A Guide to Letting for New Landlords

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and enter the private letting market. Congratulations! But now that you’ve made the choice, what’s the next step? What can you do to make this endeavour a success?

In this article we’ll answer some of the common questions new landlords face. We’ll also show why we’re your best choice for letting agents in the York area.

Is now a good time to become a landlord?

Yes! The demand for private properties is very high at the moment, and it’s expected to increase in the next few years:

 –  According to Homelet 4.3 million households rented privately in 2015. By 2029, more than half of people aged 20-29 will be renting privately.

 – The number of private landlords is also increasing. The Guardian reported that there were 1.75 million private landlords in the UK in 2016.

 – According to The Sunday Times property accounts for almost 60% of the UK’s net wealth. The majority of top earners operate in this sector.

These are some key stats we’ve previously identified. Find out more about becoming a landlord in our previous article here.

How do I find the right letting agent?

Letting agents can make being a landlord far less stressful. However, it’s vital you use one with the right skills for your purposes.

One of the best qualities a letting agent can have is a keen understanding of their local area.

They shouldn’t just know what makes a city great now; they should also know about wider trends and upcoming neighbourhoods. They can get down to the practical benefits of a city (like transport links and job opportunities) and share those with their clients.

Quantum has several years of experience as a letting agent in the York area. This has given our team intimate knowledge of York’s residential areas, and we can help you make the best choices as a York landlord. With offices in both York and Bishopthorpe we have an excellent understanding of the surrounding areas as well.

What does Quantum know about York?

We know that York is an excellent place to live. House prices (whether you’re buying or renting) are typically cheaper than elsewhere in the UK, and the heart of the city is friendly to pedestrians thanks to low traffic levels.

There’s also many different property types to choose from, including new apartments and older housing developments.

It’s that mix of old and new that makes York so popular. Earlier this year, York was named the best place to live in Britain by the Sunday Times thanks to its ‘perfect mix of heritage and hi-tech.‘ Ancient history rubs merrily along with stylish cafes, innovative businesses and–perhaps best of all–the fastest internet in Britain.

We’ve written about York’s many benefits ourselves; learn more about York’s great outdoor spaces, and why York is a great city for rail links with the surrounding area.

What is York’s tenancy market like?

York is favoured by young professionals at the moment, thanks to the city’s shift away from manufacturing and towards services.

York Council’s latest economic strategy outlines this in more detail: “We’re doing very well in financial and professional services, as well as some areas of scientific research”. York Council also aims to provide around 7,000 high value jobs and up to 120,000 square meters of office-led commercial space over the next five years.

quantum colourful keys in front of the shambles cobbles

York’s two universities add to the number of professionals living in the city. Graduates from the University of York and York St John University often stay local to start their careers, working for major companies like Hiscox, Abingdon Health, BT and Nestlé/Rowntree.

When they aren’t working, young professionals often take advantage of York’s vibrant social and cultural scene. Besides the museums and green spaces, residents can unwind at quality bars like Kennedy’s, Revolution and The Artful Dodger.

All this means there’s plenty of people looking for rental properties in York. Meaning now is an excellent time to jump into the letting market yourself.

How do I choose the best property?

While there’s bound to be some overlap, different types of tenants can look for very different things in a property.

We suggest you target young professionals with your property, given how many are working in York right now. Flats are very popular with young professionals, especially if they’re close to transport links or workplaces. They also have the advantage of lower rents, insurance and repair costs while giving the tenant an added feeling of flexibility.

This doesn’t mean you should dismiss houses altogether, though. Some professionals may prefer to live in an HMO (or house in multiple occupation) rather than a flat. You can learn more about HMOs here.

If you want to target professional families, you’ll need to shift your focus a little. They’ll definitely value good roads and transport links, but they’ll also want good schools to send their children to. Space for children to play (like parks or a garden) will definitely make your property stand out from the crowd.

The age of the property can be another factor in your property hunt. Newer properties may come with less maintenance issues and better WiFi coverage. However, older properties can have more space and character than modern developments. Think carefully about what’s most attractive to your prospective tenants.

Should I use a managed letting service?

A managed letting service takes a lot of stress out of the letting process. When you sign up to our letting service, we take care of the following tasks:

 – We’ll collect the rent from tenants every month and send you a monthly breakdown of income and expenditure. We can also chase late payments if needs be.

 – We’ll inspect your property regularly and discuss any maintenance issues with you.

 – If your property has been left in poor condition, we can approach tenants in a friendly way and get them to put the property in good order.

To ensure there are no nasty surprises, we have a clear breakdown of fees for all our clients. We charge our managed letting service as a fixed percentage of your property income. You can read more about this here.

What if I want to manage a property myself?

Landlords can (of course) let a property without going through a letting service. If you want to do this, remember that you have many different responsibilities to think about. Some of these include:

 – Checking tenants can legally rent in the UK

 – Protecting a tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme

 – Maintaining utilities and electrical appliances

 – Providing tenants with certain documents (like the government’s how to rent checklist)

We’ve created a more in-depth list of landlord responsibilities, which you can read on this page.

If you let to professional tenants you can usually expect good behaviour and timely payment. However, there are no guarantees about any tenant you let to, and any issues that arise must be dealt with by you.

Letting agents can seem like an unnecessary expense. But they’re also equipped to deal with many issues you may be unprepared for as a new landlord.

How can I make my property attractive?

Once you’ve decided who you’re targeting and found a property to let, you’ll now want to put the property’s best foot forward. Luckily this can be a fairly simple process:

 – Declutter the property as much as possible. Get rid of excess boxes, ornaments and other non-essentials; remember that your tenants need to see themselves living here, not someone else. However, make sure it isn’t completely bare! Your tenants will need some creature comforts, especially if you’re letting it as a furnished property.

 – Refresh any shabby areas of the property. You don’t need to redecorate from top to bottom, but you can repaint doors and kitchen cabinets if they’ve gotten scratched or out of date. You can also put inexpensive, neutral bedding in bedrooms to make them a ‘clean slate’ for potential tenants.

 – Consider the outside of the property. If you’ve got a lawn that needs cutting or a driveway full of weeds, make sure you tidy them up before photographing. You should also look at gutters and window frames, and make sure they’re not dirty or shabby.

Whatever you decide to do, remember not to get too carried away with your efforts. You don’t want to spend so much on home improvement that you negate any short-term income!

How can Quantum help make my property attractive?

When you finish tidying up your property, it’s time to start photographing it. At Quantum we pride ourselves on taking excellent photographs of our properties that present them in the best light. We call this our ‘Let it shine’ approach.

You can see the difference our photography service makes in our results page.

let shine property image collection from Quantum of a kitchen and 2 living rooms

It’s always better to have quality photos as soon as you list a property. This is because in the property market, first impressions really do make all the difference.

A prospective tenant that’s put off by ugly photos isn’t going to give you a second chance. Adding new photos after the fact won’t suddenly draw them back!

You also need to remember that finding a property is a highly emotive issue. People aren’t just looking for a roof over their heads; they’re looking for a place they’ll be living in for some time. Therefore, a house that’s comfy, tidy and clean will be far more appealing than one which is cluttered.

Our selling guides can help you get the very best from a property you want to let. Click here to read them.

As you can see letting a property can be a stressful, demanding business. But with some help from one of the top letting agents in the York area, you can minimise that stress and enjoy the financial benefits of being a landlord!

Give us a call today on 01904 631631 or visit our “Letting” page to find out how you can join us as a landlord. 

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