With the market favourable for property investors and therefore investors returning to the WA market, we thought it timely to share some tips on preparing an investment property for rent. This is useful for first-time investors but also seasoned investors who perhaps have struggled to find quality tenants and property managers in the past or weren’t sure about the risk implications, both to their tenants and themselves, if safety is not taken seriously.
There are three key aspects to preparing a rental property for market:
- Safety and risk minimisation.
- Presenting your property so it attracts a quality tenant and the best price possible in the marketplace.
- Selecting the right managing agency.
1. Safety and risk minimisation
As a landlord, you must take tenant safety very seriously. It is your duty of care to provide a safe property that adheres to the safety requirements and regulations. Failing to do so not only risks the safety of tenants living in your property, but also risks the issue of fines for non-compliance or worse, legal action against you. Here are the critical safety-related items you need to be across:
- Have an electrician check your safety switches or RCDs and ensure all smoke alarms are compliant and working. Ask the electrician for an Electrical Safety Certificate for your records.
- Ensure entry to your property is secure and accessible.
- Ensure you have sufficient sets of keys for all locks (a set for the tenant and a set for you or the property manager).
- Check all blind cords and chains (if applicable), ensuring they are secure and out of reach of young children as they present a strangulation risk. Even if you know your tenants don’t have young children, you have to consider visitors as well.
- Check your property inside and out for any potential slip, trip and fall hazards – things like mould on pathways (slip), broken tiles or uneven pathways (trip) and unsafe decks or balustrades (fall).
- Ensure all appliances are in good working order and have gas heaters checked and serviced.
- If you have a pool, check the fence and gates carefully and ensure you have all the required signage on display.
It is also a good idea to provide tenants with operating manuals for all appliances.
2. Presenting your property so it attracts a quality tenant and the best price
To attract good tenants, it is vital to ensure you present a well-maintained and presented home to the market. Consider your target market. Is it families, downsizers, professional couples or young house sharers? Then, present your home to ensure it attracts the market you are targeting. Consider having the property professionally cleaned and pay attention to the gardens as well. Not only does the way you present the property set the tenancy expectation, but it also allows prospective tenants to imagine themselves living long-term in the property and paying a higher rent than they would for a property that is not as well cared for and presented.
3. Selecting the right managing agency
While you can manage the property privately, there is a lot more to property management than simply collecting the rent. For example, property managers:
- Look after the listing and advertising of the property,
- Appraise the property to ensure it attracts a rental amount that is in line with the quality of the property and the market,
- Field all tenant applications and present the best ones to you,
- Ensure compliance with all current legislation,
- Conduct ingoing, routine and outgoing inspections,
- Chase when rent is paid late,
- Manage maintenance and repair requests.
That’s a lot to manage without professional help.
Taking the time to ensure your rental property is safe. secure and ready for presentation to the market will save you time and money in the long run. Most importantly, it will mitigate any risks.