Being an estate agent is not just about selling a property as quickly as possible to make a profit (although this obviously plays a big part). It’s also good to make sure you build a strong reputation, that people keep coming back for more and referring you to their friends, colleagues and families. So, how do you achieve this? Well, you provide advice, tips, insight and show honesty and integrity when dealing with clients. One good idea is to offer complementary services, such as accountancy, lawyers, investment advice etc. A good avenue to go down is to offer the buy-to-let option to clients – even if they’re looking for a residential home. The simple question: “Have you thought about purchasing a property to let” is a great way to open the conversation – and then perhaps you could offer examples of potential yields depending on the area. You never know; even if someone’s looking for a home for their family, they could be open to the idea of purchasing another property.
If you decide to offer a potential client this kind of advice, it’s key that you give them the best tips. Here’s a quick look at the vital points we think are worth mentioning when advising about a buy-to-let investment:
Buy in an area you know
It’s difficult buying in an area you don’t know well or one which is very far from where you live. It’s a good idea to purchase a buy-to-let property in your home town or in your university town. If you don’t understand the market, it’s going to be hard for you to make good decisions when it comes to your property and will make it tough when it comes to reacting to problems if you live far away.
Look after your tenants
Void periods are one of the biggest issues for investors. Do anything you can to avoid them. A long one or many over a period of time can turn a profit into a loss. This is why it’s very important to look after your tenants – or find an agency that does this. If your tenant leaves, you’ll have to find a new one and will lose income. You also may have to pay an agency some fees to find someone – so a double whammy. Make sure you or your agent has a very good relationship with the tenants, one where they feel they can pick up the phone and get in touch whenever they want if problems arise.
Know your target market
Depending on the area, it’s a good idea to know exactly who you’re looking to attract to your property. If you’re investing in the centre of town in a place where young professionals are likely to flock, make sure the property is suitably located near transport, bars and local amenities. If you want to provide property for families, check out the school catchment areas and look at parks and green spaces. To paraphrase Socrates: Know thy client…
Keep one step ahead of the market
Make sure that you know how you’re going to make money on your property. Whether that means buying a property that needs work or the best property in an up-and-coming area; it’s a very good move to work out the maths. Researching how the best property investors operate is also important – many of them for example will avoid the new builds and instead go for an older property in a street nearby.
When you first buy a property it can be tempting to make it look great straight away. Obviously you need to make it presentable BUT don’t go overboard. How much WILL that chaise longue add to the rent? And shutters? They’re expensive; but unlikely to be the key factor for tenants. Ultimately, they tend to make their decisions on location and transport links.
We hope these tips have been helpful – of course there are MANY more – but we’ve only limited space.