put potential tenants off from choosing your property. Damp is a common problem for tenants that can cause serious health risks over time. For most types of damp, it will be your responsibility as the landlord to correct these issues so it is important to tackle causes of damp from the beginning.

Before you let out to tenants, take the time to properly insulate your property and invest in draught-proofing. Common areas that need insulation include cavity walls and lofts. As well as preventing damp, insulating your property can help to improve energy performance and reduce energy costs. This is a particular benefit if you are letting the property out with bills included, as opposed to requiring the tenant to pay their own bills separately, as this will directly save you money!

Find out more about landlord energy performance certificate obligations.

Think outside the box

Paved garden and plants

Gardens are commonly an underutilised space in rental properties, with most landlords focusing on the inside of the main four walls. By making the most of the additional space, you can attract more tenants to your property.

If your property has an outside space, think carefully about how your target tenants will use the space and how you can appeal to them. For example, students are unlikely to tend to flower beds and keep on top of cutting the grass, instead, they are much more likely to appreciate a low maintenance garden where they can socialise in the summer months. In these circumstances, features such as artificial grass and seating are likely to grab their attention.

Whatever you decide to do with your outside space, make sure it is clear in your rental agreement who is responsible for the upkeep. If you leave it to your tenants, include clauses that ensure they complete the work to a high standard so your property’s outside value does depreciate. If you want to maintain the gardens, ensure your contract gives you access to the property on a regular basis.

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