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Adam Hosker's Guide to Lettings

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Adam Hosker

Landlords share your Money Saving Tips, help us make our property business more profitable by cutting expenditure as the new Tax Regime starts to take its first bite.

 

1. BUY QUALITY FIXTURES, NOT CHEAP

When it comes to light fittings, sockets, doors and bathroom fittings - you want to buy for longevity. Buying cheap goods that break easily can be a false economy, having to keep replacing them during the tenancy.
Tenants are unlikely to tip toe around fragile fittings.

 

2. Hard Flooring or Dark Carpets

Your light or typical creme carpets are going to need tough cleaning or replacing at an end of a tenancy which is "fair wear and tear" so it is coming out of your pockets. Hard flooring needs replacing far less often than any carpets. Dark carpets don't "age" as badly as light carpets.
Personally id go opt for hard flooring in hard warn areas (entrance & living room), Laminate or Tiles in the Kitchen and Dark Carpets in the bedrooms.

New Tenants like welcoming homes and ex-tenants do have mucky shoes.

 

3. Offer Free Picture Hanging Service

As silly as it sounds fixing big holes in walls after tenants failed attempts to hang a picture on a wall and not using proper fittings can add up! and require a paint job where not required. Doing it properly can avoid tenant drilling into gas or water pipes and avoid plastering. Although you can put "no holes in walls" in a tenancy contract and deduct it from the deposit; if you take one.

Tenants like to make the place a home, that involves pictures. 

 

4. Best Rate does not mean lowest cost

The "best rate" mortgage may not mean you will pay the least over the lifetime of the finance. This can be because of high fees added to the loan or if you stick with them after the "introductory rate" a high Standard Variable Rate (SVR). Talk to your mortgage about the best mortgage over x years.
Don't get confused with Introductory rate term, or mortgage term, we're talking about your broker using a calculator to add up all the costs up to the time that you think you will want to refinance. 
 - Bespoke Finance are Buy to Let Specialists.

 

5. Ask about Product Switch or Fee Free Remortgages

When your introductory term comes to an end, maybe you had a fixed for 2 years? ask your mortgage broker about "product switch" with your current lender. Without a new valuation or other costs your lender may offer you a new "introductory term" at low or little cost. Alternatively your broker can compare "fee free" remortgages with other lenders.

As you do with energy bills, talk to your broker regularly about changing providers or just rates.
 - Bespoke Finance are Buy to Let Specialists, happy to compare Product Switch, Remortgages and Fee Free Remortgages.

 

6. Compare the Mortgage Market

Use a Whole of Market Mortgage broker for Comprehensive Advice, walking directly into a bank will provide you "Limited Advice". That often means less mortgage products available to you and perhaps you don't fit their criteria and "computer says no".

A good mortgage broker has access to more products, a wider criteria, broker only lenders and some exclusives from the big banks not available elsewhere.

 - Bespoke Finance are Buy to Let Specialists.

 

7. Compare the Conveyancing Market

Some prefer a trusted and fast solicitor, whilst others are happy with the lowest cost. Your mortgage broker has tools from eConveyancer which lets them provide your transaction details and compare prices of several conveyancing firms. Conveyancers with capacity for more business often lower their prices! giving you some great savings.

 

8. Compare the Insurance Market

Your mortgage broker has tools from The Source or uInsure that allows them to provide your details to several insurers at once and come back to you with the best price. Add in your own Compare the Market quote and you can often choose the lowest price insurer.

Do remember to check the risks, comparison site quality insurance often omits necessities such as "track and trace" or have unreasonable terms.

 

9. Ditch your Letting Agent

Today's tools allow you to market the property yourself and use software to remind you to complete the necessary tasks. You could save between 10%-15% of your rental income by opting to do the job in-house.

 

10. Find a good Letting Agent

Just the opposite to No.9. If your time is more valuable generating income from your employment elsewhere. Then delegate and outsource the task of managing properties. You want to maximize your general income if not just your property income.

You can still negotiate with letting agents, especially if you have a portfolio. The "best" agent may not be the cheapest if we want to ensure maximum visibility of your property and prompt response to tenants. Tenants do leave if your agent ignores their calls! that will cost you but generate the agent more money in "tenant finder fees".

 

11. Find a good Accountant

With the new tax regime fast approaching your bog standard accountant may not cut it any longer. Talk to other landlords about recommendations of conveyancers that are knowledgeable in the lettings area to implement tax saving measures into your business.

 

12. Insurance: Rent Guarantee Insurance

This is an added monthly expenditure to your lettings! but it can give you some savings in the event that a tenant fails to pay there rent and included in some policies in legal costs. Protect against tenants that are unable or unwilling to pay their rent by obtaining Rent Guarantee Insurance.

 

13. Insurance: Emergency Landlord Cover

This is an added monthly expenditure, that is not a replacement for buildings or contents insurance. This insurance can cover broken boilers, leaks, lost keys and blocked drains. Protect against emergency breakdown by obtaining Emergency Landlord Cover. The alternative is to "self insure" and put a % of all rent into a pot for the unexpected costs.

 

14. Shop Around for Trades

Your mate down the pub may offer you a good day rate but it can cost you if they are slow or do a crap job. You can use services like Rated People to obtain quotes from tradesmen for doing jobs around the property.

 

15. Learn your DIY weaknesses

You can learn how to tile on YouTube! but if it takes you a week or two. That is a week or two of a rental void periods! Where a professional tradesman could do the job in a few hours.

 

16. Go Second Hand

Ikea can be good for furnishings and eBay is the "go to website" but you can often find bargains at auction or on websites like Freecycle. Providing the items are of good quality - there can be savings to made compared to New.

 

17. Do Not Increase the Rent

If you ask your tenant for more rent, then they may leave! that means costs making the property as welcoming as it was when they first moved in plus letting agency costs and void periods. Think twice about increasing rent and if you decide not to - why not let the tenant know.

 

18. Renovate Fast

The time between a property becoming vacant and to when it is rented out, means you paying the mortgage with no rental income coming in. It also means you paying Council Tax as most councils have scrapped or reduced Council Tax Exemption.

If a tenant gives you notice, arrange to go around and start making a "To Do List" and book in the trades for shortly after the tenant vacates. 

 

19. Respond to Maintenance requests Fast and Affirmatively

Tenants will leave bad landlords, value your tenants, recognise their importance to your business. The customer is always right and you should respond fast and affirmatively that you will fix problems. 
That does not mean they are always right about maintinance issues "electrics gone" when

 

20. Extended Warranty

You know the usual deal, the salesperson offers extended warranty and you say no. Look at the Terms and Conditions to consider if a tenant may treat the appliance less delicate than you would. Extended Warranty may be value for money.

21.  Share your Tips

Come on now, you all have your own landlord life hacks. Share your money saving tips and get them added to the list.
I obviously ran out of ideas! Extended Warranty! ha.

 

Welcome! Please feel free to Register and Comment, Tell me im wrong or help landlords save money in other words - We love a good property debate.

 

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