Lines of communication. A good landlord is one who their tenants feel they can talk to freely so it is imperative that you develop, and then maintain, good lines of communication. This means that any problems can be easily and swiftly dealt with, saving you not only time but money. In addition it also means that any disputes can be minimised. Simply being ‘contactable’ can allay any of your tenants’ worries and can put their minds at ease, leaving the communication lines easily open for when / if anything unfortunate does arrive. The same can be said for communication with your agent – make this a three way relationship and every party will not only be satisfied but will also have confidence in you and your decisions.
Yearly Check Up One of the most important jobs as a landlord should be to schedule a yearly check-up (try to schedule it for the same time each year so you get in to the ‘habit’ of carrying it out) Take a checklist and make this a thorough check up of the entire property. Check the roofing, guttering, windows, doors, boiler, electrical appliances and any general issues. If you carry out the check up with your tenant present you can not only get their feedback in to problems you might otherwise miss, but you can also make sure that they are happy with the current condition of the property, again allaying any future problems or disputes.
Freshen and Update If you want to keep your tenants and additionally make sure your property is ‘on top’ in the market place, ensure it doesn’t become ‘stale’. This can be done as easily as giving a yearly lick of paint and deep cleaning any carpets. It may sound boring to you, but a clean white pallet will be cost effective and more importantly provide a blank canvas. This will appeal to a wider tenant market (who can add their own style with non-permanent accessories) and keep the property modern and fresh.
Future Plans. Throughout all the above, make sure you keep at the forefront of your mind that your property is your ‘investment’ Have a clear, written plan for your ‘business’ as, after all, this is just what it is. Treat it like one. Ask yourself, what are your long term plans? Where do you want to be in ten years in regards to this property? Use this information to source your tenants. For example, if you plan on keeping your property for your ‘retirement fund’, a short term tenant of 6 months is going to provide you less security than a longer term tenant willing to reside in your property for the foreseeable future.
These top tips will ,when used together, ensure your tenants are happy and in turn, keep your investment healthy. However, life (and other business) can easily ‘get in the way’ of these simple tasks. If you’re finding that is the case, don’t forget you have helping hand – your agent. Use them! After all, they are the experts in this field and their knowledge is invaluable.