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20 ways to becoming a successful landlord

HMT Lettings and Management share their expert advice…

1. Seek advice – if you are new to the rental market, or are entering a new region, then speak to the local agents. They have lots of experience and can offer advice on investment properties and local trends.

2. Be realistic – expecting a property to be let straight away at the full asking price to your ideal professional couple would be great, but not entirely realistic.

3. Be flexible – people are individual in tastes, needs and desires, and as such if you can be flexible in your approach to offers on your property, then you are likely to gain more respect from your tenants and ultimately hold onto them for longer periods.

4. Scan the market – be aware of market trends and fluctuations, this will help you decide if you are justified in raising your rent, but don't be greedy.

5. Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself – it is all too easy to leave issues until the next tenants have gone, but this can lead to ill feeling and future problems.

6. Leave the property as you would wish to find it – if the property is dirty at the start it will be dirty at the end.

7. Aim for long-term rental – not higher rental – changing tenants takes time, money and effort.

8. Do a proper job – if you are going to paint the walls then paint the woodwork and ceilings as well. Half measures just highlight other problems.

9. Your taste is not the same as taste – don't force your ideas of taste and design onto others who will probably have different ideas.

10. Minimal is king – keep it as simple and neutral as possible.

11. Keep open the lines of communication – by keeping in touch wit your tenants/agency on a regular basis you can ensure that problems are actioned quickly, and that unexpected issues are not unexpected.

12. Always keep an up to date inventory – even in unfurnished properties.

13. Expect wear and tear – rental properties will need updating more regularly than your own home. Accidents happen and things wear out, so be prepared to expect wear and tear.

14. Seek proper references – by ensuring you have referenced the tenants correctly you will be able, in the main, to avoid any unexpected problems.

15. A stitch in time saves nine – if a maintenance problem occurs then fix it immediately, by leaving the problem it will invariably turn from minor into major.

16. Don't walk a financial tightrope – be realistic with your budgeting and how much return you expect on your investment.

17. Keep with the times – in this competitive market tenants have high expectations.

18. If it is precious, don't leave it – never leave items of sentimental value – what is a precious chair to you is just a seat to your tenant.

19. Ensure your contract is comprehensive – off the shelf contracts will not necessarily give you the cover you may need. Saving money through buying off the shelf could lead to expensive problems at a later date.

20. Speak to the professionals - agencies are there to make life easy for you and to advise with problems. They will charge for their services, but can be invaluable when things don't go to plan.