How to attract the right tenants

Tips for marketing your buy-to-let property

For a buy-to-let property to be as profitable as possible, it’s crucial to find quality tenants quickly. To help you do that, follow our tips for advertising and marketing.

Identify your target tenant

Ideally you will have purchased your buy-to-let property with a specific tenant in mind – for example, families, young professionals, or students.

But this won’t always be the case, as you may be renting out a property that you originally bought for yourself, or inherited.

If you’re not sure who your target tenant is, look at:

  • Location. Is your property convenient for local schools? Does it have good transport links with a university? Would it suit commuters?
  • Nearby rental properties. If you search on a property website for your area, who do you think those landlords are targeting?
  • Quality. Do you think your property offers a similar standard as other properties available, or is it superior in some way?

Know what your target tenant is looking for

Think about which features of your property make it suitable for the audience you’ve identified.

Examples of points to consider:

  • Does it have a perfect garden for families?
  • Does it offer parking?
  • Is there access to a gym in the building?
  • Is it suitable for pets?
  • Does it have an en suite bathroom?
  • Is it offered furnished or unfurnished?

These are all examples of features you’ll want to draw attention to in your property listing.

Take great photos

Well-shot photos can make your listing stand out and help your new tenants to picture themselves living there.

  • Lighting. Natural is best, so shoot on a bright day, if possible, with the curtains and blinds open.
  • Angles. Shoot towards a corner, rather than head-on to a wall, to give a better impression of the size of the space.
  • Staging. Photos of clean and well organised properties are more appealing than cluttered and untidy ones. Consider finishing touches such as a flower or fruit bowl.
  • Details. If you have unique features, such as luxury white goods, make sure your photos draw attention to them.
  • Variety. Include a good range of photos, including different angles of the same room if there’s an opportunity to show different features.

Describe your property clearly

You can either write the descriptive text yourself, or review text written by your agent. Either way, make sure that it mentions everything you think will attract the tenants you want.

  • Focus on the biggest and best feature first, e.g. ‘spacious family home’ or ‘luxurious city apartment’
  • List other features of the property
  • Give reasons why it’s suitable for a particular type of tenant
  • Include positives about the neighbourhood
  • Use relevant descriptors, such as ‘quiet’ or ‘modern’, rather than general ones, such as ‘exciting’ or ‘fantastic’

Remember the things that aren’t shown in your photos, such as a security system, off-street parking, or close proximity to local amenities. It might help you to imagine what you would point out to people if they were viewing your property in person.

You’ll also want to be clear about your pet policy and smoking policy.

Ask your agent for advice

Your letting agent can check that you’ve included all of the essential information and add anything you’ve missed. They’ll also confirm that you’re meeting all of your obligations in line with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (2008).

All Rights Reserved. Information contained in this article and on our website does not constitute advice and is provided for information purposes only. Recipients should not act upon it, but should seek professional advice relevant to their own situation.

THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE SECURING OTHER DEBTS AGAINST YOUR HOME.

YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE.

How to prepare your house for sale

Tips to bring out the best in your property

Selling your home? Not having much success? When the time comes to sell your property, it’s vital to present it in its best light.

A few minor touch-ups can go a long way towards making a favourable impression on potential buyers and perhaps cinching a sale. Put your buyer’s hat on and walk through your home like it is the first time. Remember your aim is to help them imagine their life there.

They’re sure to have some essential requirements, such as the number of bedrooms, or garden size, but beyond those, a great deal depends on the little details that make them feel at home.

From the street

  • First impressions are important, so make sure that the outside of your home is newly clean, especially the windows, and consider easy cosmetic upgrades like a fresh coat of paint.
  • Move your bins out of sight so they’re not the first things potential buyers see.
  • Small details, like adding a new doormat, or placing potted plants at the entrance, suggest a welcoming home.
  • Check that the property is well-lit externally, particularly if you’re selling in winter. If you don’t have lights, temporary, solar powered lighting can be a budget solution.
  • Clear the cracks in your path or driveway or borrow a pressure washer to bring it back to its best.

In the hallway

  • If you usually store coats and shoes by the door, pack these away so that your hallway is clear of clutter.
  • Keep your post tidy and dispose of old flyers or newspapers.
  • Use an open door to indicate which room you’d like viewers to enter next, while keeping bathrooms and storage spaces closed off.
  • For communal hallways, speak to neighbours about keeping it clear of items like bikes and pushchairs at certain times.

Living areas

  • Take personal items and photos off display, to create a more neutral space that potential buyers can imagine putting their own stamp on.
  • Homes generally look better with less furniture, so consider putting some in storage – particularly if your taste is bolder than most.
  • Open all your blinds and curtains to allow in the light, and add lamps to remaining dark corners.
  • Pets can be off-putting to certain buyers, so hide away beds, toys and litter trays.

Bedrooms

  • While you’ll want to keep your décor neutral, consider individualising each bedroom with coloured throws, pillows and accessories, so viewers can recall them later.
  • Bed sizes should be proportionate to the rooms that they’re in, to avoid a sense of overcrowding.
  • To show off how spacious your built-in wardrobes are, these must be clean, organised, and not overfilled.
  • If you currently use a spare room as a home office, converting it back to a bedroom can add to the perceived value of the property.

Kitchens and bathrooms

  • When thoroughly cleaning your whole home for viewings, give the kitchens and bathrooms a little extra care.
  • Be mindful of any smells coming from cooking, items in the fridge, blocked drains, full bins, etc. as these can unconsciously put off potential buyers.
  • Small details, such as candles, soaps, plants, and fluffy towels, can really improve the visual impression of your bathroom – as can closing the toilet.
  • It’s usually not worth refitting a kitchen or bathroom, as this is an expensive project that won’t add much to your asking price. Let your buyer take this on so it’s done to their taste.

Garden

  • Keep your garden tidy throughout the period your home is on the market, and dispose of waste immediately, if you can, so it’s not sitting around.
  • If your garden’s not blooming in the season that you’re selling, consider adding potted plants to fill any gaps.
  • Check to see if your gravelled areas are running low, and if so, top them up so they look as good as new.
  • If you have viewings in the evenings or in winter, consider how you’ll light the outdoor space, for example with portable lanterns, if you don’t have external lights.
  • In small gardens, or even on balconies, you can use furniture to demonstrate how to make best use of the space.

All Rights Reserved. Information contained in this article and on our website does not constitute advice and is provided for information purposes only. Recipients should not act upon it, but should seek professional advice relevant to their own situation.

THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE SECURING OTHER DEBTS AGAINST YOUR HOME.

YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE.

Negative equity on property

What does it mean, and what can you do if you find yourself in this situation?

For homeowners with mortgages, a fall in property prices brings a risk of negative equity. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic expected to impact on some property prices, you might be concerned about how this will affect you. Here are some common questions about negative equity.

What is negative equity?

If the market value of your property is less than the mortgage you have still to pay on that property, you are said to have ‘negative equity’.

Usually, homeowners own (positive) equity in their property. For example, if your home is worth £200,000 and you have a mortgage for £190,000, you own equity of £10,000 in your home.

But if your home is worth £180,000 and you have a mortgage for £190,000, you own equity or -£10,000 in your home. In other words, you have negative equity.

How does negative equity happen?

Most commonly, negative equity occurs when a buyer has taken out a mortgage with a high loan-to-value (LTV) ratio and then house prices fall.

So, a £190,000 mortgage against a property worth £200,000 is considered a high LTV mortgage, because it is 95% of the property value. If house prices fall, and the property is now worth only £180,000, the buyer has negative equity.

How do you know if you have negative equity?

You might not know. So, if you’ve recently bought a home with a high LTV mortgage and you find out that house prices have fallen, you might want to check.

To find out, speak to your mortgage provider to see exactly how much you owe, and an estate agent or surveyor to get the market value of your property.  Then use this sum – Property market value minus the mortgage owed equals the equity (or negative equity).

Is negative equity a problem?

If you’re planning to stay in your home for many more years, you could be in negative equity without it affecting your daily life.

Negative equity becomes a problem if you want to sell your home, or if your mortgage deal is coming to an end.

Can you sell your home with negative equity?

If you sell your home for less than you owe your mortgage provider, you will need to have another way to repay the total amount. If your mortgage provider believes that you don’t have means to do that, they won’t allow you sell. 

Can you remortgage with negative equity?

If you had planned to remortgage at the end of your current deal, this will be much harder if you have negative equity.

Unless you reduce your negative equity, you’ll probably have to start making repayments at your mortgage provider’s standard variable rate (SVR), which can be higher than you’re used to. If this is going to cause you financial difficulties, speak to them as soon as possible.

What are your options if you have negative equity?

1. Wait it out

If you can afford your mortgage repayments and don’t need to move, you can simply stay where you are. Continue to increase your equity by making your monthly repayments, and wait for house prices to rise over time, as they usually do.

2. Make early repayments

If you have cash elsewhere, find out if your mortgage provider allows early repayments. You can pay back the difference between your property’s market value and the mortgage you owe, and you’ll no longer have negative equity. Then you’ll be able get a new mortgage deal or sell your home. 

3. Get a negative equity mortgage

In rare instances, mortgage providers may allow you to move home and carry over your negative equity to the new property. You’ll need a deposit for the new property and will lose any money you had paid against your existing home.

4. Rent out your home

If your mortgage repayments increase and you can no longer afford to pay them, you might be able to rent out your home, while you live in a different property that you’ve rented at a lower price. You’ll need your mortgage provider’s permission to do this.

5. Make home improvements

Another way to reduce negative equity is to increase the value of your home, so that your mortgage accounts for a smaller percentage of the value. You might be able to do this by completing home improvement work if you budget it carefully.

Most of these options have costs involved and you should make some careful calculations before making your final decision. 

All Rights Reserved. Information contained in this article and on our website does not constitute advice and is provided for information purposes only. Recipients should not act upon it, but should seek professional advice relevant to their own situation.

THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE SECURING OTHER DEBTS AGAINST YOUR HOME.

YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE.

What are business rates?

A simple guide to business rates in England and Wales

 

When properties are used for commercial purposes (i.e. to make money from the activity that takes place in them), the owner or occupier is required to pay business rates. This includes obvious examples of commercial properties, such as shops and restaurants, and less obvious examples, such as holiday homes that are rented out to guests. 

If you own or rent a commercial property in England or Wales, we’ll explain what you need to know about business rates.

Tenancy agreements and handling deposits

Essential information for buy-to-let landlords

The most common type of tenancy in the UK is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). This describes tenancies involving:

  • a private landlord who will not be living in the property
  • a tenant or tenants who will be living in the property
  • annual rent that is no less than £250 and no more than £100,000

At the start of a new AST, a tenant and landlord will sign a tenancy agreement, and the tenant will pay the landlord a deposit. If you’re a buy-to-let landlord, here are the answers to common questions you may have about this stage of the tenancy.

When is the best time to sell property?

Factors to consider when listing your home for sale

 

Timing can be a significant factor in property selling prices, and so it’s natural to worry about getting it right. While the markets are difficult to predict, there are some annual trends that are evident over time.

Commercial property

If you’re looking to sell commercial property, then our guide will help.

 

Selling a commercial property is different from selling a residential property. Before marketing your property, it is important to understand what your buyers will be looking for. Their primary considerations will probably be location, suitability and property price. While the details can vary between properties, our guide will help you to navigate the standard process, step by step.

Lender’s valuations explained

What is a lender’s valuation and why do you need one?

The process of buying a property often involves getting a lender’s valuation. If you have questions about yours, we can explain what it is, why it’s important, and how it affects your mortgage.

Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme

How the scheme can help to get you on the property ladder

If you want to buy a home of your own, but don’t have a very large deposit, the government’s Help to Buy equity loan scheme is there to lend a hand. It could help you pay a lower deposit and pay less per month for the first five years. Find out if you qualify, and how it can help you.

Rental yield and capital growth

Understanding buy-to-let investments

 

Buy-to-let investors make money in two different ways: rental yield and capital growth. If you’re looking into property investments, here’s an explanation of both to help you get started.