First-Time Landlord? Here’s what you need to know

key-door-tenant-circles1homes welcomes David Rowand of Cairn Estate and Letting Agency in the first of two guest blogs.

Buying to let for the very first time is an exciting prospect. After all, you’re effectively starting up a new business and generating a new income stream, which, if handled correctly, could produce great results.

However, it can be a bit of a daunting prospect, especially if you’re new to the world of letting properties. Here’s some handy information to get you started.

Mastering the Art of Being a Landlord 

1. Advertise in the right places

The first question you need to ask yourself is – who do you want as a tenant? Then, once you’ve identified who your target market is, you’ll need to start advertising in the right places. For example, if you’re aiming at students, you might want to consider advertising your property at your local university. If you want young professionals, the newspaper might be more appropriate! And make sure you post to property portals as over 90% of home-seekers start their search online.

2. Screen to avoid nightmare scenarios

If there’s one situation that is guaranteed to keep a landlord up at night, it’s the dreaded nightmare tenant. You can avoid this situation easily, by screening your tenants carefully before they sign on the dotted line. This is where a letting agent is really worth their weight in gold, as they’ll screen the candidates for you.

3. Get the property looking ship-shape

You have certain strict legal responsibilities towards your tenants and their wellbeing. The property needs to be safe and secure, so make sure you double-check the electrics, plumbing and any other areas that might pose a safety hazard. Read Cairn Estate Agency’s comprehensive list of responsibilities. Also, if you want to attract a better standard of tenant, make your property look appealing. Very few people want to live in a home with peeling wallpaper and mould in the corners!

4. Work out how you’ll collect rent

If you’re working with a local letting agent, they’ll often be responsible for collecting the rent for you, which can make life easier. However, if you’re collecting the rent, you’ll need to establish just how you’ll do this. The easiest way is to ask your tenant to set up a regular monthly payment via their bank account.

5. Have money set aside for repairs

Inevitably, there will come a time when something in your property goes wrong. The boiler might suddenly stop working, a pipe may burst, or the oven might decide it’s done enough cooking to last a lifetime. Whatever the situation, you’ll need to have the funds available to put things right – it’s your responsibility as a landlord. However, if your tenant is responsible for the breakage, then that’s another matter!

Flying Solo or Seeking Help? 

Some landlords choose to go it alone – particularly those who don’t have full-time jobs and have the available time to look after their properties (and tenants) properly. However, many others find it easier to work with a letting agent, who takes on the bulk of the hard work for them.

Our advice? Weigh up how much time you can realistically devote to being a good landlord, then make your decision based on that. Good luck!


David-Rowand-Cairn-circleAbout Cairn Estate and Letting Agency

Founded in 1999, Cairn is now a team of specialists in residential property investment. Managing Director David Rowand saw that his estate agency clients could benefit from more than sales or purchase advice and help with negotiation. Property assets could deliver more return with the right development, refurbishment, letting management and property maintenance programmes. Cairn began as a property company, developing and selling on existing properties. Now it works mainly with investor clients – sourcing, developing, managing and selling residential investment properties to maximise return for their owners.


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