Buying a property to let is an idea we considered before moving into our family home. It's still in the cards despite the many opinions and occurring facts that put people off of doing it. Brexit, new UK laws affecting interest tax, painful tenants, personal experiences - it feels like they're all out there to stop you from taking that step ahead.
We can't deny though, that it is a good investment for the future. And as long as you look at it as a business, all brain no heart, and seek professional financial advice then there is little chance you'll come worse off.
Before we talk about design & decor, let's get the practical things out of the way! If you're at either end of the deal, being either a landlord or a tenant, you'll have something in mind on what makes a good landlord. Here's five things to keep in mind...
- The top 3 things on a landlord's wish list from his tenants are: a tenant that pays on time, maintains the condition of the property minus the expected wear & tear and causes no nuisance to neighbours. Finding a tenant that meets all three is worth more than charging higher rent, so if you find a tenant that ticks all of the above, in the long run it may be cheaper to keep the rent price competitive for them.
- A good landlord will respond to tenants' issues promptly and get things resolved in a timely manner. If you find good tenants, it's in your interest to keep them happy so be responsive and give them no reason to move on.
- When it comes to decorating, most landlords stick to the magnolia look. However if a creative tenant would like to decorate, there is a possibility that they will be willing to negotiate with the landlord to get some changes done. From the landlord's perspective, consider agreeing if it is cost effective and if your tenants meet the wish list on the first point above. Otherwise there are always other options you could suggest - check out the design tips at the end of this post!
- For peace of mind, it is also good to be prepared for unexpected issues that may arise, which is where a good landlord insurance comes in. If you have done your background checks and have been selective with your tenants, it is unlikely that you will suffer loss of income, however it is good to have a good cover for that and any other potential risks.
- Remember that it is your property but it is their home! You may choose to keep in touch with your tenants, some landlords or agents visit as regularly as every three months. Make sure you give them plenty of notice ahead of each visit and keep a checklist on what you want to accomplish during each visit.
Where the decor comes in...
From a design point of view, ou can still get high spec finishes without adding a lot personal taste, and you will want to appeal to most people within your target market.
On the other hand, design obsessed tenants who can't afford to get a place of their own may get frustrated. Their decor enthusiast frustrated days are coming to an end though! Currently there are so many ways to add character to a room without painting or putting holes in walls...
Tips for the creative tenant (as a landlord you can keep these up your sleeve if you get any requests from your tenants!)
- Stick on wallpaper! I have recently used it (check out my guest bedroom makeover here) and I definitely recommended it. Easy to apply, you'll be so thankful not to have to use messy paste to stick it to the wall. And they swear by being repositionable and removable too, so no marks on the walls...
Stick on wallpaper is a great option for tenants
- Command Strips and hooks, I have also used them and love them! You can hang just about anything without having to drill holes in the walls.
- Washi Tape, you can create a really cool display or pattern by using patterned or plain washi tape. Use it to stick your favourite prints to the wall or to create a geometric pattern like the one below! You can find them on Amazon or Etsy.
With all these options, you're sure to find one that'll keep both tenants and landlord happy...