1. Location of the property is probably the most important factor in maximising rental income and minimising void periods. It is more important than type of property, condition or maybe even price. An investment property can be improved with furnishings or décor, completely renovated or even knocked down, but cannot be moved from a poor location!
2. If your property is mortgaged, be sure to obtain the lender's approval to rent out –and take advice on the form and level of insurance required for a rental property from a specialist (your agent should be able to assist with this).
3. Generally you'll get better returns from investing in smaller rather than larger flats and houses. As a rule most young professional tenants are looking for 2 bedrooms or less. Three bedrooms will attract families. Larger properties will usually take longer to rent out.
4. Present your property well to attract the best possible rental. The right colours in the right places, scrupulous and well planned cleaning and a welcoming setting can add significantly to the rent you can charge.
5. Don't ever compromise on safety and compliance. Specific legal requirements are placed on landlords in relation to gas, electrical, fire safety as well as landlord registration, energy performance as well as landlord registration, and energy performance etc. Always comply so as to provide a safe and secure environment for your tenants (and also to avoid criminal penalties).
6. Make sure that the rent you charge is professionally reviewed on a regular basis to take account of movements in inflation, but also to reflect current market conditions, which can push rentals up, or down.
7. Always remember that renting out your property quickly can be more important than a let at the highest price. Small downward adjustments in rental can be very effective, and obtaining £450 per month eventually rather than £420 won't make up for your property being empty for 3 months.
8. Consider whether complete re-furnishing and redecoration of your house or flat would enable you to attract better quality tenants and minimise any difficulties in obtaining new ones. Provided the property is in the right location, high standard decoration and furniture and some luxurious touches can make a big difference to prospects.
9. Always ensure that your property is well looked after. Spend on renewing items and fittings when necessary so that a small problem will not become a big one. Tenants notice when properties are properly cared for so the money spent will help attract them.
10. Consider carefully the pros and cons of using an agent to manage your investment. There is also usually a requirement to hold professional indemnity insurance cover together with bonding to protect clients against monetary loss.