When buying a house or apartment with the intention of letting it out to tenants, you may well have in mind one thing only – that day every month when the money transfers into your account and, for the privilege of letting people live in a property you own, you make a profit. However, if you are the landlord of a rented property, life is very rarely that simple. It is not necessarily a bad life at all, but it pays to be realistic at these times. If you are prepared for what you will face, it is always much better.
Often, you will go for months without hearing from or about your tenants. The principle of “no news is good news” is one that many people subscribe to. There is good reason for this. Mostly, people just want a quiet life and will go about their business in a way which does not infringe upon anyone’s time. However, if there is a problem which could threaten the liveability of the property you are renting out, then it can end up costing you money and ruining the living conditions of the people living there. It is essential to keep in contact with tenants.
Having a good relationship with your tenants is something that will pay off. You don’t need to send them a Christmas card every year or attend their kids’ ball games, but being prepared to meet them halfway on certain matters will benefit you in the long run, as they are prepared to continue paying the rent, and will leave it in a good condition when they vacate
It is important when renovating a house to bear in mind that there is a big difference between a loose plan and a final certainty. You may have ideas about what the house is going to look like and how much money it is going to make you, but those ideas can only become reality with a lot of work. Don’t get carried away by the seemingly foolproof nature of your plans.
You should always make sure that you “comparison shop” every decision you make. You may need to pay builders and other workmen to do the renovation work. You should consult as many different companies as you can before contracting one to do the work – check them for references and price. Do the same for materials and for any other service that will be required.
It can be tempting to walk away from a development, even temporarily, because you have just reached a point where every decision is difficult and you are second-guessing yourself on everything. You may just want to give up. At these times, you need to show steely reserve and keep in mind that time is very nearly equal to money.
Finally, you should always be ready to take the opinions of others on board. By going with your own gut on every decision you make it is possible to develop tunnel vision. You don’t have to run every decision by someone and agree with all of their points, but it can be useful to ensure that you are looking at the plan from a more detached angle – as this is what potential purchasers will be doing
When you buy a house for the purposes of renovating it, there may well be a simple equation in your head. Money spent on buying house + money spent renovating = total spend. Resale price – total spend = profit. Simple! Isn’t it? Well, maybe not. You see, on top of this you do need to consider what else is going on while you are renovating. Renovating a house is not something you can do in “dead time”, so you also have to look at how you live in the mean time.
After all, if you need to be present for the work – because you are helping to do it or because you need to monitor the project – then this cuts into time that you would ordinarily spend working and making money. If you have sold your house to buy the new one, then you will also need to take care of resettlement costs, whether you are renting or have found another solution. It is hard to live in a house which is in the middle of renovations, as anyone who has done it will tell you.
You may need to work into your budget an amount which will cover the costs of your time spent on site and your temporary accommodation. If you have borrowed in order to buy the house, you will need to at least service the mortgage on it, too. Therefore it is essential that you have a plan, and that that plan is realistic. Many people get carried away thinking of the profit that they will make, but it is important to think about the difference between gross and net profit