Preparing a Property for New Tenants

Just after the completion of your new bike to let property, your first task will be to make it ready for your tenants. Depending upon where the negotiated to also purchase the furniture from the seller, you may need to furnish the property. Many landlords choose to let out of property and furnished or partly let. However younger and single tenants only have a minimal amount of furniture and would expect beds, cabinets, tables, chairs and kitchen appliances to be provided at a minimum. So think about who you are going to market your buy to let property for. Providing a fully furnished rental property allows you to charge slightly more on the rent. While it is empty a few days, it is an ideal opportunity to decorate and plan the interior look and feel of the property. Many properties that were previously residential dwellings, are likely to have highly personal decorative of tastes (in terms of wall colours, carpets and curtains). So now is the time to spruce up the interior with neutral colours that can be applied throughout, particularly the kitchen and bathroom.

If you are a first-time landlord, you should expect that any furniture you do decide to purchase for your new rental property, will eventually suffer wearing tear. Constant use by your tenants will inevitably cause accidental chips, blocks, smears, breaks, spills and so on. Even if you choose to let the property unfurnished, it is still sensible to provide the very basics, such as a fridge/ freezer, cooker, washing machine, carpets and curtains. Otherwise prospective tenants are likely to be the to be put off during letting agent viewings, as many tenants don't want to incur the cost and hassle of buying their own furniture ( particularly in its large and cumbersome and difficult to transport in future).

If you market your property is a fully furnished rental, your tenant can move in completely empty handed, and yet still have everything they need to live in comfort and convenience. In practice, you will probably need to think about what items of furniture your ideal tenant is likely to expect, want and need. If you're going to kit out a whole house, you should remember that there are usually lead times for kitchen and bathroom deliveries. So you may need to start ordering the larger white goods and kitchen units well before the completion date, in order to avoid any unnecessary rental voids.

It doesn't take much time to decorate an empty house. But remember you should never alienate one particular tenant market by inflicting your own personal taste (regarding interior design and colour). Most tenants expect quality decoration and furnishings due to the wide choice of butter properties on the market. It can make an enormous difference to the tenants property if they see it as being well decorated and looked after. In general terms you should try and go for clean, neutral and simple colors throughout. The most important rooms are the lounge, kitchen and bathroom. don't be afraid to go for ordinary beige or magnolia. It will mean that when you come to repaint house in a few years time, you can easily access the same colours from your local DIY store.

You'll need to make sure that the general condition of your new buy to let property is first class, before you start viewings for prospective tenants. You will want to attract the most tidiest and the fussy tenants, when it comes to keeping the house neat and tidy and clean. So make sure the property is clean and tidy before the viewings. Cleanliness is essential; vacum and dust everywhere and tidy loose objects away. Make sure all light bulbs work, as it can be embarrassing showing tenants around in the dark. First impressions really do count so very little cost you could even put some fresh flowers out. Empty properties collect dust quickly so it's a good idea to wash window frames down. Chuck out any junk mail for tenants come for the viewing. Lastly make sure that there is adequate security by providing window locks on every window, a strong bolt, burglar alarm and a security light.

Any building work you need to do, prior to tenants moving in, will inevitably mean that the property will become empty for extended period of time. You'll need to check with your buy to let insurance company, to understand if there are any warranties or conditions placed upon you to check up on property at regular intervals. The biggest risk is that a personal leaking pipe continues to cause water damage until such time as someone visits the empty property to mend the leaking pipe. Most landlord insurance companies will also want to know about any structural changes you make to the building itself. You may need to get a revaluation of the buildings sum insured if you are planning to do major works (such as a loft conversion).

Before you can even market your new buy to let property, you must first agree a rental value with your letting agent. to make sure you are realistic in your assumptions you should investigate the going rate for similar properties in the area, to the one you have purchased. As part of the property buying process you should be tracking the rental values over a period of two months and make sure you are confident in the stability of the area. The rent you will be able to charge is based largely upon the property location. one of the biggest unexpected cost of servicing a buy to let mortgage, during periods of rental voids. Don�t be a greedy landlord in setting your rent too high. It is usually better to have a a more reasonable rent (with fewer rental void periods) than to suffer void periods.

If you plan to use a letting agent to manage your property, try to use a letting agent that is a member of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). You will need to sign a landlord agreement with a letting agent. Alternatively, you may adopt to save around 15% of your monthly rent managing the let yourself. It�s a simple balance of hassle/ time versus money. One of letting agents biggest strengths is that they have a steady stream of prospective tenants at their window or in their office. They will have professional processes to vet and process these prospective tenants quickly. To advertise and vet prospective tenants yourself wastes time � which costs you money.

Before you show a prospective tenant your property, think about your safety. Always tell someone exactly where you are going, the details of who you are meeting, what time you will be leaving and returning; and any contact telephone numbers. Be organised enough to know the approximate costs of Council Tax, Water, Sewage, Gas and Electricity, if the prospect happens to ask. If a prospective tenant wants to let your new property right away, ask for a non-refundable Holding Deposit (which will eventually be deducted from their initial rent) of say �100. Be prepared with a form for them to complete either on the spot or post back to you, requesting their personal details to initiate the tenant referencing processes.

If references appear OK, and you are not using an agent, you should collect the rental deposit yourself from the tenant (usually one and a half times monthly rent), plus one months rent in advance. At the same time the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST) Is signed. It is important to personalise your own AST to ensure it protects your interests. Any additional clauses must be fair under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. Make sure your tenancy agreement is sent away to the Stamp Office with your stamp duty so that it is legally valid.

It is essential that a detailed inventory process take place before the tenancy begins. An inventory is an accurate written description of your property and its contents, providing evidence in the event of a future dispute regarding the property and/or its contents. An inventory will protect you and the tenant from disputes, as it is a document you both sign up and agree to, before the tenancy begins.

When you finally hand over the keys make sure you have one set, the agent has one set (if you are using an agent) and the tenants have two sets (including any other keys for the windows, padlocks, alarm, garages etc). Personal touches and first impressions really do count� If you cannot personally Welcome Your Tenant to their new home, leave a note or card; detail utility companies telephone numbers as well as local information on restaurants, take-away, bus and train timetables, maps, local emergency telephone numbers etc.