We might be passionate about being good landlords and playing by the rules, but let’s face it – we’re here to make money.
Being a landlord is tough and none of us are doing it for fun. The bottom line is OUR bottom line and money matters.
What if we told you that you could increase your rent today by following a few simple steps?
Good news – YOU CAN.
Step one – Ditch the estate agent
We’ve already written about our issues with estate agents and why we no longer use them. The history is long, complex and exceptionally infuriating so let’s skip over it and stick to the number one reason why you don’t need an agent – you can do it yourself for free.
These days there are so many free tools online for new landlords which do the estate agents job for them and all without you giving up a finders fee and 15% a month of your rental income.
You’ll probably find that you give a better service too and a happy tenant is more likely to hang around for the long term.
We use Openrent to find and reference our tenants. They even sort the boring contracts out too. We secure the deposits ourselves in the DPS and we carry out the inspections on our own. Congratulations, you’ve just saved yourself a fortune.
Step 2 – Buy a cheap tin of paint
If Kim Kardashian being on the front page of my newspaper every day has taught me anything, it’s that beauty is only skin deep (and that black isn’t really that slimming). I digress. You can apply the Kardashian principle to your property too.
People will pay more for a home that looks good but that doesn’t mean dropping £5,000 on a new kitchen. Often it is as simple as applying a new lick of (preferably cream) paint to the walls. It really spruces up a tired property and you’ll easily justify throwing an extra £50 on the monthly rent price. That’s a whopping £600 a year. For a can of paint.
Step 3 – Go back to school
I mean this figuratively. School wasn’t all that great the first time round and it won’t help you now. But what will help you is learning a few basic DIY techniques that will save you calling out a tradesman next time your tenant reports a problem.
Over the years we’ve never had any major issues arise in our properties but we have received our fair share of midnight phone calls from panicked tenants – usually involving water – it’s always water.
We have found that having basic DIY knowledge such as knowing how to change the washer on a tap or fix a washing machine with a broken pipe has saved us a small fortune in late night emergency calls to tradesmen.
Step 4 – Build a trade network
On the subject of tradesman, if you like to keep up with your property’s maintenance (and you should) it’s important that you don’t overspend on labour.
We’ve been ripped off way too many times to mention and we now have a deep-seated mistrust of all tradesmen (worse than estate agents) but we did find a way to minimise the risk.
Never hire somebody to do a job that hasn’t been recommended by someone you trust and who has personally tried their services and found them to be acceptable. When you do find someone good, keep hold of them. Refer them for other jobs and make sure you let them know the referral came from you. Always get at least three quotes for each job and don’t be shy about haggling.
Most tradesmen are self employed and will really appreciate your loyalty whilst repaying it with their own guaranteeing you a lifetime of good work for the right price.
Step 5 – Choose the right tenant
Nothing is more costly for landlords than tenant turnover.
If you are having to look for a new tenant every 6 months you are going to feel the pinch in your wallet. Even if you use Openrent and save on the finder’s fee you’re almost guaranteed to have some vacant time in the property and that is what will cost you the most.
Picking a good tenant is tough but it’s worth the extra time to get it right. Make sure you meet every tenant in person and make your own opinion on them – never entrust this to someone who doesn’t have a financial interest in the property. Remember, if your tenant leaves quickly, your agent gets extra money for finding you a new tenant.
Do you have any tips for increasing rental income? We’d love to hear them!