Using an Online Letting Agent

If you’re letting out a property for the first time there is so much to consider. You have to ensure that it meets fire and safety requirements, is properly insured and fulfils all the other obligations required by the market and the law. And that’s before you even find any tenants. With this in mind, we will look at online letting agents and how they can make your life as a landlord much easier.

What is an Online Letting Agent?

These are services which can handle everything from advertising for tenants to the signing of contracts and even the collection of rent. The benefits are clear in terms of ease of use, but we’re going to through some of the other advantages so that you can decide for yourself is you need to use one.

Save Money and Time

We mentioned that online letting agents can make your life easier. In addition to this, they will also save you money and time if you consider how much work you would have to do when it comes to advertising your property. A good online lettings service will do all of the marketing for you so that you can concentrate on the other aspects of being a landlord or even on your life and career.

Advertising Experience

Good online letting agents will not only advertise your rental property on the leading property portals, but can include items like floorplans, EPCs and even 3D virtual tours. All of this adds up to a professional marketing package that should draw in prospective tenants.

Enquiry Handling

One great advantage of choosing an online letting agent is that all of your enquiries for the property can be handled by their team. This will give you the reassurance of knowing that potential tenants will be dealt with professionally. What’s more, it will free up more of your time.

Viewings Assistance

If you are unable to handle viewings yourself, a good online agent should have a network of local experts in place to do this. So, you will know that your future tenants are going to be dealing with agents who possess knowledge of the industry and local market.

Open 24/7

One of the biggest draws of using an online agent is that applications, payments and contracts can potentially be processed 24 hours a day. This could be convenient for both you and your future tenants.  

So, if you are renting out a property for the first time it might be well worth investigating an online letting agent. But what do you think? Is it better to market your property yourself? Or do you believe it’s best to rely on the professionals? Feel free to let us know using the comments section below.

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Why January is the Best Time to House Hunt

The boundless joy of the festive season is over and all that’s left is darkness and misery, right? Wrong! I’ve been doing a bit of research lately and have discovered an interesting fact about what many of us consider to be the dreariest month: January is a great time to go house hunting. In fact, January may just be the best time of year for this task. Why? Well, there are a number of reasons for that. Let’s explore them.

Unappreciated Properties

During the heady days of December, a time when most of us take a break from work, not many people actually go house hunting. This is because there are so many meals to be prepared, presents to be carefully chosen, cards to be written and family gatherings to attend.

What does this mean to house hunters? Well, if you look on a good property site like Andrews Online you might find some brilliant properties that haven’t been given the attention they deserve. These might be properties which were listed at the start of winter and are still available. They may have even been listen in autumn and been unlucky enough to miss the summer house hunting season. So, you could find yourself a beautiful home that at any other time would have been snapped up. The owners may even have reduced the asking price or be willing to accept a lower offer than they originally anticipated.

Less Competition

January is when we tuck ourselves into bed or curl up in front of the telly with a warm cup of cocoa. We might even spend our time upgrading our existing properties. It isn’t traditionally when people brave the bracing cold and view homes which are for sale. But if you’re prepared to get out there and do a bit of legwork you might discover that your competition is somewhat thinned, because most people tend to hunt for homes in the warmer seasons.

With fewer people viewing a property you could be given preferential treatment by agents and owners. In other words, your viewing of a property could be longer or you could be given a more complete tour. You could even spend so long with the owner or estate agent that you strike up a rapport. And a friendly relationship may work wonders when it comes to bargaining.

Beat the Blues

For many of us January is a time of giving up bad habits, and sometimes this can create tension. House hunting could be the perfect way to brighten your mood, because it will give you something positive to do. If you’re looking at property websites and going out to view homes for sale, you won’t have time to feel sorry for yourself. And while you’re out there you might just grab yourself a January bargain. So, it’s a win-win situation.

Do you have a particular season which you think is best for house hunting? Or do you have any general house hunting advice? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

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Designing the Perfect Student Buy to Let

While there’s some concern that Brexit may yet have an impact on the number of students from abroad coming to study in the UK, there’s still great demand for student lets here in the UK and letting to students can be a lucrative option. With seven in ten landlords reportedly refusing to let out their properties to students, could entering this niche be an option for you?

 

Whether you’re an existing buy to let landlord or a student who has a little capital behind them and contemplating buying to let to friends, it’s worth noting that UK student accommodation yields have been fairly stable since 2006 according to Empiric. And as Richard Lambert, chief executive recently pointed out when speaking to the Telegraph, `’student lets offer the highest rental yields and are least likely to experience rental areas compared to other tenants, such as professionals, couples, or families.”  Since many parents usually act as guarantors for students, they could prove far less of a risk than other types of tenants. If this sounds like the type of investment you’re looking to make, today we’re sharing a few essential design features that can add appeal in student digs.

Terrah Holly

Be generous with bathrooms

The days when students were happy with a bed, desk and sink in their own room are long gone. As a student landlord you’ll usually be expected to provide white goods along basic furniture like beds and desks, but students often expect a little more these days. Multiple bathrooms are a real plus when it comes to student living and if the accommodation houses bedrooms over multiple floors, it’s useful to have bathrooms situated accordingly too. Bedrooms with en suites naturally command higher rental yields, so if you’re planning some layout changes on a buy-to-let property you’ve bought, think carefully about whether fewer bedrooms upgraded to include en suites may be a smarter swap than creating more bedrooms. Be sure to check out the cost of the competition in your area before your embark on renovations too as well as getting a feel for which properties are snapped up quickly. While luxury student accommodation has become more popular in recent years it’s not within every students’ budget, so it’s best to have a clear idea of what type of accommodation is already available and the type of students you’d like to attract.

Carefully plan communal areas

When you’re renting to a group of students, equal if not more attention needs to be paid to the communal areas compared to the individual bedrooms. And from a landlord’s perspective, you need to think of functionality as well as fun. When it comes to carpets, wall coverings and kitchen surfaces, it’s sensible to choose hardwearing and easy to clean materials without compromising too much on appearance. While it’s not fair to assume students will match up to their messy stereotypes, you ought to consider that such areas will undergo substantial use and thus wear and tear. Flat screen TVs, American style fridges and fancy hot tubs have instant appeal and as such are the latest must-haves in top end student accommodation. However, a great Wifi connection throughout the home and well thought out outdoor and indoor entertainment areas will be appreciated much more in the longer term. If you’re working on a property with a garden, think about practical changes like adding secure bi-fold doors for use when your tenants are hosting summer barbecues or doing some study in the open air.

Location, location, location

There are larger student populations in some cities than others, and thus some areas continue to have a real shortage of quality, affordable student accommodation. One recent survey by SPCE found that 70 per cent of students feel that student accommodation is often in poor condition and run down. Commit to meeting that need and you could really be onto a winner. Proximity to a place of study, public transport links and other amenities such as supermarkets, bars and cafes are all likely to be part of a potential student letter’s lust list. But don’t overlook other potential pulls such as local gyms, parks and green spaces or doctor’s surgeries. And, while parking won’t be essential for all, it will definitely be seen as a plus, particularly by parents dropping off their offspring for the term ahead!

Have you let out property to students in the past? What would be your advice to other would-be landlords considering entering the market? And, if you’re a student, have you thought about becoming a live in landlord?

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