Essential Tips for New Landlords

September 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Real Estate

Many people are opting to rent out their properties to the bad sales climate within the property market. However they are not always familiar with the legal obligations and paperwork that is part of being a landlord.

You must first decide if the rental route is financially viable for your current situation. Consider the amount of time, money and effort you will need to dedicate to managing your role as a landlord, as well as the property itself. Finding suitable tenants can be a lengthy and time-consuming process, which is not advisable to rush through and simply choose the first applicant that wants to rent your property. Void periods, where you are receiving no rental income, are a hazard that comes with renting. This can be costly, and you will need to factor this into your business plan, in addition to the maintenance, upkeep and conversion costs of making your home rental friendly. It is a good idea to contact several local agents to get realistic evaluations of your expected rental income. Your tax bill may increase due to any rent you receive being counted towards your annual income and taxed accordingly. However you can offset mortgage interest payments, letting agency fees and maintenance costs.

It is worthwhile investing in your property to make it attractive to prospective tenants. A well-maintained, cared for flat is more likely to interest responsible renters as opposed to a run-down shabby apartment. See how competing local properties compare to the standard of your accommodation. Keep your target market in mind when giving the property an update. It is wise to keep the décor neutral and don’t over furnish.  As is there is a trend for more people to rent long-term before affording their own home, many already have their own home wares and furniture they will want to add to the property to create a homely atmosphere. By allowing this you will encourage them to stay longer, meaning less stress for you and lowering the risk of void periods.

Ensure that the entirety of the property is suitable for tenants to live in, keeping safety in mind at all times. This will be of paramount importance to families looking to rent your home, especially young parents. Remember that just because you have found something acceptable to live with whilst you are inhabiting the property, not all tenants will have the same view. Obtain a gas safety certificate from a CORGI registered engineer, as well as a hiring an electrician to check the wiring system throughout the property. It is also a good idea to install of at least one smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide detector. Furniture and furnishings should also have a fire safety label.

Inform your mortgage lender, in some cases your mortgage lender will remain the same. Most have separate mortgage plans and criteria for rental properties. You may find the lender forces you to switch to a buy-to-let mortgage with a higher interest rate. However you shouldn’t be tempted to keep quiet about the change in your circumstances. If you fail to inform them about it, you will be in breach of your mortgage conditions and your insurance may be invalid. This can be a costly mistake if you need to make a claim. You will need to change your insurance policy when you become a landlord and the use of the property becomes rental. You will still be responsible for buildings insurance on the property, as well as your own contents, fixtures and fittings. Specialist landlord insurance is created for this to cover eventualities.

Always treat your rental schemes as a proper business venture, with formal paperwork and procedures. This is especially important if you are renting to friends and family. These are arrangements are the most likely to go wrong and can lead to awkward confrontations. Create a formal tenancy agreement, the assured shorthold tenancy agreement is the standard for a minimum of six months lease, and guarantees you will get your property back at the end of the rental period.  Adapt your standard tenancy agreement to suit your needs and the specifics of your property e.g. if you have a garden, include regular maintenance of the garden and outside areas.  It may also be wise to include the requirement of a professional clean once the tenants have vacated the property, as everyone’s idea of clean is different. Keep your paperwork organised and easily accessible, as well as creating a detailed inventory upon each new tenant letting the premises. Making regular inspections of the property is a good idea, and you should also inform the tenants of any scheduled maintenance or improvements.

You should always add a guarantor as part of your rental agreement. This helps prevent any potential problems with missed rent payments leaving you out of pocket.

Opting to use a property management service can be of great benefit to novice landlords as they ensure all the correct paperwork is filed, as well as acting as a mediator between you and the tenants. This can be helpful if you befriend the tenants but need to enforce maintenance repairs or cleaning bills.

Author Bio: James is an experienced landlord and property manager. He is the CEO of his own residential block management company and has given advice to many tenants and landlords over the years.

5 Tips for Moving Heavy Furniture

September 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Misc

Aside from packing fragile items, figuring out what to do with heavy furniture is quite possibly one of the most stressful aspects of moving. It’s awkward, cumbersome, and even potentially hazardous. To make things a little easier, follow these tips:

1.  Clear the Way. Don’t make a challenging situation worse by requiring yourself and others to navigate through a maze of boxes and clutter while carrying heavy items. Look at where your furniture is located in your home and the path it must take to get out. Then clear all items from that path, plus some extra space to allow for maneuverability.

2.  Use Leverage when Safely Possible. If you have non-carpeted floors, you can take much of the strain of moving furniture off your body by placing felt or cardboard under the furniture and sliding it as far as possible. You can also use dowel rods to roll your furniture across floors and over thresholds to reduce the amount of actual lifting you have to do.

3.  Call on the Professionals. If you are moving furniture up or down stairs, or if you can’t recruit enough help to move your heavy items, call a moving company. These professionals know how to move all sorts of items safely and you don’t have to worry about injuring yourself or one of your loved ones.

You should also call the pros when you need to move items such as pianos or grandfather clocks. These items require particularly special handling that most people are unfamiliar with.

4.  Protect Your Back. It doesn’t matter how strong you are, no one is immune to back injuries. Whether you work in the construction field or design Maxwell Systems software, you must protect your back at all times. The last thing you need when trying to move is to not be able to move!

Use proper lifting techniques, bending at the knees and lifting from the legs. For extra protection, invest in a back brace or weighted belt to help you maintain proper lifting posture. Never try to lift a heavy item alone, or any item that will not allow you to stay in a protective position.

5.  Don’t Try to Move Loaded Furniture. While there isn’t much you can do to reduce the weight of a sofa, you can reduce the weight of your dressers, entertainment center, and desks. It’s not worth damage to your furniture or your body to try to save 10 minutes’ or less worth of work.

Remove all of the drawers to move individually. You can replace the drawers when the item is on the truck, or keep them out to replace once the furniture is in its new location. You may be surprised at how light an object becomes when reduced to its bare structure.

Michelle is a blogger and freelancer. She’s written about almost every topic under the sun, and loves constantly learning about new subjects and industries while she’s writing. In her spare time she enjoys spending time outdoors with her dogs. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

How to Make Life Easy on the Big Day

September 4, 2013 by  
Filed under Misc

You will want to make sure that everything on your big moving day goes as quickly and as easily as possible, which is why we have come up with this great list for you to look at. There are many ways of making the day go a lot quicker but it all comes down to good planning and good timing. Of course, hiring a professional removals service to help you is a great way of doing this too. By following our great selection of tips, you can be sure of making your home removals job go like a dream.

How to Make Life Easy on the Big Day

Organise a Parking Permit

If you want to make your life a lot easier on your moving day, it is important that you get the relevant parking permits organised. A parking permit for the day shouldn’t cost a lot and can be obtained from your local authority. By organising this, you can ensure that the removals van has access to your home and they won’t need to spend extra time carrying the boxes and furniture long distances. This will all make your move go as quickly as possible, so that you can be in your new dream home before you know it.

Prepare Your Furniture

To ensure that everything goes as quickly as possible, dismantle all of your furniture as soon as possible. You don’t want to be dismantling furniture on the morning that you are due to move as there will be so much more for you to be doing, so try to do this ahead of time. Move all of the large items of furniture into the closest room to the front door and make sure your mattresses are there too. Most removals companies move the mattresses first, so by having them all ready by the front door should save you a lot of time.

Prepare Your White Goods

It is important that you take the right steps when preparing your white goods too. You should have already defrosted your freezer by unplugging it and leaving the door open overnight so that all of the water can get out. Also remember to tape up all of the doors and drawers of your furniture so that they do not swing open when being carried into the removals van. This will certainly take a lot of stress out of the removals job.

Let the Experts Do Their Job

You may want to help out at every given opportunity when it comes to moving but sometimes this can be more of a hindrance than a help. If you have hired a professional removals company to do your home removals work; let them get on with their job! If you try to carry out too much of the work yourself, you could end up getting in their way and making the job a whole lot more difficult. They are paid professionals who know exactly what they are doing, so why not sit back and relax whilst they do all of the hard work?

Plan Ahead

The most important thing to remember when planning a house move is that good planning will always save you time in the long run. Make a checklist of things that you need to do and when they need to be done and follow it to the letter. Don’t stress out if a few things go wrong, just go with the flow and sort out problems when they arise. By having the majority of the removals work, such as packing, done ahead of time, you can ensure that the removals day itself need not be hard work.

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