Buy-to-let In Edinburgh
You’ve bought a buy-to-let property and want to get tenants in as soon as possible, but it needs some work before it’s ready to go. How do you know what renovations are essential, and what will make your property more desirable to potential tenants and thereby command a higher price?
With hundreds of properties under our management and more than 12 years’ experience in the rental market, we’re well placed to know the dos and don’ts. We’ve put together some tips to help you make the right decisions and spend your money where it matters:
Set a budget – and stick to it
When it’s your own home, budgets don’t always matter, but buy-to-let is a business, and the books have to balance. Set a realistic budget for the work that needs to be done and manage the project carefully throughout to make sure it stays on track.
The timescale is also crucial because there’s no income until your first tenants move in so make sure you can afford the time it will take to have any major structural work done, and ensure your contractor can commit to it.
Choose your contractor carefully
Get a number of quotes before you settle on a contractor and, if possible, use someone who’s been recommended, or at the very least make sure you’ve seen examples of their work.
Don’t opt for the cheapest option; choose the one who you’re confident will do an excellent job for a fair price. The quality of the work is important in a buy-to-ley property, and a shabby job could end up costing more further down the line.
One contractor who can complete most of the required work is preferable to managing lots of different tradespeople all visiting at different times. Ideally, you’ll find one who’s prepared to oversee the whole job and commit to a finish date.
Only do work that adds value or makes your property more appealing to prospective tenants. Visual improvements are often cheapest and make the most impact – freshly painted, neutral-coloured walls, new flooring, a tidy garden, painted interior and exterior doors, and an upgraded kitchen are all worth the investment.
Stick to bright, neutral colours, so your property is a blank canvas for tenants and looks light and spacious in marketing photos. First impressions count, and a well-presented property will always command a higher rent.
Check the rules
When letting a property, there are regulations set by the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) relating to alarms and electrical and gas certificates. When planning repairs and renovations, check what’s needed beforehand and build these into the plan.
Changing meters and installing alarm systems should be done before any redecorating to prevent remedial work to cover any damage. Full details of the Scottish government’s repairing standard can be found here.
Once your property is ready to let, do you add furnishings before it’s marketed? It’s essential to know your prospective tenants and understand what they are likely to require – students will expect a fully-equipped property, whereas high-end renters will want to add their touches.
An empty property looks bigger and helps tenants imagine how their own belongings might look in the space. However, we would only recommend unfurnished for larger properties, as most working rentals are furnished.
Clan Gordon offers a complete buy-to-let service including property acquisition, renovations, management, lettings and development. We have a comprehensive list of contractors with whom we regularly work, and can even recommend architects for major renovations.
For an informal chat and more information about our services, get in touch on 0131 555 4444