Through the discussions on the Property Tribes forum, I get a feel of what Landlords are interested in and it gives me a great insight into the way they think!
Some discussions gain a lot of traction … others are left languishing in the doldrums.
So, I have put together a list of the 5 things that I believe are most under-valued by Landlords:
1. The inventory.
To my mind, the outcome of the tenancy is decided at the beginning, not the end. This means setting up a tenancy correctly in the first place, ensuring the use of the correct documentation.
A detailed inventory and Schedule of Condition is absolutely vital to ensure that the contents and condition of the property are documented and agreed by the tenant from the start. This creates a “benchmark” from Day 1 and can be used on Check out of the tenant to assess any damages.
A robust and detailed property inspection will reduce the amount of deposit disputes that go to adjudication and protects both the Landlord and the tenant.
You would not hand over the keys to your Aston Martin without documenting its condition, yet many Landlords happily hand over the keys to their most important asset without performing an inventory.
Letting agent, Sally Lawson, spoke to the digital inventory app Imfuna about why she believes inventories are vital.
2. A reputable & experienced Lettings Agent
It is a personal and commercial choice whether to self-manage or employ the services of a lettings agent on a fully managed basis. My personal belief is that a knowledgeable and experienced lettings agent is worth their weight in gold. They are an indispensible part of my team.
Their local knowledge is invaluable and they take away a lot of the day to day “hassle” of being a Landlord, leaving me free to get on with other more important stuff.
I do have a caveat though. I think it is vital to work with a lettings agent that is registered with a professional membership and regulatory body such as ARLA or NALS, and who also has client money protection in place. SAFEagent is a simple signpost to these agents.
3. Social media and the social web
Being a landlord used to be somewhat of a lonely business, often working in isolation from our peers. Not any more thanks to the social web and sites like Twitter, FaceBook, and Property Tribes!
As Landlords, we can learn and grow our businesses through these sites, make new connections, find tenants, market our holiday lets, share deals, discuss strategies … the list goes on.
I hear many Landlords saying that they don’t have time to read forums … when answers that they may need to progress their business are just a click away.
The social web is one massive hive mind of information and contacts. It’s a “serendipity generator”. It delivers what you need, when you need it.
Having a group of like-minded people around you is vital to success in my opinion.
If you have friends; if you have trusted contacts; if you have people who like you, then you will survive thanks to their support.
The people who will find it toughest in the coming few years – as the words “cuts”, “difficulties” and “mess” ring in their ears – will be the ones who have shunned networking, social networks and cultivating friendships within their business circles.
The people who want to remain “business-like”, who are rather aloof and distant, will be the ones hardest hit in the next few years, simply because their behaviour patterns do not generate the level of support they will need.
The Landlord of the future will need to be a digital Landlord!
4. Proximity to your properties.
There’s simply nothing that beats “knowing your patch” and being able visit your properties within a relatively short drive.
Many property clubs and portfolio builders will tell you “You don’t need to see your properties, they are just grey boxes that make you money”. Nonsense!
Local knowledge, walking the streets, speaking to people in the area, being on hand for problems, being invested in the local community are all vital for success Landlord-ism to my mind.
Properties hundreds of miles away leave a major disconnect and can cause significant hassle and heartache, especially if you do not have a good lettings agent to support you. (See point 2).
Yes tenants! I hear too many people getting into property to make use of “other people’s money” to build their personal wealth. But too often, the other person who is supplying this money via the rental payment – the tenant – is forgotten when dreams of get rich quick are being offered.
As a Landlord, you are a service provider and responsible for your tenant. Without tenants, you don’t actually even have a business!
Tenants are not a pay-check for you to pay your mortgage and keep the difference. They are complex human beings with needs and problems that you will get involved with somewhere down the line.
To de-humanise your tenant into a rental payment is one of the worst things a landlord can do.
Related reading: Questions to ask yourself before becoming a Landlord.
What would you add to my list?
Please comment on this blog or join the discussion on Property Tribes >>> here.
Follow me on Twitter: @4_walls
Vanessa Warwick is a former TV presenter, turned professional Landlord, consultant, and speaker. Along with her husband Nick Tadd, she founded Property Tribes, which is now the U.K.’s busiest on-line Landlord and investor community. Nick and Vanessa have just launched their new tech product, Yulpa, an on-line “property office/filo-fax” that helps you organise and manage your entire property life in one place. It comes with an iPhone app that does auto due diligence on any property being considered for purchase.
Vanessa and Nick advocate the use of technology and digital and social communications in property, and speak at events all over the U.K. as well as consulting for the BBC on property. They invest mainly in flats London and family houses in the South East and are also big advocates of holiday lets, having two upmarket holiday lets on the South Coast that achieve above-average occupancy thanks to the couple’s web efforts and vertical marketing strategies.