Choosing an investment property takes care and consideration to ensure that your purchase will work for you in the years to come. As a landlord, you will need to anticipate the needs of your tenants, ensure you are able to meet a number of strict legal requirements and manage the property as a business, not as a home.
Whether you’re considering buying an investment property in Brisbane, or have an investment that is not working as well as it should, we know that managing your property portfolio is more complex than it looks. To help make things easier, we’ve compiled a list of 10 tips for successful property management to help Landlords maximise their investment:
1. Location is everything
If you’re searching the property market for a new investment, take time to understand where your tenants might need to live. Think about the kind of tenants you are hoping to attract: students, for example will need to be within easy reach of a university, while professionals may prefer strong public transport links. Families are likely to want a quiet neighbourhood with extra yard space and easy access to the shops.
If you’re already sitting on a property portfolio, all is not lost – if you’re struggling to find tenants then perhaps you’re looking for the wrong kind of tenants for the location your properties are in. Speak to a specialist property manager in Brisbane to understand who your property would suit.
2. Insure your investment
While building insurance is obviously important, it won’t cover damage caused by your tenants or if they fail to pay the rent. Landlord, or investment property insurance offers you the security and peace of mind of knowing that your income is protected if a tenant absconds. Most policies will also offer income protection if your property is empty for a period of time.
3. Make your property presentable
Tempting as it is to cut costs on a property that won’t be your home, careful investment in repairs and cosmetic improvements before letting will increase its value in your tenants’ eyes. A well-maintained property is more likely to attract the “right kind of tenants”, those who will take care of your investment and pay the rent on time.
When preparing your property to let, ensure that the property is clean and presentable, and that all the fittings are in good order. Avoid small annoyances that give the impression you don’t really care, such as broken light bulbs or drawers that don’t work. Take time to clear and tidy the garden, clean your windows and clear the gutters and drains – remember, first impressions count.
4. Set the right price
Although it can be tempting to hold out for the best possible rent, the market will usually dictate if this tactic will work. Overpricing your property can prove to be a costly decision if nobody wishes to pay the price you demand. A small decrease in rent can fill your property faster, meaning less vacancy time and a higher likelihood your tenant will stay.
5. Choose your tenants carefully
In the rush to fill your property, it can be easy to overlook the most important consideration of all – your tenants. Poor tenants can make a landlord’s life a miserable one by failing to take reasonable care of the property or missing payments on a regular basis.
Don’t let yourself be seduced by tenants who are willing to pay over the odds – tenants who readily accept higher rates are often poor payers who know their records will prevent them finding anywhere else. No matter how keen they are to move in, take the time and trouble to perform the necessary checks on all prospective tenants before an agreement is signed.
6. Maintain a professional relationship
No matter how nice your tenants are, it is important to keep a professional distance in case things go wrong. Managing disputes is far harder if you have built an emotional connection with your tenants, and it is harder to say ‘no’ if they can’t pay the rent. It’s important to treat your property as the business investment it is.
7. Insist on regular payments
It helps to set a precedent with your tenants by staying on top of the rental payments from the very first month. Regularly chasing the rent makes your investment property a burden that a busy landlord simply does not need, while your outgoing expenses continue to rack up.
It’s important to manage your property as the business investment it is, insisting on regular on-time payments from your tenants. Consistently take action as soon as rent becomes overdue to communicate to your tenants that late payments will not be accepted.
8. Carry out regular maintenance
As a landlord, you have a legal obligation to carry out repairs within a reasonable period of time. If a tenant injures themselves as a result of your failure to carry out a repair, you can be held legally liable. To avoid this unpleasant outcome, it helps to carry out regular maintenance on your property. This has the added advantage of reducing repair costs in the long term as problems are addressed before they become severe.
9. Regularly inspect your property
A regular inspection is your opportunity to make sure the property is compliant – that smoke alarms are working, for example, and that there are no issues that could present a danger to your tenants. Maintenance issues can be identified and addressed, as well as ensuring your tenants are meeting the terms of their lease.
Visiting the property on a regular basis, you can ensure they are keeping the property clean and not causing any kind of damage. Keep a careful record of any issues as this will be relevant when the reclaim their bond.
10. Hire a property manager
Self-managing your property may present a small financial saving, but inexperienced landlords are likely to get burned. Hiring a professional property manager for your Brisbane property allows you to enjoy the benefits of owning a property without having to invest disproportionate amounts of your time.
Colleen Miles is an experienced property manager for Brisbane suburbs such as Indooroopilly, Karana Downs and Kenmore. Her experience and knowledge of the local market, combined with a strong business sense, reduces the burden on you as a landlord by attracting reliable tenants and managing inspections, maintenance and collecting the rent.
If you’d like to know more about how Colleen can help making your life easier as a landlord, please get in touch today.