Renting out your own home can be a daunting prospect as you’ve invested emotionally, as well as financially, into the property. But there are steps you can take to ensure you attract the right tenants and enjoy a smooth lettings experience.
You may be moving to another part of the country due to a promotion at work or retiring to sunnier climes. But for whatever reason you are leaving your home, you’ll need to do some preparation if you decide to hang on to it and rent it out.
Renting out your home can be a tough decision, having spent so much of your time and effort in choosing the right fabrics, making sure the new kitchen has all the mod cons you require and that the landscaped garden is in keeping with the high standard set by the rest of the property. After all, will a tenant maintain your property to such a high degree?
Do you really trust someone near your beloved paintings? Will they hammer the computerised audiovisual system and should you roll up the rug carefully chosen from The London Rug Company before a clumsy tenant spills coffee on it? These are all questions that will no doubt be whirling through your mind – and they need to be addressed in order to establish what you are, and are not, comfortable with before you rent out your property.
Peter Swain, who is renting out his home in London’s Holland Park, advises discussing any concerns with your letting agent.
“Key points discussed with our agent included high heels not being allowed on the American Black Walnut flooring, pets being banned and tenants using the right rack in the microwave so they don’t blow it up like I did,” he says.
Simon Price, head of Savills’ Super Prime Lettings, says: “To attract those tenants that have budgets in excess of £10,000 a week, a property has to be presented in perfect condition. In the main, tenants want a ‘turn key’ experience, meaning that they can move in with suitcases as every eventually is taken care of.
“That would include full audio visual and climate control systems, a fully fitted kitchen with the highest spec appliances, and designer linen – even a pool and 24 hour concierge.”
“It’s very competitive at the upper end,” points out Jemilla Divito at Cluttons’ Hyde Park office. “Years ago, tenants were happy to take a property, only asking for the bathroom to be regrouted and a professional clean. Now however, they might expect a full repaint and new carpets.”
Divito believes we’re in a “presentation market” where landlords must showcase upper-scale homes to have them looking like a new pin.
It’s not all about money at the higher echelons of lettings either. Divito finds a landlord like Swain letting out his own home appreciates the idea of extra income, but the quality of tenants and the belief they’ll look after his house like he would is crucial.
“Keep your home neutral and calming, but not so vanilla it’s soulless,” she adds. “And remember, nine times out of 10, people buy into a sleek pad or a friendly, family home. So, make your home reflect a lifestyle a tenant desires.”
Top 10 tips for renting out your home:
* A jet washer’s your best friend. Jet wash the paving, driveway and back terrace. It will make a big difference to how the property looks.
* Put your window washer on speed dial. The simple, and not unduly expensive, act of washing the windows makes the place light, bright and inviting.
* Lighting’s crucial in an upper-scale home. Set the Lutron (or similar system) to just a few, easy-to-manage settings, such as warm and inviting for evening drinks, focused on the dining area for dinner parties and low-level when watching TV or relaxing. I’ve artfully lit up a Japanese Acer in the back garden, which stops everyone in their tracks when they walk in and see it.
* Be flexible. Offer your home part-furnished, totally furnished or unfurnished. Listen to what your potential tenant wants and negotiate from there.
*And remove any sentimental items, Divito advises. She says that even at the top end you can’t assume everyone else will love and cherish your favourite pieces of art as much as you do.
To rent – homes above £10,000 a month:
1. Six bedroom detached house in Oxhott, Surrey, with underfloor heating and triple garage.
2. Unfurnished detached house in Alderley Edge with panoramic views across Cheshire Plan.
3. Detached house in a highly regarded private estate in Oxshott, Surrey.