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A Guide to Renting

A Nottingham Letting Agent with a difference...

Comfort Lettings - enjoy better letting.

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Choosing a Letting Agent

When asking a letting agent to value your property, you will have several options and agents to choose from.  Agents sometimes differentiate themselves based on fee levels, but there are a number of other important factors. 

The quality of service you receive will ultimately influence your experience as a landlord and therefore an agent offering best value for money rather than cheapest fee may be best suited to your needs.  

The reputation of a well-regarded agent can be very attractive to tenants and an agent with membership to regulatory bodies can give you peace of mind that your money is in safe hands.

1 Rental Valuation

1. Rental Valuation

A property valuation with Comfort Lettings will take into account many factors which will affect the appropriate rent to charge your tenants.  The following aspects will influence the property valuation and may need to be considered or discussed further:

  • Type of tenant the property will attract (family, professionals, corporate, sharers)
  • What fixtures and fittings will be included in the property (oven, fridge/freezer etc)
  • The local demand of that property type and whether that may change over time
  • State of repair and décor
  • Proximity to local amenities and transport links

Our local experts are on hand to guide you through the important questions and property related legislation.  We base our valuations on our knowledge of the local market trends and use this information to guide how we market your property.

2 Select A Service

2. Select a Service Level

Before choosing a service level, it is worth thinking about the level of involvement you want to have with your tenant and property. A landlord will typically deal with day-to-day maintenance, monthly rent collection, service of legal notices and other responsibilities that may affect your current lifestyle.

At Comfort Lettings we offer 3 main service levels to suit the differing needs of landlords:

  1. Basic Let-Only Service; 
  2. Rental Collection Service; and 
  3. Fully Managed Service to make your property investment hassle free.

In our experience, tenants will often look for properties that are fully managed by agents to ensure their maintenance needs are overseen by our Portfolio Managers and dealt with by local professionals.

3 Market Your Property

3. Market your Property

Without a letting agent, finding the right tenant can be expensive, time consuming and hard work.  You want to ensure that you not only find a tenant, but the right tenant for you and your property.  This starts by getting the word out about your property and ensuring it is shown in its very best light.

Once we receive instruction from you we will prepare the property details.  This can include professional property photography, engaging write up of the property description, location maps, floor plans and an energy performance certificate.  We will start the marketing of your property to find you the right tenant.

Your property will also be marketed on our website comfortlettings.co.uk, where potential tenants can sign up to our online account service which alerts them when rental properties that match their criteria become available. We also use rightmove.co.uk and OnTheMarket.com to market properties and where appropriate utilise Facebook which is a growing source of tenant leads.

The website is fully responsive to mobile phone and tablet formats so prospective tenants can search for properties when they're out and about.

4 Viewings

4. Viewings

As a general rule, we will carry out all of your property viewings with one of our professional Accompanied Viewers.  Each property has a viewing pack carefully put together by one of our Valuers to ensure that our Accompanied Viewers are already knowledgeable about the unique selling points.

When preparing your house for viewings, remember to appeal to the masses.  If you are decorating your property, keep it simple and don’t let your personal tastes put off potential tenants.   We recommend that you keep your property a blank canvass to allow every prospective tenant the chance to visualise the space becoming their own home.  Start by ensuring that your house is clean and clutter free.

5 Negotiating And Agreeing An Offer

5. Negotiating and agreeing an offer

Our trained experts are able to handle the negotiation between you and your prospective tenant.  At Comfort Lettings, we strive to get you a favourable rental value, but there are other factors which are worth considering when choosing prospective tenants such as suitable references and reliable income. 

It is important to establish the terms of any tenancy at this stage as we will enter into an agreement with the tenant subject to them providing suitable references and passing credit checks.  Any special tenancy clauses need to be agreed at this point in order to avoid any misunderstandings further down the line.

6 References And Credit Checks

6. References and credit checks

It is important to run thorough checks on a prospective tenant to ensure that your investment is secure.  At Comfort Lettings, we use strict referencing procedures which give our landlords a comprehensive understanding of their personal and financial circumstances including a check on their employment history, credit worthiness and previous addresses. 

It is crucial to the success of the rental to get things underway on a good footing by establishing a prospective tenant's rental circumstances.  We maintain rental arrears at less than 0.3% and believe our strict referencing criteria reduces landlord risk of a non-paying tenant.

7 Igning The Tenancy

7. Signing the tenancy agreement

This document sets out the rights as well as the responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant.  It is important both parties take time to read and understand the terms under which they are agreeing to enter.  

Comfort Lettings use a fully electronic document signing solution that is quick, convenient and completely secure.  It allows landlords and tenants to sign tenancy agreements from the comfort of their own homes, night or day and on any electronic device such as a mobile phone or tablet.

8 Inventory

8. The inventory & condition report

The inventory and condition report is a detailed list that is agreed and signed by both parties at the beginning of the let itemising the contents and condition of the property at the time the tenant moves in.  It includes date stamped photos of the whole house and photographic evidence of the condition of fixtures & fittings.

Comfort Lettings use modern mobile inventory solutions that allow fully documented reports to be prepared and uploaded for the convenience of the tenant and landlord - we also make these available through your account area.  It is important to create a comprehensive list in order to minimise the risk of any dispute over the deposit at the end of the tenancy.

9 Securing The Deposit

9. Securing the deposit

Once the deposit has been paid in full, the tenant has secured the property. This deposit is held against possible damage to the property which can be checked against the inventory at the end of the tenancy. The Housing Act 2004 protects all parties in this regard as the deposit is now required to be held within a government-approved scheme for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. 

This scheme offers quicker and easier ways of resolving disputes, without the need for court action.  Comfort Lettings secure their deposits with the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) custodial scheme.

10 Tenants More In

10. Tenants move in

Our experience has shown that time and again, small gestures of goodwill go a long way with tenants.  Small things, such as leaving appliance manuals and writing out instructions as to how to use the heating or a boiler can help build a lasting relationship and establish trust between a tenant and a landlord - it may also reduce the risk of the tenant breaking the appliance!

In order to ensure that your property is being well looked after, we will need to agree a number of inspections with the tenants, usually a 2-4 of times a year.  Of course, if anything breaks down or requires further attention, we'll need to arrange further visits.  If you want to minimise your workload, Comfort Lettings offer a Full Management Service to lighten the load.

As a Comfort Lettings landlord, if anything else arises, before, during or after the tenancy, we are always on hand to help or offer advice where we can.  Whatever your enquiry, contact us – we will be more than happy to help.

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