As landlords in property we are always looking for ways to improve rents and increase value. One of the first ways we do this in our Professional HMOs and Buy to lets is a fresh coat of paint on the exterior of the property. This makes our properties standout.
These issues are very simple and cost effective. Aesthetic improvements such as painting the trim, painting the front door, a slight bit of hedging any bushes or gardening, replacing the mailbox or address numbers and the like can be hugely important.
Advertising your Professional HMO or Buy to Let is paramount. You want to take high quality pictures. If you can afford to invest in a top-end camera, it will pay for itself and much more. Staging the Professional HMO with wine glasses and made beds helps tremendously. My daughter who is a photography buff suggested that we take pictures at about a 30 degree angle. Head on pictures make properties look very small. You have a short span to impress on your professional HMos and buy to lets.
Have good lighting in your Professional HMOs. Potentially during a viewing have some home made cookies with that lovely smell. This gives the concept of living at home in the property.
During viewings on your professional HMOs, do not sell the room….try to sell the community in the HMO. The friends, watching football together or the idea of meeting new people. Speak about the people in the house. Building rapport just means that you are friendly and open with them. Be genuinely interested in them. Ask questions and just shoot the breeze with them a bit. At the same time, don’t oversell or be pushy. People want to rent from people they like.
Regardless of what you think the competition is doing for other Professional HMOs near you, start near the top of the range you think it can rent for. Obviously prior to this you need a nice spec on your HMO. Too many landlords look to squeeze down on issues. Go the extra mile on your Professional HMO.
Make sure you qualify your tenants. A high rent is useless if you’re settling for bad tenants. We just had one tenant move out of one of our HMOs. A nice gent wanted a viewing. He had great work references. However when we ran his credit he had CCJs. We asked for a guarantor. He gave us his sister. The red flag was made redder that his sister refused to be his guarantor. We decided to have an empty room for a week or so than to take the risk. One tenant rents it for 400/month and stays there all year. The other rents for 450, but you have to evict the tenant and lose two months of rent plus the costs above the deposit to turn over the unit and the cost of the eviction. It’s better to have a room in your HMO sit vacant than to rent to a bad tenant. More than once, we’ve had a tenant do damage. That kind of thing will ruin your cash flow for quite some time.
Another thought to consider in your market of Professional HMOs are rent reviews. Tenants expect you to raise their rent each year, so don’t disappoint them.” These increases will at least keep your rent the same in inflation-adjusted terms and will often improve your bottom line. More so you might have tenets after completing their 6 month AST they might want to go month to month for their HMO room. When tenants to switch over to a month-to-month arrangement once they have completed a year lease try to bump up the rent slightly.
All of these slight bumps increase your profitability.