Just starting out - tips welcome!

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  • Just starting out - tips welcome!

    Will very soon be renting out a small house. Never done this before and obviously want to do it properly. Choosing to DIY rather than having an agent and would welcome any tips people would like to offer.

    The house is nicely decorated, spotlessly clean and easy to maintain, as is the garden.

    It has curtains & carpets and a built in cooker and we thought it would be good to install a fridge and washer/dryer as well. There is also a smoke alarm.

    We need to decide on a rental price and then we will advertise it locally and pray that we find a nice single person or married couple. It is only 1 bedroom.

    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    Originally posted by Twohoots View Post
    Will very soon be renting out a small house. Never done this before and obviously want to do it properly. Choosing to DIY rather than having an agent and would welcome any tips people would like to offer.

    The house is nicely decorated, spotlessly clean and easy to maintain, as is the garden.

    It has curtains & carpets and a built in cooker and we thought it would be good to install a fridge and washer/dryer as well. There is also a smoke alarm.

    We need to decide on a rental price and then we will advertise it locally and pray that we find a nice single person or married couple. It is only 1 bedroom.

    Thanks in advance
    This thead may be of interest/use to you:
    http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...hlight=plunger
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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    • #3
      Yes, to fire alarm and cooker as these are the basics.

      Fridge/Washing maching and Dryer depending on market. As if in the house you have to repair/replace it if goes wrong. If it a midweek or weekend market then yes otherwise, my view no. I also have curtains up when people viewing, but they always have they own or buy new ones(Maybe it's my taste)

      Before

      landlord gas safety cert(If any gas in house)
      Engency performance cert.
      Electric Cert(Specially if you have done any new electrical works)
      Have you got yourself a Sample AST and know what in it.
      Are pets allowed?
      Are kids allowed?

      While finding a tennant
      Have you worked out how you going to do your referances, Credit Referances.
      Are you going to take DSS(As you will get a lot of these people, if not,make clear in advert, if you are speak to council first, or local agent)
      Where are you going to put there deposit(DPS etc)

      After tennant found
      Are you going to do the inventory yourself(Suggest first time get a firm in, as after that it's normally just admendments)

      There are books, about this subject which you can pick up, from all good book shops, as the above is just what I think is the least you must do.
      Disclaimer: What I say is either right or wrong. It may be advisable to check what I say with a solicitor. If he says I am right then I am right, unless he is wrong in which case I am wrong; but if he says I am wrong then I am wrong, unless he is wrong in which case I am right

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      • #4
        I disagree that you need to get a company in to do your first inventory. It is easy. You just need (i) a notebook (either real or virtual) and (ii) the ability to name objects in a house. The average ten year old can do it. Or you can use InventoriesRus or the LLZ proforma inventory (See Agreements section). But an inventory clerk will charge you upwards of £150 to..well, make a list of the things in your house. It's a rip-off.

        It's just a detailed list, with an explanatory note next to any items which are not in very good/new condition. Send me a pm if you wish and I will send you an example of one.

        If you are self-managing - well done. You will save a fortune.

        What is important is that you keep everything friendly, but professional. A basic understanding of economics, of LL & tenant law and of human psychology are really useful.

        Good luck - I wish you success.
        'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

        Comment


        • #5
          When I started out I was keen to save money by DIYing everything. I did my homework and successfully found a number of good tenants. I was also pleased that I had done my homework as I had to do one or two section 8 and section 21 evictions. I also did I don't know how many 50 mile trips for viewings for potential tenants who never showed up. Subsequent experience has shown me that I seem to get much more trouble tenants that haven't come via a good property agent. Up until recently I was accepting tenants who were coming via a certain Christian organisation who were doing their best to help people. Some of their recommended tenants were excellent some... well.....I'll say no more! The cost of evicting tenants because they don't pay their rent is substantial, and I'm thinking of a four figure sum even if a DIY eviction is done. Compared with the £3-400 it costs me to engage a good agent with a high street presence it is substantial. They do the viewings, they do the checking, the referencing, the interviewing and merely report back to me when they need to establish whether a certain person will be an acceptale tenant. One of my agents even protects the tenant's deposit for me in their approved, ringfenced totally "Kosher" scheme. Over the years, I have established an excellent working relationship with my agents and now wouldn't dream of not using them. In the long term, to me they are worth every penny.

          Trouble is, it is difficult in your situation not to have to learn this the hard way!

          P.P.
          Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

          Comment


          • #6
            Yes Mind, i agree it is easy.

            But I have so many stories, from other LL and on this forum, how the dps sides with the T.

            The Top of the pops.
            1) Items not being on the inventory, and therefore can't prove the condition or the condition of the item vage.
            2) The inventory not signed and/or dated.
            3) The inventory lost or no inventory.
            4) Every photo not dated and signed by the T.

            Which could cost you over £150 in the long run.

            But if you do do it yourself,

            Do the inventory 3 times.
            1) Go round and note condition of everything.
            2) Another day using document from day(1) go round again, with somebody else and note down the things you missed.(Light fittings, curtain rails, toliet rails)
            3) Then go around again with the T, and get them to point out things, then and date and sign everything.(ie photos, your copy, their copy).

            Next is just what I do,
            Arrange to go back a week later, so give them time to pick up any thing else, then and date and sign everything.(ie photos, your copy, their copy).

            For the future, when a tennant moves out, go and do a prelimary checkout two weeks before, and if any works need doing it gives the T times to fix it themselves. And also if they don't do the work , they less likely to complain, as you have given them warning.

            And so far not had any disputes with the Ts, as far as Inventories go.
            Disclaimer: What I say is either right or wrong. It may be advisable to check what I say with a solicitor. If he says I am right then I am right, unless he is wrong in which case I am wrong; but if he says I am wrong then I am wrong, unless he is wrong in which case I am right

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            • #7
              Agree with P.Pilcher about the value of a good agent - the problem is finding one - they are rarer than hen's teeth or an honest estate agent.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by P.Pilcher View Post
                When I started out I was keen to save money by DIYing everything. I did my homework and successfully found a number of good tenants. I was also pleased that I had done my homework as I had to do one or two section 8 and section 21 evictions. I also did I don't know how many 50 mile trips for viewings for potential tenants who never showed up. Subsequent experience has shown me that I seem to get much more trouble tenants that haven't come via a good property agent. Up until recently I was accepting tenants who were coming via a certain Christian organisation who were doing their best to help people. Some of their recommended tenants were excellent some... well.....I'll say no more! The cost of evicting tenants because they don't pay their rent is substantial, and I'm thinking of a four figure sum even if a DIY eviction is done. Compared with the £3-400 it costs me to engage a good agent with a high street presence it is substantial. They do the viewings, they do the checking, the referencing, the interviewing and merely report back to me when they need to establish whether a certain person will be an acceptale tenant. One of my agents even protects the tenant's deposit for me in their approved, ringfenced totally "Kosher" scheme. Over the years, I have established an excellent working relationship with my agents and now wouldn't dream of not using them. In the long term, to me they are worth every penny.

                Trouble is, it is difficult in your situation not to have to learn this the hard way!

                P.P.
                My experience has been quite different, although I am able to do repairs/maintenance/redecorating myself, which helps. As long as you have a reliable handyman who lives locally to the property and you take the trouble to meet your tenants and reference them before you sign them up, I do not think an agent is particularly useful and they are not generally good value for money. Having said that, I have never had more than three properties to look after at a time. If you have lots and unless you want to make it your full time job, I imagine you will have to pay an agent to manage them for you. You wave goodbye to a big chunk of your profit however and if the tales of woe on this forum are anything to go by, you will end up endlessly enraged at their incomptetence. The good ones are indeed hard to find.
                'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                  It is easy. You just need (i) a notebook (either real or virtual) and (ii) the ability to name objects in a house. The average ten year old can do it. But an inventory clerk will charge you upwards of £150 to.. It's a rip-off.
                  Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                  It's just a detailed list, with an explanatory note next to any items which are not in very good/new condition.
                  My emboldening in "just"

                  Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                  You will save a fortune.
                  Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                  A basic understanding of economics, of LL & tenant law and of human psychology are really useful.

                  A little knowledge....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Twohoots View Post
                    Choosing to DIY rather than having an agent
                    I don't know on what basis you made this decision, but I hope you do not come to regret it.

                    There's lots of stuff you're going to need to do and some of this has already been expressed here, but there are other threads on this forum from others who have posted the exact same question, so search for them. Also, buy a few books on the subject too.

                    No-one starting off is knowledgeable enough to deal with all kinds of things that can and do come up before, during and after their first few tenancies and if you happen to be unlucky to come across a first class manipulator or "professional tenant" who knows or senses that you're a novice, you will find yourself in deep doo doo without a paddle pretty soon and you'll wonder why no-one warned you or taught you about this side of the game.

                    I would not recommend you do it yourself, unless you have some solid hand holding by a local experienced agent, or a lawyer who is also a landlord, or a seasoned landlord who is your friend.

                    If you don't have access to these people, I would recommend employing a reputable & experienced local letting agent, one that you have a good rapport with, because if you let someone in your house that you have not sussed properly and they turn bad, the letting and management fees that you will pay the agent will look like chicken feed next to the financial losses that could ensue and the multiple cans of worms that you could find yourself in.

                    Then after a couple of years, you can try doing some aspects yourself, like sorting our minor repairs, decorating, viewings, etc., and then go from there.
                    You soon learn if you have the temperament and mindset for this game, which not something that is considered by many folk that I have come across in my years.

                    I abhor the TV programmes that pretend the letting business is for anyone who has a home and that its just a series of steps and then you'll be fine, ala, "just get tenants in"...blah blah blah.

                    There are those times when everything is wonderful - you find a tenant, quickly and cheaply, who is great all round, pays their rent on time every time, cleans and looks after the property and leaves it in the condition you gave it to them (or better) and who also recommends you to their friend or work colleagues.
                    But its hard for all these good components to come together (and without any bad aspects) and so they are minority experiences, not the majority, as are the really bad ones, but because the really bad ones sting quite a lot, they leave a mark on you much stronger than the wonderful experiences.

                    Also, being able to judge who is a decent person that will be a good tenant and who is not is one skill you will have to learn if you want to do it yourself (that's what you mainly pay the agent for). There are some things facts and figures can't reveal.

                    This isn't a business that many people can do and just because you own a house doesn't qualify you to be a landlord or indicate in any way whether you will be successful or not.

                    Whatever you decide, I hope that you only have good experiences with lettings and if you do right by people, most of them (85% or more) will usually do right by you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by HairyLandlord View Post
                      My emboldening in "just"
                      OK -on reflection, I would add 'and as many digital photographs as you think necessary to show every part of the house contents and their state of repair and cleanliness at the start of the tenancy'. Give the tenannt a copy of both list and photos and ask them to sign to say they agree it is a full and accurate inventory.

                      Originally posted by HairyLandlord View Post
                      A little knowledge....
                      Which is exactly what many letting agents have, but being in charge (frighteningly) of hundreds of other people's properties, they tend to lack the interest/motivation to do the right thing by you/yours, at times. It's a bit of a lottery. You might get a good one, or you might end up buying an expensive dog and barking yourself.
                      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        i too am a newbie at letting and i decided that i would use a LA until i felt happy enough to deal with it. imvle letting is not something you have a go at, and why worry as no harm can come of it. i know of one landlord who lost rent as the tenancy agreement did not contain the words "per calendar month".

                        if i had read the threads here before letting i might not have done it at all, it's all doom and gloom. but then people only ask for help when there is a problem and there must be thousands of LLs and Ts without issues. i hope so.

                        i did do the inventory myself with my own drawn up forms. seeing the forms offered on this site, they are very similar. for a newly refurbished 1 bed flat i took 72 digital pictures and a video of me going around the flat filming each room from top to bottom all around the walls. i met T on site, did a walk through, went through the inventory and gave T and LA copies signed by me and T.

                        my LA has been brilliant, very good, attentive to detail and thorough. 10% is well worth paying for my peace of mind.

                        pm
                        Before acting on forum advice, you may wish to consult an expert, someone who has all the relevant facts, and who accepts liability for their advice.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Just to show how easy it is to contract a letting agent who is not competent to do even the 'standard' tenancy procedures

                          http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ad.php?t=27320

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                            Just to show how easy it is to contract a letting agent who is not competent to do even the 'standard' tenancy procedures

                            http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ad.php?t=27320
                            Do you know, exactly that thought occurred to me when I read that thread. It's a bit worrying when a letting agent has to come and ask for help on a site like this to serve a s8 notice, isn't it?

                            Perhaps it was a 16 year old on Work Experience and everyone else in the office was out for lunch?
                            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                              Which is exactly what many letting agents have, but being in charge (frighteningly) of hundreds of other people's properties, they tend to lack the interest/motivation to do the right thing by you/yours, at times
                              That is an inaccurate and misleading portrayal of the industry.

                              Even though there are Charlestons and cowboys around because the industry is not licensed or regulated, there are plenty of agents who have been in existence for many years and who provide good service and who remain unregulated.

                              We all have experiences of poor service from people in giant companies, but we also get service from people who are nothing more than shining stars who work in the same kind of comapnies and that make us sit up and take notice and surpise us, pleasantly - the same is true in the lettings industry.

                              The fact that you haven't come across any or enough good agents is unfortunate, but you shouldn't extrapolate from your narrow and limited experience for the rest of the U.K.

                              By all mean people should do things themselves, if they can, as it can save money, but you are talking from the position of many years of experience and from memory, you're operating at the grotty end of the market, so you're probably a bit more battle-weary than many on this forum and of course, the OP, who's a complete novice.

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