13 tips to increase your rental income and reduce void periods

tips-to-increase-your-rental-income-and-reduce-void-periods

A baker’s dozen of buy-to-let advice for investors worried about getting tenants

Congratulations! You’ve decided to invest in property. Take it from a seasoned property investor, simply making the decision to buy UK property has shifted you into a higher gear when it comes to creating the lifestyle you deserve. But you still have concerns. You’ve never been a buy-to-let investor before. How can you make your property fly off the shelf? What will make your property stand out so that you won’t suffer from damaging void periods?

I’ve met plenty of investors who haven’t maximised the potential of UK residential investment property. They’ve still been making money, but they could have made so much more. And, the more money you make, the faster you will race towards those goals of early retirement and long holidays.

These 13 tips will make sure you buy the best property investment opportunity available, and that it appeals most to your target tenant. And when you do this, you should keep void periods to a minimum and benefit from a premium price rental income.

1.      Invest in the right location

Investing in buy-to-let is not the same as buying a home. You must think about your target market. What is it that they want from a property? Families want to live near to the best schools. Young professionals want nightlife and ease of transport. No one wants to be far from shops.

When you invest in property, invest with the property fundamentals: shops, schools, transport links, major employers and major investment. This is rule number one when investing for capital gains and rental income. The stronger those property fundamentals, the wider the appeal. The wider the appeal, the stronger the demand for your property. The stronger the demand, the better your gains are likely to be.

But it’s not all about location. You’ll need to make sure that your property stands out from the crowd.

2.      Kerb appeal

The first thing people notice is the outside. They’ll quickly spot untended gardens, poor external lighting, clogged gutters, old fences and broken gates. They will see peeling paintwork and loose roof tiles. It’s best that the property you buy doesn’t have these unhealthy features. And make certain that nearby properties are also well looked after. No one wants to live in a beautiful home that is next to a scrap yard.

3.      Great views

People get fed up with looking at the same four walls every day. They also get fed up with looking at the same view from their window every day. If you buy a property with a great view – perhaps looking over parkland, across a river, or even overlong a busy urban scene – you’ll have a better chance of attracting and keeping tenants.

OK, we’ve looked at the outside of the property. Now let’s move indoors…

4.      Security

Whether your tenants are silver-haired renters, young professionals, or family folk, security is important to them. Locks on sturdy windows and doors. And how about gated communities, with video surveillance? Don’t neglect security, because potential tenants won’t.

5.      Open plan

Tenants today love open-plan living. Smaller properties feel bigger. That’s a great selling point, but not the only one. Open-plan living lets people interact better. Parents in the kitchen can keep an eye on their kids. Parties flow more easily. Open plan is more social.

6.      Bright, clean and airy

Keep that colour scheme neutral. This doesn’t mean white. Use shades that are light, but easy to clean. Match flooring to the walls, using tiles or hardwood wherever possible. These floors are easy to clean, and they look great all year round.

7.      Include furniture

Increasing numbers of renters want furniture included. I could write a book on the best furniture for buy-to-let properties! But you don’t need to read a book about it – instead, read my article “11 tips to help choose the best furniture for your buy-to-let property”.

8.      The kitchen is the heart of a home

The kitchen is probably the biggest selling point of any home. Make sure it sparkles. It’s got to be clean and be home to the right equipment. You won’t win prizes for cracked splashbacks. You’ll lose points for out-of-date appliances. Tenants today want modern kitchens.

9.      Provide a dining area

It doesn’t matter that many people eat in front of the television today, nor that people prefer an open plan. The traditional dining room may have gone out the window, but the dining area hasn’t. Let prospective tenants know there is a dedicated dining area. It gives the illusion of more space, and the reality of a greater versatility.

10. The bathroom must shine

Hands up if you remember the classic 1970s avocado green bathroom suite. Don’t make the same mistake. Like the kitchen, the bathroom is a big selling point in a property. Keep it modern. Provide a great shower option. Colour scheme should be neutral. Light, airy, clean, fresh. No chipped basins or dull chrome. Make it shine!

11. Bedrooms that can be lived in

Bedrooms are no longer simply places to sleep. Provide soft, warm carpet underfoot. Built-in or fitted wardrobes create space. A view is always a pleasant experience when waking up.

12. Consider the environment

People today are becoming far more environmentally conscious. Providing low energy bulbs, a high energy efficiency rating, and appliances that conserve energy are all important to tenants – and if you can offer low-cost energy, there is more headroom on the rental price.

13. Low maintenance

The last thing that people want to be doing is spending every hour of their spare time looking after their home (DIY freaks excepted, of course). Your tenants will probably be time-poor. Fewer people today want to spend their time tending gardens (but for that view, communal gardens are great). They don’t want to be constantly decorating, fixing broken tiles, and repairing central heating systems. Invest in a property that is low maintenance, and then keep it that way.

So, there they are – my 13 tips on how to ensure you invest in a property that will command the highest rent and suffer the shortest void periods.

Do you want to know where the best places to invest in property UK are today? Would you like to pinpoint the properties that will have the widest appeal, and should provide the best profit potential?

To discuss your investment goals and make sure your property investment strategy benefits from property guarantees, contact Gladfish today on +44 207 923 6100 and we’ll help you achieve your lifestyle objectives with property, as we have for hundreds of others.

Live with passion

Brett Alegre-Wood

About the Author

Brett has over 20 years experience in all facets of property, he owns various companies centred around property and is the driving force behind the education and training at Gladfish. His companies have sold over £850 million in UK and London property and he manages over 1200 properties through his estate agency chain. Today he shares his time between UK, Australia and Singapore. He is married to Arlene and together they have 4 kids.

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