It pays to sit down once a year and review how your buy-to-let is performing and flag up any potential issues looming on the horizon.
We’re all familiar with an MOT, an annual check-up to ensure your car is safe and good to go for the year ahead. Well, let’s apply the same concept to a buy-to-let investment.
Even if your current tenancy is ticking along nicely, a property MOT can be a helpful exercise to ensure that you:
Are up to date with government regulations and maintenance
Have the right rental strategy
Are not spending more than you need to on your mortgage and repairs.
So, let’s go!
Do the maths
Go through your records and calculate your return on investment and rental yield (there are online calculators to help you do this). See if you can identify any possible savings (consider everything from landlord insurance, mortgage deal, accountancy fees, etc.). Even if these gains are small, they all add up.
Repairs and maintenance
Often tenants are reluctant to raise minor concerns for fear they’ll look petty or get the blame, so don’t wait for them to call you. Be proactive and get on top of any leaks, mould or drainage problems. Ensure you’re up to date with mandatory gas and electrical safety checks.
We all know energy prices are soaring. Ensure your property is well insulated and draught-proof. Don’t wait until the winter to get this job done. And think longer term, as new energy property rules are on the horizon.
Times change, but has your property? If your property looks tired and dated, you could be missing a trick. In some areas, the pandemic brought about a huge demographic shift that is being reflected in the rental market. Consider a cosmetic makeover or garden spruce-up so that you can target groups such as professionals, relocators or young families.
A property MOT isn’t just about money; it’s about time, too. If you self-manage, analyse the true cost of this task on your quality of life. If you’re finding the admin and legal requirements increasingly onerous, get a letting agent to take the burden off you. An agent’s expertise and market know-how may also save you money in the long run.
If you already have a letting agent, consider the quality of service you’re getting. Are your calls answered promptly? Is your agent meticulous when it comes to maintenance deadlines and routine checks? If you’re not happy, it’s time to shop around.
To learn more about the property management services we offer here at Gibbins Richards Lettings and Management Ltd, get in touch.