The Ultimate Guide To Self-Managing Your Properties

We explore everything you need to know when considering if and how you should self-manage your properties.

Investment Strategy

If you’ve recently decided to self-manage your properties understanding what this role entails is foundational for efficient property management and a flourishing rental business.

Managing your own property allows you to see for yourself everything that goes on, and save on letting and management fees (which can be 8 to 12 percent of the collected rent). However, it comes with a steep learning curve. You’ll need to learn about tenancy laws and legal obligations and perform management tasks efficiently and in line with regulations to avoid fines or worse.

In this guide, we explore what you need to do to self-manage your properties effectively. Read on to find out more about the responsibilities of a landlord who self-manages properties.

Preparation Before Renting Out Your Property

  • Create and maintain a separate bank account for your business. There should be a debit or credit card associated with this bank account. Any income from the properties should go into this account and all the expenses related to the business should be paid from it.
  • Before you rent out your property, you should check compliance with laws. Ensure the property is up to code with up to date certificates (including a gas safety certificate, EICR, and EPC), and that the property in general is clean and habitable.
  • Since the property is still empty, undertaking necessary repairs will be easier at this point. Make sure that there are no inherent issues with the structure of your property. Checking and documenting the condition of the property well before renting it out and taking supporting photographs will ensure that you are in a better position in case there are any damages or issues later.
  • Determine the rent. Your rent expectation should be realistic. If your rent is too high, you could lose out on good tenants and if it is too low, you could lose out on money. Check what the other landlords in the area are charging for their properties. Set a rent that is suitable according to the area, the property, and your business goals.

Find the Best Tenants

  • To find the best tenants, the first thing you need to do is create a list of minimum criteria. The prospective renters should meet all the criteria on this list to be considered. If you get many applicants that qualify, select the first one of them. However, don’t narrow your target pool too much by setting a long list of criteria.
  • You could make use of property listing websites or create a rental listing with Landlord Studio. Create a listing with an attention-grabbing but sophisticated headline, an appealing description, and good-quality photos. Other things that your listing should include are the rent, the security deposit details, the floor plan, and your rental policies. You could even add a video tour.
  • A professional application process will help you get the best tenants. The application process should be quick so that you don’t lose out on your first-choice tenants.  Prescreen your applicants before booking viewings.
  • You might want to stage your property before the viewing if you haven’t already done so before the listing.
  • Fix convenient times for property viewings with the shortlisted applicants. Group viewings are beneficial in two ways - you show many prospective renters the property at a time and their numbers show them that there is a lot of interest in your property.
  • You will need to vet your applicants thoroughly. Through a comprehensive tenant referencing process, you can glean important information regarding whether the prospects have the right to rent, can afford the rent, and their rental history. You should also conduct reference checks before selecting the most suitable tenant.
  • Make sure that you sign an airtight tenancy agreement. The tenancy agreement will specify your rights and responsibilities as well as those of the tenants. Clear rules will ensure that both parties are on the same page.
  • After securing the tenant of your choice, facilitate the moving-in process. A welcome package with a detailed letter providing all the necessary information is often a great idea.

Operational Tasks

  • Once your tenants move in, you can turn your attention to operational tasks. You will have to deal with tenant queries and issues, such as maintenance requests, as you will be the main point of contact unless you have decided otherwise.
  • Enforce the conditions of your lease. Both parties must adhere to the terms that have been agreed upon in the contract. If there are infractions on the part of the tenants you will have to deal with them appropriately.
  • Keep learning as you grow your business. Read books on the subject. Keep updated with the laws, regulations, and the latest developments in the areas that your properties are in. Consider taking a time management course for more efficiency as your business continues to expand.
  • You have to handle the organisation of regular and emergency maintenance. The property needs to be in good condition and safe for the tenants. You will need to arrange inspections with the tenants and undertake seasonal tasks.
  • Evicting tenants is an expensive and unpleasant task, but if a tenant continually violates the terms of the tenancy agreement, fr example, failing to pay rent, it may become a necessary task. Learn about the proper procedure and make sure you have documented everything as evidence should you have to pursue legal action.  
  • When tenants move out, you need to conduct a thorough property inspection for damages that go beyond fair wear and tear as these repair costs may be deducted from the tenancy deposit.
  • You will also need to take care of tenancy renewals when good tenants want to stay on. Renewing the tenancy agreement with a quality tenant will help you keep costly vacancies to a minimum and should be encouraged when possible.
  • Maintain up to date accounting records throughout the tax year. This will help you understand how your properties are performing, the ROI, and enable you to make the most of your end of year tax deductions. Landlord Studio is the #1 rated property management and accounting software for UK landlords and can help you with financial management and reporting.

You might like: Accounting For Landlords: How to Maintain Best Practices

Final Words on Self-Managing Your Properties

To manage your properties well, you have to stay organised. Communicate clearly and as often as required. Your dealings with your tenants should be fair. The goal of effective property management is to ensure a stress-free rental experience for you and your tenants.