What did you wish you knew when starting out as a landlord or property developer?

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    never have tenants on housing benefit


      If a house has been on the market for ages, there's a reason. Find out what it is because the problem may still exist when you come to resell.

      Don't buy in a town you don't know well, at least not when you're starting out.

      Get an experienced and local independent agent onside and use them for their advice and knowledge (even if you don't intend on using their services). I admit that finding a good one is probably tough, but they will know things about the local housing market that your average Joe won't have a clue about.


        1. Anything physical to do with your home, such as any repairs, damage, mould, failing appliances, internal water leaks, a leaking roof and/or windows, etc., etc, pale into insignificance when compared to having a recalcitrant, confrontational, destructive and ensconced, professional, non-paying tenant.
        Regardless of what home(s) you end up buying, invest time and money to discover and understand who you are putting into your home, with keys and the ability to change the locks.

        Get good at reading people and the warning signs that they can give off if they are a "problem person". Trust your instinct, which is there to protect you, in all scenarios in life.
        Meet every person who is interested in renting your home.

        2. As jpkeates said, finding and keeping good quality, reliable and trustworthy tradesmen, especially in a big city, is a major task you will have to go through. If you do find such a rare animal, especially one who is qualified and competent in multiple trades (esp. electrical, plumbing and central heating) do all you can to hold onto them and to make their visit to your home and the work they need to do, as trouble free as possible. Don't give them any reason to not work for you, such as;

        • Not paying them when they expect to be paid or quibbling over the amount after the work, or about minor things
        • Not turning up on time if you agree to meet them
        • Not being contactable by phone when they call
        • If the home(s) are in areas where parking is not free and easy, sort out their parking needs for when they visit your homes.

        Even if they seem to be charging more for their services that what other tradesmen are charging, I assure you, in time, you will see that it will have been more than worth it.
        Give them a set of keys once they've proved their trustworthiness to you.

        3. Best to buy within 10 miles or so of where you live. Long journeys to attend to small things soon add up and become tiresome. Tradespeople won't do a 'quick job' like you can, for a small charge.

        Everything else is admin and what you can soon do with your eyes closed.


          Mogine - I didn't/don't do any of what you recommended. I rarely meet my tenants. I know a few tradesmen but not many. I started by buying 200 miles from where I live. I don't really disagree with you, but use alternative routes to the same end.

          I am not good at reading people so I pay professionals (LAs) to do that for me.
          I rely on the same people to find most of the tradespeople I need, or a builder friend.
          I bought around where I grew up. If it doesn't involve computers I'm not good at fixing things (though I'm not as bad as my Dad was).


            Originally posted by Mogino View Post
            2. As jpkeates said, finding and keeping good quality, reliable and trustworthy tradesmen, especially in a big city, is a major task you will have to go through.
            You need to add safe to this list of attributes. For the purpose of the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015, you are a Business Client, not a Domestic Client, so are responsible for ensuring that the contractor will work in a safe way and will produce a result that enhances the long term safety (e.g. avoids having to use ladders for routine maintenance). You will be expected to do a proper pre-qualification check on the contractor.

            My suspicion is that the average amateur landlord acts as though they were a domestic client and uses the sort of contractors that ignore health and safety rules. However, legally, you cannot do that.

            The law assumes that residents requesting building work do not understand building work, but it assumes that businesses do, or will hire someone who does. (Both, however, are liable if the contractor fly tips.)


              If a tenant misses a rent payment give them notice as soon as is legal. It may sound harsh but if they miss once they'll miss again.


                when buying a property for letting purposes, be purposeful when viewing. Having a checklist for each room on separate pages of paper to note down issues/concerns/questions is very useful. Don't assume you will automatically notice/see everything even on your first or even second viewing. You won't.


                  Always leave a bottle of wine or a 6 pack in the fridge for each new tenancy, it works wonders. In 21 years as a LL have never had to evict anyone, never not been paid all of the rent and never had malicious damage. The other thing is never assume anything!!!


                    Originally posted by shearne View Post
                    Always leave a bottle of wine or a 6 pack in the fridge for each new tenancy, it works wonders.
                    Hmm. But if tenants are Moslems, they might think you are taking the p*ss.


                      It's a box of choccies or a bunch of flowers instead


                        we always send a bunch of flowers in the first week of a new tenancy


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