If you’ve been in the property game for a few years and are looking for something more exciting to get yourself involved in, then you should possibly consider becoming a fully-fledged landlord. It is one of those professions that looks profitable on the face of it but requires a lot of work and dedication to truly succeed. You need to have a patience of a saint and be able to handle a continuous stream of issues that are likely to crop up. Many don’t have the heart to take on the role for more than a handful of years.
Before jumping in head first there is a multitude of things you will need to be clued up on to ensure you aren’t doomed to immediate failure. Here we take a closer look at a few of these things to give you a good head start, and to open your eyes to the reality of being a landlord in all it’s complicated glory.
There Is No Shortage of Bad Guys
Not everyone can imagine property to be a ruthless battle, but the truth is that you will always come across a multitude of tricky customers from the people who give you your property to the people who wish to live inside of it. Letting agents tend to be the first target when it comes to disagreements and many companies aren’t afraid to charge you the world and get away with it. Finding a reputable and reliable agency will take time, as well as some trial and error. Similar things can be said in the direction of builders, plumbers, decorators and so on.
You tenants will also end up being a mixed bunch over the years, and don’t be surprised if it doesn’t take you long to lock heads with one or two of them. Tenants can be a pain on many different levels including having poor hygiene, annoying the neighbours and generally breaking the terms of their tenancy in some way. As much as you will want to profit from the situation you have to be mindful of what’s best, so if they’re being unbearable don’t be afraid to cut yourself loose from them and give them notice (seek legal advice before making any decisions!)
You Won’t Get Rich Any Time Soon
Despite appearing to give you a great return in an instant, this is, in fact a very rare instance. For the most part it’s going to be something you’re involved in for the long haul before you start seeing a profit. Simply getting the money back that you invested into your little scheme could be a huge job. The market can have a dramatic effect on the money you make from it, and not always for the greater good. Not only this, but things like rent and potential utility and tax charges can really take the wind out of your bank account’s sails.
You Can Never Do Enough Research
Knowing your field of work has always been of utmost importance no matter when your chosen career is. Certainly, in the property and real estate sector research is the maker or breaker of all endeavours. Common things you’ll need to know that could sting you down the line involve legal issues such as the rental agreement, the mortgage and so forth. You’ll also need to know who you need to approach in urgent matters so do your best to collect a bulletproof list of contacts. You certainly shouldn’t spend a single penny until you know the process like the back of your hand.
You Can’t Just Set Up and Relax
The impression a lot of people get from landlords is that you can simply put everything in place and the rest will sort itself, leaving you sat at home making money while doing nothing. It’s a much more active role than people tend to expect, especially if you want to make a name for yourself. At the very least you will have to keep a close eye on your tenants and the properties they reside in. You’ll have to deal with things like late rent, general maintenance and any grievances that the tenants themselves have. The more properties you have, the more leg work will have to be done.
It’s an Endless Labour Of Love
This is something that is going to take up a lot of your time and funds, so you better get used to it! Many up and coming landlords fall short simply because they haven’t accounted for all the little things that crop up, ending up losing out big time, and being thrown back a peg or two. It’s a hard job to get yourself out of too as only having one property and a couple of tenants could still be a huge debacle and take a while to get everyone on level ground. If you’re serious about being a landlord, you can expect to invest more of your time and money into it than you could ever possibly fathom.
The Law Will Catch You Out
You’d be surprised just how many complex and arguable laws, guidelines and regulations there are in the property sector, and many seasoned landlords have had to suffer their wrath at some point or another. A common trap landlord fall for is that they believe they’re fully protected against troublesome tenants. Wrong. There is only so much help you can get as you’re the one that chose them over the others. It’s a gamble all landlords take, and it’s an art to weed out the idiots over the happy chaps. You can’t even enter the property without consent, despite owning the roof and walls.
You Can’t Stop the Inevitable
Things will go wrong. They just do, and you can’t always control the outcome. Having so many different variants to your roll it’s almost impossible to go a single month without an issue rearing its head. If you haven’t done thorough enough research chances are, you’ll come across problems that you yourself should have fixed including unsigned documents, failing to meet safety regulations etc. You also must realise that things don’t need a reason to go wrong. For instance, if the boiler suddenly decides to conk out it’s neither your fault nor the tenants, but you’re still going to have to deal with it swiftly.
All Signs Point to You
You name is going to be the one that everyone approaches in all landlord related matters, so you can’t afford to be shy or lazy. You’ll have to be on the ball so that you can deal with any and all issues as soon as they crop up. Not only are the tenants relying on you, but your letting agent will also need your input, as well as your mortgage providers and the tax man. Some difficulties can come thick and fast and you must be able to cope under all that pressure. You also need to ensure everything is ‘above board’ as any legal disputes will always fall in your court.
Should You Give It A Go?
Absolutely. If you’re prepared for it. There are many pros and cons to be a landlord and no one reason has less importance than the other. Yes you’re going to sink in a heck of a lot of money, and yes you are going to rip your hair out while dealing with paperwork as well as finding tenants that won’t make your life a misery but as long as you’ve got a good mortgage rate, a reliable letting agent and nice tenants there’s no reason to run a mile. For those who have been in the game for a while it can be a very profitable experience, and to some degree many issues are nipped in the bud before they even start to grow. In time anyone could learn to do the same.