Get your home spring-ready and banish those winter blues
There may still be a nip in the air, but the emergence of spring-flowering bulbs means that a change of seasons isn’t too far away.
Suffering from the winter blues or the general feeling of uncertainly created by the pandemic may have put moving plans on hold for some people.
But the transition from winter into spring presents a fantastic opportunity for landlords to step into an untapped market of people now looking to move; either through a conscious effort to leave the parental home, the desire for more independence or looking for a fresh start as a road map out of lockdown takes shape.
For many, spending during lockdown has decreased – with a halt to socialising and eating out among the factors leading to savings being made and people thinking differently about their finances.
With this in mind, landlords should use the time wisely to prepare their property in a number of ways.
Tips on showcasing your property
If you are serious about renting your property, now is the time to move your home out of the cold and keep one step ahead of the competition.
Spring is traditionally a time when people think seriously about moving home. Beating the rush means you can start showcasing your property earlier than others. There are many simple yet effective tips to give you the edge and attract prospective tenants to your property – remembering always that first impressions count.
- Look good – inside and out. It may be worth considering a neutral look for the interior of your property to freshen up the walls and even the woodwork if it is looking a little tired. When it comes to the exterior, check and repair any garden gates or fences, paint window frames and clean windowpanes, clear paths of weeds and make the entrance to your home inviting with some freshly planted pot plants. Giving your home kerb appeal is the first step to engaging with a tenant and creating a great first impression.
- Keep it simple. Less is more, as the saying goes – and you don’t have to spend a fortune when it comes to interiors. A few strategically placed throws and rugs to tone down any patterned sofas or carpets will bring older interiors up to date. Create some optical illusions by placing furniture at angles around the room and clever use of mirrors can also have a positive effect. Remember that all sofas must meet fire safety regulations.
- Make the most of your space. If you have a small kitchen, every inch of space counts. Try and clear worktops as much as possible to maximise the space. When it comes to the dining room, consider setting the table to show off the useable and family-friendly space.
- Outdoor areas. Gardens and patios can seem a bit dull at this time of year, but you can still make the most of what space you have with a general tidy up and simple repairs. Plant containers of late winter or early spring flowers and make the most of the view by cleaning the windows inside and out. A few bird feeders will attract wildlife and create a lovely outside picture. Remember – people are now putting greater emphasis on having an outdoor space as a result of the pandemic.
Prepare to repair!
Better natural light and brighter days make it easier to spot any flaws, as well as being a time when tenants are more likely to spend time outdoors – presenting more of an opportunity for them to pick up on maintenance issues.
They say that prevention is better than cure, so ensure tenants do not find the need to issue you with repair notices or maintenance calls. Consider conducting an exterior inspection of the property, paying particular attention to:
- Roof deterioration, including loose, missing, or broken tiles that could lead to leaks and water damage when it rains.
- Punctures or debris in rain gutters that might prevent melting snow or water from running off (and make sure the downspouts are leading water away from the house or apartment building’s foundation).
- Damage to house siding, including split or missing panels.
- Cracks in the pavement or driveway, which can lead to further erosion of the asphalt and more fractures if exposed to water.
- Make the inside of the property a priority but keep communicating with your tenant to give them assurances that any maintenance issues they have raised will be dealt with in a timely manner.
Get ready for an influx of rental inquiries
Although lease term periods can differ from property to property and from tenant to tenant, spring and summer are popular times for people to move to new properties or renew their leases. During spring, landlords will need to prepare for an increase in rental applications, property viewings, and new leases.
Be prepared that the housing market could also become more competitive. This could lead to an increase in landlords’ rental prices, but a word of caution – think about any rise carefully in comparison with your local competitors which may push prospective tenants to rent elsewhere, or out of the rental market altogether. Don’t forget to do your research, find out what competitors are charging and emphasis your own property’s USPs.
Now may also be a good time to look at renewing your lease terms. Reviewing your current residential lease is good practice, to see if everything is working for both you and your tenants. If a face to face meeting to discuss any reviews is difficult in the current climate, arrange a video call with your tenant/s.
Topics to discuss with your tenants before renewal may include:
- Any changes to the property. Your tenants might want to paint their living space or replace or add electrical fixtures like outlets, lights, and lamps.
- Changes to responsibilities. Many landlords will adjust their rent prices in exchange for the tenants taking on more responsibility for maintaining the property. For example, if a landlord rents the top and bottom floors of a house to separate tenants, they might make one responsible for lawn care in exchange for reducing their rent price.
If you have a property that would like to discuss the management of, or you are looking to become a portfolio landlord, speak to a member of the City and County team today, to understand more about the benefits of partnering with us.