Average Void period (for Landlord who markets their own properties) is currently 7 weeks. Average rent in Blackpool and Fylde Coast is £530 pcm, equating to £856 loss of income.
Void periods is a hugely overlooked cost by Landlords, probably because you don’t see it as an expense as you say you would for a contractor invoice. Lost income is exactly the same as incurred expense!
With my portfolio and the properties we Manage on behalf of our clients, I always push this aspect, to aim to ensure we keep Void periods to a minimum. Our office has a target of achieving a Let within 21 days. Here are my tips to reduce the length of any future potential Void periods at your property:
- Keep your tenants – I know this is obvious, but it needs stating, the longer your tenants remain in your property, the less costly Void periods you will incur. Keep your tenants happy, look after and invest in your property and your tenants will remain happier and stay for longer. The biggest factor of rental moves is down to repairs (not being done)!
- Fixed term tenancies – a lot of Landlords are happy to let their tenancies commence on a monthly rolling contract, I don’t like this idea at all. A fixed term tenancy gives security to tenants and also means you as a Landlord know exactly when a tenant is vacating (subject to you managing your renewal process tightly), providing you a larger window to market the property prior to tenant vacating.
- Marketing – quality of photos is more important then ever, remember your property is competing with many similar properties. I always recommend professional photography and making sure your property is ready for photography prior. Floorplans, a good letting agent should arrange these, if you manage yourself, there are soo many apps you can use to simply produce your own. Tenants are busy, they don’t want to view properties they are not sure if they are suitable and this will lead to losing out on good tenants. Videos are a huge added bonus, we utilise 360 Photos for properties we market, but even a simple video walkthrough on your smart phone will work wonders in generating interest.
- Curb appeal – a let is won or lost within the first few seconds of the viewing, to avoid wasted viewings, ensure your property is clean, tidy and attractive externally. Garden areas tidied, good furniture on the door (handles etc.)
- Price – always ensure you price your property correctly when going to market, you don’t want to delay securing a Let by over pricing your property and delaying getting your property rented, as in most cases the extra rent will not cover the additional Void period incurred to secure the rent (also you may have dismissed a more suitable tenant in the process), leading to a false economy. Look at leading portals, see how much rent is being secured for similar properties to yours, how long have the properties been on the market for, and this will give you a good idea of current market rents for your property.
- Condition of property – Decor, Cleanliness and Repairs, I repeat Decor, Cleanliness and Repairs. Keep this in mind every time a tenant vacates and priorities these three areas, making sure your property is fresh and no outstanding repairs prior to tenants coming to view, will lead to less viewings to secure a Let and will lead to your property being able to attract a better quality of tenant.
- Outsource to an Agent – you thought I would say that, right? But think about the facts, if it costs £856 in lost income by you managing the process of marketing and securing a property, would it not make sense if you could outsource to a pro-active agent who could secure a tenant quicker, deal with the enquiries and viewings, arrange reference checks, ensure the Let and Property is compliant with the vast legislation Landlords need to adhere to, conduct move in appointment……
All of these points, will lead to you reducing Void periods and maximising the return on your investment. Profit, was this not the reason you purchased your buy-to-let?