Category Archives:Buying

Your Property’s Garden: Asset or Liability?

When renting a property, the look of the place still places a big part in the decision about whether to rent or not. While not as important as when buying a property, many tenants look at the house and its gardens to help them make a choice. But does this make the garden an asset or a liability?

Smart Appearances

A good, well maintained garden can help ‘sell’ the house to a lot of tenants. For example, older couples may enjoy gardening and the gentle activity is good for their health. Couples with kids will view a well maintained lawn area as a place for a spot of football or for the kids to pitch their tents. A decked or patio area can provide a perfect setting for outdoor entertaining or simply somewhere nice to sit and relax on a sunny evening.

A garden can work against you when it goes to two extremes – ultra fussy or poorly kept. A garden that takes serious hours to maintain may put off a lot of tenants unless they too are garden fanatics. Therefore, keeping things relatively simple is ideal. However, a shabby garden that is overgrown and full of weeds will put off even non-gardeners because it looks a mess and makes them think they will need to sort it all out.

Trees & Tree Surgeons

Another important area to take into consideration with your property are any trees on or surrounding it. Trees create a beautiful backdrop to a garden but can also be a hazard. Therefore, getting in a professional tree surgeon to assess the trees on the property before putting it up to rent is a good idea.

For starters, some insurance companies can be funny about trees. Too big or too close to the house and they can invalidate insurance policies. This is due to the danger of them falling into the house in a storm or their roots causing subsidence. Therefore, regular maintenance of the trees is a good idea and this is where an experience tree surgeon will come in.

A visit from such a specialist will help you know if the trees need minor or serious work, how often and if they present any real problems. Plus, it keeps the trees looking smart – out of control trees can block the light from the garden and even from the house. Overgrown trees can even cause issues with neighbours if the tree is blocking their garden or house and lead to disputes.

Whose Job?

Once the tenant is in place, does it then become their job to maintain the garden? This is an area that should be covered in the tenancy agreement to avoid disputes. Some landlords employ a good gardener and part of the cost of this is included in the price of the rent. Some tenants enjoy a spot of gardening and agree to keep everything neat and tidy. However, a landlord can’t hold a tenant responsible if plants die or the lawn doesn’t thrive so if the garden is such a big thing to the landlord, ensure you get a fellow gardening fanatic in as a tenant!

Finding the Best Property Deals

So you have decided that you want to invest your money in property and the buy to market, despite recent gloominess, looks the way to go. While there have been bumps in the road recently with new government legislation among them, there is still a massive demand for rental properties as people cannot get mortgages and local authority properties are scarce. The first step is getting the best property deal but where should you look?

Traditional routes

For a lot of landlords, the estate agent is still their best friend when it comes to finding the right properties and getting the best deals. So if you plan to buy a property in East London, for example, then you should make contact with East London estate agents. Let them know what kind of property you are looking for, what kind of budget you have and any other information you have – the more they know, the better they can work.

Another traditional route to find the best deals is to look at property auctions. While these might seem outdated in the internet age, they still serve a purpose. If you have the cash ready to go and are willing to do a bit of bidding to get the right property, you can pick up a bargain. Remember these properties often need a bit of work doing to be liveable but if you are up for this, then this is a route to consider.

Modern alternatives

A big growth area in recent years has been the quick sale house company who offer to buy up properties far quicker than an estate agent could manage. The down side of this is that they often get the seller less than the market value. As a buyer, this might mean you can get a bargain with the cost of the house but make sure you are very clear upfront what the company will charge for this service and have all the terms reviewed by a solicitor – there are genuine companies out there in this market but unfortunately also less genuine ones.

The internet is a source for information for every aspect of our lives and finding the best deals on property is one of them. Sign up with all the big names in property sales and register your interest in an area and for buy to let properties. It is similar to working with an estate agent, apart from the fact that you don’t get the face to face service and you can’t sit down with someone in person to review everything.

Buying new properties

Recognising the need for rental properties, some big names in home building have also started to sell properties specifically for the job. Barratt Homes is one example and they have a whole area of their website dedicated to landlords who are looking to buy one of their properties to rent out. They offer various schemes to make this more appealing such as their Leaseback scheme to give guaranteed rental income and this might be a step worth considering for new landlords.