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Developing a property lettings and management strategy

By Surrenden Invest | January 13, 2017

Buying a property is just the first step in becoming a property investor. Property management can be very complex and time consuming, so hiring an agent to take care of day to day matters may be the best solution.

Take the hassle out of property management with an agent
After making your first property investment, you need to prepare the property for occupancy, and then find reliable tenants to pay your rent. Few investors appreciate how much work is involved to turn an investment into a profitable income. Fortunately, there are many good agents who specialise in property lettings, so for a modest fee you can pass the hard work on to somebody else.

Why use a lettings agent?
An agent can literally do everything for you, from picking up the keys from the property developer to arranging the sale of the property when you are reading to cash in on your residential property investment. Agents can find tenants, chase for late payments, and evict tenants if necessary. An agent will also ensure that the property is in sound condition, and arrange for repairs to be carried out when required.

When should you hire an agent?
You should get an agent in place as soon as you have purchased a property, and before you complete the transaction. Your agent will need to check the property and then start marketing it before you complete so that you can get tenants in as soon as you take ownership.

What does an agent do exactly?
An agent’s role covers three areas: pre-occupation, property management, and re-sales.

Pre-occupation tasks:
• Collecting keys and documents from the developer
• Property inspections, dealing with snagging issues, safety checks and utility meter readings
• Providing legal advice and dealing with compliance issues before letting
• Arranging furniture delivery
• Marketing the property, conducting viewings and negotiating price
• Performing background checks on tenants
• Writing up tenancy agreements
• Keeping an inventory of items
• Taking deposits and managing the owner’s UK Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme account

Property management tasks:
• Collection of rent and payment to landlord
• Ensuring bills and service charges are paid
• Acting as customer service rep for tenants
• Inspecting the property at the end of a tenancy and agreeing deductions from deposit when required

Re-sales tasks:
• Marketing the property when a tenancy ends, or arranging the sale of the property

The importance of snagging
Snagging is a building term which simple means searching for any problems that need to be resolved before paying the final instalment to a builder. Typically, snagging will include decorating issues, plumbing, flooring, loose switches, quality of finish on tiling, and problems with kitchen units or appliances – although it covers everything. It is always easier to get a developer to fix problems before completing the purchase.

When does a property need furnishing?
Most people who rent do not own a great deal of furniture, so providing furniture helps to secure tenants quickly – you can always put the furniture into storage if a tenant does not require it. Furniture includes beds, wardrobes (although fitted is the best solution), armchairs and a dining table. Always ensure there is space for personal belongings and small items of furniture, as many tenants will have a few items of their own.

Future planning
International investors can currently find some fantastic deals in the UK thanks to the weak pound, but managing a property from overseas is a complex task. Speak to Surrenden Invest to discuss your needs today.

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