I’m not ashamed to admit that we have spent the last few days over Christmas in a comatose state – moving only to get yet more booze and junk food. Okay, maybe a little ashamed about that…
But now we’re slowly becoming productive human beings again as we approach new years eve and it’s given me the opportunity to think about what we will do differently in 2015 with regards to property.
We’ve been dabbling with the idea of buying abroad for a long time and maybe 2015 will be the year we finally do that, but before we invest any further I’d like to get everything in England running smoothly.
We’ve probably made every mistake in the book when it comes to both buying and renting property. The first home we bought had a shockingly low lease of 62 years remaining but as two excited and stupid 18 year old’s we didn’t consider this to be a problem – though I really wish our solicitor has given us a pointer. 9 years later we’re still arguing with the leaseholder over fair terms to renew it and if 2015 is the year this gets put to bed we’ll be really happy. We learnt a long time ago to fully understand an investment before we jump in with both feet but it’s a resolution we’ll carry into the new year, as we do every year.
We’ve also let our tenants get away with murder just to avoid confrontation. Too many times we’ve waived our right to retain the holding deposit to pay for a deep clean of the property after it has been left in a filthy condition. We’ve let our tenants leave early, pay late and duck out of an agreement at the last minute and financially we’ve been affected. We don’t want to be hard-arse landlords who treat their tenants badly but in being cautious of this we’ve become landlords that can easily be taken advantage of. We’ll be looking to find a better balance next year.
We’ve been pretty good about maintaining our rental properties and will actively make one improvement at each tenant turnover. The result is rental properties in good condition that rarely have problems and allow us to charge optimum rent, but our family home has suffered and could do with a little bit of TLC. We live in a large house that is lovingly nicknamed the money pit. It’s a beautiful old home which always seems to have something going wrong with it and we are continuously fighting fires rather than getting to decorate and enjoy it. This year we already know that we need to make some repairs to the roof and figure out once and for all what the water leak in the conservatory is all about, but I also really want to decorate and refurnish one room. Here’s hoping.
We wasted loads of money on shoddy estate agents and now we’re our own rental agents. We once got threatened with legal action by some second rate, high street, robbed in broad daylight with out pants down type of agency and we now refuse to do business with them at all. This year will be no different.
But most of all, I want 2015 to be the year we actually start to enjoy being property owners and landlords. Every year we learn a little more and things become a tiny bit easier but we still don’t love the role and it comes with much more stress than we could have imagined. Landlording is not easy and it certainly doesn’t make us rich, regardless of what the newspapers report. This year I want us to take everything more in out stride and get less worked up over property related problems. Who knows, maybe this year we’ll crack it.
Have you reflected on your property game? Do you plan to do anything differently this year? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo credit to Sean MacEntee