Tips for Landlords: The Do’s and Dont’s of Letting

Would you rent from this man?

Living and renting in Dublin city centre over the years I have repeatedly come across s variety of common mistakes made by landlords when looking to let properties. The first in a series of posts, I have listed below some general tips for landlords. These insights are based on positive and negative experiences so I hope they will be of help.

1) The Right Letting & Management Agent: Take the time to research and select a letting agent you have confidence in, you are relying on these individuals to not only find you a tenant but also act as a first (and on-going) point of contact so they must be knowledgeable, proactive and accessible. Trust me, potential tenants will be scared off by an agent they don’t feel they cant trust. I once met an agent who didn’t know if the property I was viewing had parking, to mention just one issue. It was a short viewing.

2) Valuation – €€€: Agents should be able to give you a realistic rental income to put on the property but if you are managing the letting yourself be realistic in your valuation. Be sure to research similar properties in the area as they are your competition. Potential tenants may not share your valuation and its ultimately their opinion that counts.

3) BER: It is a legal requirement to have a BER certificate and its something that is becoming ever more important to tenants. If your property has a low rating, see what you can do to improve energy efficiency. Simple and relatively inexpensive, basic upgrades can increase the rental value.

4) Décor and Clutter: If you are putting a property on the rental market, give potential tenants a clean and comfortable interior. While they wont be painting or decorating, chances are they will want to make it their own to some degree, whether its a couple of pictures, rugs or cushions. Therefore keep the décor simple, neutral and bright. I have seen too many dated properties plastered in leopard print, floral patterns and looking like something from Fawlty Towers. I have also viewed properties which are essentially dumping grounds for landlords. Storage space is a selling point and is there for the tenant not the landlord. If you don’t want something, bin it.

5) Appliances & Furnishings – Make them work!: Providing tenants with good reliable appliances will make a huge difference. You don’t have to spend a fortune but providing modern appliances can set your property apart, increase the rental value and give a tenant a sense of reassurance in the long-term. On this point, all furnishings and plumbing should also be up to scratch. Again, have a look at other properties you are competing against to see what they offer.

6) Promotion: If you are managing the property yourself, you need to ensure you promote it properly. and are typically the first port of call for all potential tenants so you need to spend time to ensure your property is presented as best as possible. See below a couple of general points.

  • Images: Provide plenty of bright hi-res images of all the rooms showing the space and facilities. An obvious point, but its incredible how many landlords fail in this area. If you don’t post photos you aren’t selling the property and it can suggest that you are trying to hide something.
  • Description: You are essentially pitching the property so you need to be as descriptive as possible. Local amenities, transport links etc. need to be detailed.
  • The viewing: This is where you seal the deal. A potential tenant will know if they want the property very quickly so make every effort to accommodate them. First impressions are vital so ensure the place is spotless and welcoming, and try to accommodate the viewers schedule. If you want to get a working professional (or couple) to rent your property be prepared to meet them after hours or during the weekend. Don’t make the mistake of offering them 15 minutes to view the property at 5:45 when they are stressed and under pressure.

That’s it. Whatever you decide to do, ensure you are open, accommodating and flexible. The rental market is slowly improving but tenants are still the customer. The best businesses are the ones that can retain customers long-term so remember to work for them and be prepared to go the extra yard. It will be worth it.

Next up – What to look for when renting

Comments, questions etc. to @dbkinch

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