A buy to let investment should ideally deliver impressive returns with minimal stress and these two objectives are most readily maximised when your property is occupied by a reliable long term tenant. Too many letting agents simply sign up the first tenant who comes along, with little consideration for the long term implications of accepting the wrong tenant - even though that prospective tenant might look great on the surface.
So when choosing a tenant, it's important firstly to find out what their motivation is. Is renting a long term plan for them, or are they hoping to buy their own property next year? Do they have a job that is likely to send them away? Is their family situation likely to change so that they might need to upsize or downsize within the foreseeable future?
Secondly, is there anything about your property that might prove to be a disappointment to a tenant once they have moved in? If so, they might just want to move as soon as your tenancy agreement allows. For example, is the property noisy due to a main road nearby? Then make sure the tenant sees the property during rush hour as well as during a quieter time. Is it some distance to public transport? Then don't exaggerate the walking time - encourage the tenant to walk to the station to see for themselves, before they sign your contract.
Once your tenant has moved in, how are they being treated? Does your letting agent ensure that your tenant feels welcome and that there is always someone on hand should the need arise? Are maintenance issues anticipated and dealt with quickly, professionally and with a smile? It's always worth over-delivering on solutions too, such as not just fixing a leak, but repainting any damage caused - ideally consulting with the tenant on their choice of colour too! Show the tenant that you regard as important those things that they might regard as small!
Our next article in this series will highlight a further six ideas for ensuring that your valuable tenants continue to deliver impressive returns.