Making the most of buying to let

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THE number of first-time buy-to-let investors is on the increase.

Although it’s a good investment option and a way to secure a comfortable retirement, landlords need to get the basics right in order to be successful, according to Shipways estate agent in Rugby.

Lettings manager Pam Wattam said: “Some people may think that being a landlord is a matter of sitting with your feet up and waiting for the money to roll in.”

Shipways has a few top tips to help things run smoothly as well as help to secure a return on investment as soon as possible.

1. Instruct a reputable agent and one that is a member of a regulated body such as the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and a member of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

2. Get advice about the local lettings market.

3. Get good financial advice about buy-to-let mortgages and work out all of your outgoings as a landlord as well as your income.

4. Take out buildings and contents insurance and ensure you have public liability cover. Consider getting legal expenses cover.

5. Think about the tenants you would like – families, young professionals, sharers. Would you like pets?

6. Would you prefer a lettings agency to take on the full management of the property?

7. Prepare an inventory.

8. If you are finding your own tenants, think about consulting a solicitor to carry out checks on prospective tenants’ credit and references to ensure they are responsible and reliable. A tenancy agreement must also be drawn up for you and your tenant to sign.

9. Collect a deposit – a minimum of one month’s rent is usual.

10. Ensure you comply with the Tenancy Deposit Protection legislation, which requires all deposits to be held by a third party and not by the landlord.

For more information telephone Shipways on (01788) 574641.

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