Letting your Freestanding Home
Category Articles for Investors
When we think of letting investment property it's almost exclusively flats, apartments, townhouses and clusters that come to mind. The term "Buy-to-Let" and the financial products offered by banks under this name are generally aimed at new high-density developments.
But what about freestanding houses? What can the investor or first-time landlord expect when listing a residential home to let?
The reasons for letting a family home are diverse; immigration, down scaling, relocation and in almost every case the owner would like to hold the property while the sales market recovers.
The monthly rental achievable depends on so many factors and it is best to have a qualified listing agent from a reputable Rental Agency inspect the property and give you a rental range.
Firstly see the property as a prospective tenant would. Tenants are no different to anyone else when looking for a home. They value privacy, safety and expect, as the valued clients they are, to pay for a fully functioning and well-maintained product.
In general, when a cottage is on the same property, it is not popular to look for two separate tenants and this makes the rental more difficult. Would you like to share your garden, entrance and Sunday afternoons with a stranger?
Security is a must with suburban homes. Having a comprehensive security system installed and in full working order makes for an attractive rental property. The option to link this to a security company is for the tenant to decide and pay for.
Pool maintenance and a garden service are important to maintain the value of a residential home and while it is the tenant's responsibility to pay for these, we suggest that the owner put the services in place, detail them on the lease and charge them to the tenant monthly.
Larger homes tend to have a character and "life" of there own with little niggles and issues that we as owners, especially if we lived in the home ourselves, have learnt to live with. A paying client is not going to see this in the same indulgent way and it is imperative to get a professional assessment of all maintenance issues and have these adressed.
Consider replacing all carpets with tiles, it will save you a lot of money in the long run. Install pre-paid electricity and water, if available, for the same reason.
Create an "Operating Manual" for the home detailing everything that a new occupant would need and appreciate, like where the 2nd DB board is that no one knows about. Where the irrigation system control box is and how it works. How to encode a new remote for the gate motor. Things like this and include a few personal notes. This is a great way to show a tenant that you care for your investment and would like the same from them.
Always work with a qualified Rental Agency that specializes in rentals and allow them to communicate with the tenant exclusively. This keeps the business relationships and lines of communication clear.
The South African rental market continues to mature and grow in desirability and sophistication. Medium to large free-standing homes are attractive for the same reason that more traditional rental properties are; affordability and flexibility.
Author: Jacques Erasmus