Landlords are enjoying a buoyant period. Yields are up and demand is high - but it is still important to make cost savings wherever possible.
There is a range of ways in which landlords can cut their costs without negatively impacting the service they provide. Read on for our top money-saving tips for landlords.
1. Choose carefully
If you have not yet bought your first property, think carefully about the location in which you do so. A distance of mere metres can significantly change your potential yields. Make sure that you do as much research as possible before making a purchase, for example using websites like Zoopla and Rightmove.
2. Negotiate with agents…
Don't just go for the first agent you see. Shop around to make sure that you are getting the best possible deal, and think carefully about whether or not you require property management services. While some landlords prefer to have the agent manage all aspects of their tenant relationships, others choose to have them simply find new tenants and leave the property management to them.
3. …or do it yourself
Alternatively, you might choose not to use an agent at all. There is nothing stopping you performing these tasks yourself, although you should make sure that you are familiar with the proper tenant referencing procedures if you do decide to go down this route.
4. Choose insurance carefully
Taking out a good insurance policy is one of the most important cost-saving measures a landlord can undertake. Landlord insurance has the potential to save you huge sums in the event of an incident for which you claim - but there is no sense in paying too much. Use an online broker like Simply Business to compare quotes quickly and easily.
5. Minimise void periods
Void periods present landlords with significant financial risk. Although it is sometimes possible to insure against them, and although some agents offer 'guaranteed rent' deals, the most cost efficient way of combating them is to take steps to avoid them altogether. Read our guide to minimising void periods.
6. Shop around for tradespeople
Property maintenance is a significant outlay for landlords, but you can help to keep this cost down by shopping around for the best value tradespeople. Try using a service like RatedPeople to find professionals in your area who can do the best work for the best price.
7. Read up on allowances
Landlords can offset many of their expenses against their tax bill, including agency fees, legal fees, and insurance. Read about the expenses you might be able to claim here.
8. Learn when DIY might not be best
It can be tempting as a landlord to do everything yourself in order to save on tradespeople expenses. However, it is important to understand that DIY may not always be best. Sometimes it pays to pay - that is, sometimes the cost of hiring someone to do the work for you might be less than the total cost, including your time, of doing it yourself.
9. Make use of grants
There is a range of grants available to landlords who wish to insulate their properties or otherwise make them more energy efficient. Read about the Green Deal on the government's website for more information.
10. Go second-hand
If you are furnishing your property, consider investigating the many second hand options. Ikea is not always cheapest. Instead, you can often find great bargains at auction, or even for free on websites like Freecycle. Provided that the items are of good quality, there is nothing stopping you filling your property with second hand furniture.
11. Review your mortgage
Finally, mortgage payments will be most landlords' primary expense. You should review your mortgage arrangements on a regular basis to ensure that you are getting the best possible deal. If you are looking for your first mortgage, or considering switching deals, check out our comparison guide to buy-to-let mortgages in the UK.