When buying a property to let, time is of the essence. Every month spent on renovations is a month’s rent lost.
But it’s even more important not to skimp on the preparation, as the finished property needs to be safe, legal and warm… not to mention attractive to potential tenants.
The experts at Open Property Group are long-term investors and professional landlords with extensive experience of preparing homes for the rental market. They appreciate the need for creating profitable investments which people want to renDirector Jason Harris-Cohen says: “Our objective is to constantly improve our gross-to-net rent ratio and create homes for our tenants which they will respect and hopefully stay in for years to come.”
Jason has compiled his 10 top tips for preparing a property to let:
Install A-rated double-glazed windows which include trickle vents and request that tenants keep the trickle vents open at all times to improve air flow in the home. This can help reduce condensation.
Install quality taps and shower valves which benefit from a minimum of 10 years warranty. The upfront cost of the equipment is higher but it will save you In the long run as we all know you get what you pay for.
Install an A-rated gas boiler with a long warranty, ideally a minimum of 10 years from Ideal or a similar manufacturer.
Fit removable bath panels to baths so that plumbers can access the hot and cold feed and waste easily if you have any leaks or plumbing issues. Ensure that shower trays are watertight with no gaps where water can escape and cause leaks. Use quality mastic to waterproof the area.
Condensation dampness is more common than you may think, particularly in older homes, and during the winter months, many of us notice the problem more. One option is to install a Nuaire Drimaster unit which provides positive input ventilation costing an estimated £550. Read more about this here.
Install kitchen appliances which have a minimum of two-year warranty. Ideally I would suggest investing the extra money to benefit from a five-year warranty.
Paint the walls with washable paint so that they can be touched up when the walls are scratched or marked.
Fit LED light bulbs. Many LEDs have a rated life of up to 50,000 hours. This is approximately 50 times longer than a typical incandescent, 20-25 times longer than a typical halogen, and 8-10 times longer than a typical CFL. Used 12 hours a day, a 50,000 bulb will last more than 11 years, which saves you the hassle of having to change light bulbs when tenants complain about them failing.
Floors are the biggest victim of wear and tear in any property because they receive the most physical contact, and that’s why I always spend a little extra on thick and durable carpets that can withstand heavy treading and toxic carpet shampoos. Carpet retailers should be able to advise you on which particular carpets are suitable for BTL properties. Where I can, I use tiles on the floor.
There are mixed feelings towards laminate flooring. Some find them durable and long-lasting (which they can be) but, if they get wet or even moist, they expand, which can cause problems. This frequently happens in the winter due to the moisture in the air, but also because most people clean laminate flooring with a wet mop – a recipe for disaster.
Finally, ensure you have a local team of trades to assist when there are general wear and tear problems. The most common issues relate to plumbing, electrics, roofing repairs and damp/condensation.