Friday, April 13, 2012

Is your property ready to be re-let?

So you’re about to have your property come up for re-letting? There are a number of things you need to consider before you go in guns blazing to sign up a new tenant.
The time between tenants when re-letting a property is an ideal time to do those little bits of pieces of maintenance and renovations needed to increase the life and quality of your rental.
Found a leaking tap? Great! Replace all the washers throughout the property, if one is going, it won’t be long before the others follow. If you envisage having a tenant living in your property over the summer months clean and service the air conditioning units, and while you’re there, replace any missing light bulbs. You can also look at the maintenance level of your gardens, if the maintenance level is quite high, look at removing some plants, maybe place some pavers or re-lay the mulch and most importantly, look at your flooring and painting throughout.

Time and time again landlords neglect or put off simple maintenance and the opportunity to freshen up their property. As a rough guide, in a rental property carpet should be replaced every 7-10 years and re-painted every 5-7 years.
The most common misconception is that by doing this necessary maintenance you will increase the rental return of your property, however unfortunately the majority of the time this is not the case. Replacing carpet and re-painting is more of a necessity, it can be hard trying to find a tenant that will accept a property in a run down condition. Rental prices are down and tenants are ‘picky’ over properties that are not presented well.
By replacing carpet and re-painting (in neutral tones is best) the property looks fresh and clean and it is therefore more enticing to potential tenants (they think they’re getting more for less).
If you need to replace other flooring as well as carpet i.e. lino or laminate, go somewhere that services both items, this way you can negotiate a much better price. Be honest with the suppliers as well, there are some low maintenance long wearing carpets which are ideal for rental properties, so ensure you notify them that flooring is for a rental property.
Spending an extra couple of days doing some work on your investment property is a lot better than leaving you property vacant for a number of weeks where tenants will not apply because of the condition. Also remember, spending a little bit of money at a time to upkeep the property saves you a lot of money down the track where little issues can become big issues.
If you use a property manager to look after your investment ask them at re-letting time if they believe any maintenance needs to be completed. Weigh up the money that it will cost you to do compared to the weekly rent you may miss out on by not doing it. Often enough it will be more beneficial to jump on the maintenance straight away then to wait.

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