As a landlord who is dealing with an ever-changing market we hope this article provides you with some new ways of thinking about your investments, whether you own a portfolio or a single property. You are already a landlord and know the basics of what you’re doing, so it may be time to expand your portfolio. These tips will help you find your way through the first steps. Ask yourself, what is your end goal? Every individual takes a different path to their end goal, and property investments are no different. By reflecting on why and how you entered the market you will be able to tailor your position in terms of end result. For example, do you want us to manage your property for you, or simply to find you a tenant? If you’re looking for a long term investment you will focus more on capital gains than rental value, while an accidental landlord may prefer rental income to supplement their own lifestyle until they decide to change their tune. Identify where you will invest The next big question is where to invest. Portfolio landlords will likely be more comfortable looking outside their immediate area for properties when first-timers will prefer a property near where they live. Are you comfortable looking outside your immediate area? Can we get you in contact with another office to help you out with the hunch you’ve had about the next town across? Do your research, too. What are the transport links like? Are the schools high-performing? Is there a lack of a nightlife? Or a great one? By drilling down on the specifics, we will be best placed to get you something to suit your needs. Identify a target market This is one of the most difficult decisions for a new landlord – a property doesn’t sell to just anyone. Its area, its amenities, its typical rental value and its condition will have a major impact on who it will attract. Finding the demographic to suit all these things will make it a lot easier to plan the rest of your role as a landlord. For example, what issues can you expect to get from a family of tenants where a student tenant wouldn’t cause problems, and vice versa? It will also help your agent market the property, getting the right tenant into your property efficiently and replacing them quickly when they leave. Be a good landlord to your tenants You can have the best property in the world but you won’t reap the benefits if you don’t source good tenants. Fortunately we help you find the best tenants – but the job only starts there. The chances are you already know what it takes to be a successful landlord, but there’s always room for improvement or changes. You can ask us to manage your property for you or at the very least chase your tenants for their rent. Landlords know that finding a good tenant and treating them with respect is the route to a successful working relationship, so take the time to stay on top of maintenance issues and law changes to keep your tenant from the need to change property. This point is especially important considering recent law changes to the provision of Section 21 notices. It is the landlord’s responsibility more than ever to respond to tenant issues, otherwise you can lose your ‘power’ over a tenant. Budget intelligently Landlords play an inherently risky game at times, and many struggle to account for the difficulties that they face on a daily basis. In a recent survey, roughly 75% of landlords did not account for basic costs such as repairs, cleaning and mortgage interest, therefore overestimating their profitability. Before you plan on any investment you need to consider its possible outcomes, and the likely costs you need to budget for. It also helps to include void periods in these costings, so you know how long you are prepared to own an empty property for. As your agent we can help you dissect your investment and financials, plus we are in a position to help you fund further property purchases. Plan big, think big As discussed, every landlord should know their end goal before making an investment, and this is no different when expanding an existing portfolio. If you aren’t already, sign up to some landlord associations, subscribe to lettings newsletters, and consider a financial advisor. Bigger portfolios require more management and having all the information you need will hold you in good stead in the future. Our Fully Managed service will relieve you of the day-to-day stresses of letting your property. We will deal with maintenance, repairs, conduct management visits and serve end-of-tenancy notices on request. This is especially useful when your portfolio is starting to expand. As always, Martin & Co are here to help you find an investment path that matches your needs. If you have plans of expanding your portfolio, in your current area or around the country, please contact your local office today.