As the deadline looms for making resolutions for a better year ahead, seasoned landlords are advising their less-experienced counterparts to invest the time in getting to know their tenants.
A survey conducted by online lettings agency, Upad, reveals that one of the biggest regrets of experienced landlords when they first started off, was not meeting and vetting prospective tenants themselves (12% of respondents). A further regret was failing to appreciate the value of tenant referencing checks (10%).
James Davis, Founder of Upad who himself is a portfolio landlord, comments: “I’ve always promoted the value in getting to meet a prospective tenant face to face and the fact that almost a quarter of the landlords we questioned regret not investing the time in properly doing so, highlights what an important part of letting a property this is.
There are many aspects of a prospective tenant’s character that can be confirmed via legal and financial checks, but traits such as punctuality, appearance and willingness to be honest and open, can only really be ascertained via a good old-fashioned face to face conversation. Indeed, our own data has previously demonstrated that over 90% of tenants actually like to get to meet their landlord too so it’s a win:win situation which simply requires a small investment of your time.”
Indeed, such is the importance with which Upad’s landlords hold meeting prospective tenants, that when asked what one piece of advice they’d give to those starting off in the buy to let market, it was the clear winner with over one third citing this as the most essential piece of advice.
Julian Richards has been a landlord for 14 years and couldn’t agree more. He says: “It’s not always easy to find the time to meet with every prospective tenant but making small sacrifices to free up the time to do so can really pay dividends when you secure a tenant who will remain in situ for several years.
If you’re trying to let a property that is likely to prove particular popular, then an open day event at which you’re present is always a good idea too.”
Upad’s research also revealed that financial issues continue to be of significant concern to landlords. Eleven per cent felt that when they started out in buy to let, they had misjudged the rental value of their property, whilst 27% felt that the best piece of advice they could give to a new landlord would be to do their sums and ensure they’re prepared for unforeseen financial circumstances. Looking forward to the coming year, a third of respondents stated that continued taxation changes would prove to be their greatest cause for concern.
James concludes: “There’s no denying that the days of having enough spare cash to invest in an investment property and then sitting back to watch the rent roll in are, for most landlords at least, well and truly over. Issues relating to taxation, profitability and overall affordability, not to mention planning for unforeseen circumstances, play on all but the most nonchalant landlord’s minds.
However, the fact that forging a genuine connection with tenants continues to stand above financial concerns for experienced landlords serves to demonstrate the extent to which investment in the buy to let market remains a long-term strategy, rather than simply a quick win. That’s also something that will be well worth remembering as we enter a year which is likely to bring much more of the unexpected.”