With the Commonwealth Games round the corner, and investment flooding into the region, Birmingham is grabbing everyone’s attention – specifically buy-to-let investors. This has led to quite an impressive rise in rent prices, with Zoopla reporting an increase of 3.3% in Birmingham. However, buying an investment property is only one aspect of the buy-to-let journey: choosing the right letting agent in Birmingham is vital for ensuring that your assets are in capable hands. Thankfully, Centrick have lined up our top ten tips for Birmingham property owners that are looking to rent out their latest investment:
Centrick recommends starting your search for the best Birmingham lettings agents by looking locally. This is more than just convenient for you: local lettings agents will have all the relevant knowledge and experience to get your property let quickly. They will be able to understand what tenants in your neighbourhood are looking for and utilise this to advertise your property in a way that maximises its appeal. Even better, viewings will be easy if your letting agent is close-by. This also gives your future tenants peace of mind knowing that in the event of any maintenance issues, their managing agent is a short trip away and can recommend the best local tradespeople to help.
Speaking of maintenance issues, it’s important that you decide which level of involvement you have with the day-to-day management of your property. Many landlords choose to completely delegate to their managing agent and eliminate the time and potential stress of being so closely involved in handling their investment. However, it is still commonplace for landlords to handle their tenancy on their own, especially if they have prior experience. A good lettings agent such as Centrick will be able to advise which management package is most suitable for you.
Before you sign on with a Birmingham lettings agency, make sure you request information on how they handle their referencing procedures and safety certificates. An agency like Centrick will happily carry out tenant employment and landlord references, right to rent checks, and identity checks for any prospective tenants that have applied to live at your property. Any agency should also draw up a standard tenancy agreement, and tell you which certificates to prepare – these include up-to-date EPC’s and EICR’s that are compliant with the most recent regulations.
Perhaps the most important feature to look for in a lettings agent is drive – are they being proactive in finding you a tenant? In the worst-case scenario, your property could be sat on the market and receiving no interest, which could be financially detrimental to you and your income. We recommend looking at your chosen agent’s marketing methods to evaluate how proactive they are. Are they active on property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla, the two industry leading platforms? Do they have any potential tenants in their existing contacts that are searching for a property that is similar to yours?
For the sake of tenants and landlords, it is imperative that tenancy deposit funds are secured within a reputable protection scheme. In the event of any fraudulent activity, landlords and tenants will be reimbursed for any losses – but only if the relevant funds are stored within a Client Money Protection Scheme. Centrick recommends asking your chosen agency for further details about how to protect your investment.
For those considering a full management package with their agency, it’s worth talking to your property manager about the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, which holds up to five weeks rent from your tenant which can be utilised to fix any damages that occur during the length of the tenancy. Your managing agent will hold these funds on your behalf and acts as a form of safeguard against potential indemnities. As with the Client Money Protection Scheme, ensure that you’re asking your managing agent about the TDS.
Your Birmingham letting agent should be aware of any pieces of legislation that need to be verified for the safety of your ingoing tenants. For example, smoke alarms should be located on each floor of your property, and carbon monoxide detectors are compulsory in any rooms with open fuel burning facilities. Escape routes should be readily available in the event of a fire and, if you’re renting out an HMO, it’s crucial that fire extinguishers are readily available.
Whilst your property is being lived-in by somebody else, it’s important that your Birmingham property is being checked routinely to ensure it is in top shape. Lettings agencies such as Centrick schedule in inspections regularly so that we can keep an eye on your investment. We are also able to deploy reputable tradespeople to your property should anything go awry. Any reputable agency should have a list of recommended plumbers, gas engineers and general maintenance repair companies – check with your chosen agency and research their recommendations.
It’s worth requesting further details regarding a ‘maintenance float’: this is a sum of money set aside for any repairs and can usually be dipped into without the permission of the property owner. Your letting agent will be able to tailor this float to your needs in terms of cost, and which repairs can be carried out without hassling the owner.
Now for the last step – clarify how you wish to receive your rent payments. Make sure you agree on a set payment frequency, arrange the correct payee account, and clarify any costs you owe to the managing agency.
Centrick Birmingham are proud to be able to offer our clients and tenants all of the above with our award-winning service. For more information on how we can help you make the most out of your property, whether you’re a seasoned buy-to-let investor or simply considering your first rental, contact us using the form below:
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