Its been only a month since I completed on my first rental and already there are some important lessons I have learned as a landlord so far. I shared my thoughts on what I thought made a good landlord but since actually becoming one and finding a tenant within a few days of closing of the property, I have already learned so much. Since I made the decision to become a landlord, I have been reading up on the topic and whilst some topics you could say are common sense, others not so much as you need to be in the know.
Purchasing my first rental property within my catchment area is something I knew would work in my favour because of the great travel links to London and other cities as well as being close the 4 business parks. But the biggest thing I wanted to ensure with my first rental is that I could rent it to any young professionals because I remember how much I craved having my own space and the important lessons I have learned as a landlord so far I am combining together with my own experience as a tenant.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.
5 Important Lessons I have Learned as a Landlord
When I shopping for a buy-to-let property, I wanted one that would be accessible for anyone especially for those with mobility issues. I found a property where the design of it brings the bathroom and bedroom downstairs but the kitchen and living room upstairs and provides enough room if one was thinking about installing a stair lift. At first I wasn’t sure about this design but it has truly grown on me, somehow having the kitchen upstairs makes so much sense to me plus they get a little workout every day.
Becoming a landlord is something I had wanted to become since I purchased my own home, I had thought about possibly renting one of my rooms out but honestly I like my own space too much so got rid of that idea. Purchasing a rental property became the goal and as my tenant moves in only a couple weeks after I completed the purchase, I am now reflecting on the 5 important lessons I have learned as a landlord so far. I say so far because I am only one month one and I am sure in the next 12 months I will learn even more.
Get Homecare Cover
When I was renting one thing that I got annoyed with was how frequently our boiler broke down and this was because our then landlord refused to replace it and always called an engineer to fix it. I can’t imagine how much it cost him get that engineer out but homecare cover is super affordable and something that you need to have as a landlord. For my own home I ensure my boiler is checked regularly as no one wants to get surprises when its dead of winter and you have no heating in your home. As a landlord I need to ensure the boiler is always in good condition and the house is properly heated (+ventilated).
Register new build with street naming council
I don’t know why I didn’t think about this but somehow I thought when the builders are making these houses and getting permission from the council that they also register what will be the street address for the property. Well, I learned that it is my responsibility as a landlord to ensure the address appears in public searches and for that to happen I need to register with the ‘street naming’ department of the council. I also just thought telling Royal Mail would be sufficient but nope, they need the landlord to inform the council then the council to inform Royal Mail.
Having an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is money you save on the side for unexpected emergencies that might arise in the future and if you don’t cashflow you will go into debt. Since becoming debt free many moons ago, entering into debt because I don’t have an emergency fund is not something I ever want to experience. I have shared on this blog tips on how to build an emergency fund and as a new landlord I realise the importance of having an emergency fund to cashflow any problems that the rental property might incur in the future.
Using a Management Company
One thing I knew even before I started looking to purchase a rental property is that I would want it to be fully managed by a management company (Estate Agents) because I know my current lifestyle would not permit me being there every second of the day to attend to any issues that might arise for the tenant. I know it would incur costs and the first month of my rental would be costly but they are still worth the investment. I realise that half of the stuff they have supported me with I wouldn’t have known to take care of on my own as first time landlord.
Some things you will have to do yourself
As much as I love the management company I am using, they have some truly expensive contractors working for them. For a 1-bed flat new build with barely ant scratch on it, I was quoted £210 to clean, my 3 bed 3 bathroom home costs £50 to clean, the cost was too much so I decided to do the cleaning myself. I realised that there are a few things that instead of paying someone to do, I could do myself, things like cleaning the house or clearing the gutter I can do. When a tenant moves out then I will get it professionally cleaned before the next one moves in but not this time round.
There are so many things I have learned since becoming a landlord but, these are the 5 important lessons I have learned as a landlord so far. I am excited to embark on this journey as a landlord and I hope that I have good tenants and I can be a good landlord to them using my own past experiences.