Q.I have recently purchased a flat in Chelsea as a buy-to-let that I will be refurbishing. How do I get the best price and attract the best tenant without breaking the bank?
A.I would always advise ensuring that the basic quality of finish is as high a standard as you can manage. Don’t skimp on the basics such as the type of kitchen or bathroom and always keep the colour scheme nice and neutral. Avoid any dramatic statements of style or taste that could possibly result in splitting the opinion of your potential tenants to one of “love or hate”. Try to strike a balance and aim to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. This should increase the number of viewings and subsequently the chance of a better offer quicker.
Strong colours and statement pieces of furniture are a risk and should really be avoided. As the letting industry becomes more and more dependent on the internet it is a great rule of thumb to imagine how the finished result will photograph. Neutral properties often look fresher and attract more interest. Today many tenants make their initial decisions about properties they would like to view based on details that they see on the internet.
Q.How do I avoid getting into any dispute with my tenant over the deposit at the end of the tenancy?
A. Firstly, ensure that you have a proper inventory drawn up by an independent inventory clerk with accompanying photographs: crucial should there be a “difference of opinion”.
Secondly, ensure that you always maintain a more formal relationship with your tenant during the tenancy. It is much more difficult to settle a dispute with a tenant if you have become too familiar. You need to be in a position where the facts of the situation do not get obscured.
Finally, try to ensure that your tenant knows who you are. It is not unheard of for landlords to take on the management of their own property and then do very little by way of communicating with their tenant.
Remember that if you are not involved and have no one managing the property you will be creating a void that if not filled by you, will be filled by a whopping problem such as a tenant not feeling truly accountable. Draker Lettings specialises in Belgravia, Chelsea, Kensington and Pimlico.