When you’re choosing a buy to let property to invest in, it’s now more important than ever to look for those features which will make your property attractive to tenants … and not necessarily just attractive to you.
By choosing your buy to let more carefully you can ensure it makes a good return even in the face of higher stamp duty, restricted tax allowances and the other overheads of running a buy to let investment.
Properties that offer the features that most tenants are looking for let more easily, have fewer voids and may even attract a higher rent.
Here are 20 things that will make your buy to let property more lettable and, ultimately, make your investment more profitable:
1.Not too big. Space is nice to have, but most tenants value location and convenience (and reasonable running costs) over space they don’t actually need.
2.Not too small. Cramped properties look unappealing, and also reduce your letting options, ie. they are unsuitable for sharers and families.
3.Located in a street that’s clean and tidy in a building that’s clean and tidy. Kerb appeals matters when renting much the same as when buying.
4.Decent security. If an apartment, the apartment should have its own front door and a communal front door with a secure entry system.
5. If a house, at the most two or three stories. If an apartment in a block, on the lower floors (for easy access) or alternatively on the top floor (it’s quieter and, often, warmer too).
6.Not in a basement, nor with any main living or sleeping rooms in the basement. (The exception to this rule is property in in-demand locations in London where basement properties can even be more sought after.)
7.Bright, well lit rooms. Bright, well lit rooms look bigger – and cleaner too.
8.A property that’s clean and free of damp or ‘funny’ smells. For damp read cold. For cold read expensive to run.
9.Adequately sized bedrooms, ideally with built in wardrobes. (When you rent, removing wardrobes every time you move isn’t much fun.)
10.An adequate number of bathrooms and loos for the number of people who’ll occupy the property.
11.A good sized kitchen with plenty of storage space and room for appliances. Preferably one that’s big enough for dining in too.
12.A clean, tidy, well-lit, well-heated and damp free bathroom with a shower.
13.Good parking. Unless it’s in an immediate city centre. Off road parking is good but readily available, free on road parking is good too.
14.If there’s a garden a small garden is best. Tenants generally don’t want to spend time gardening someone else’s garden …. nor do you for that matter.
15.Gas central heating wherever possible. Electric heating has a reputation for being big on bills and low on power. Oil, coal or wood aren’t a big hit with most renters either.
16.Contemporary interior décor. The chances that you’ll find a tenant who shares your view that 70s or 80s wallpaper is worth paying extra for aren’t that high. Contemporary décor works best even in a period property.
17.Sensible, contemporary floor coverings. Surfaces that are easy to maintain and resist damage are appealing to tenants as well as to landlords.
18. Low services charges, if in a block. Service charges cut into your yields one way or another.
You can read more about maximising yields here.
19. Plenty of storage, that’s adequate for the size of the property. People who rent often have more to store, not less.
20. A good location. One where people actually want to rent but the supply of property is limited.