We have a house in Cromarty that we have just refurbed and our mate is currently staying there gratis as he refurbed it.
Anyway, we would like to rent it out but have no idea if doing it off our own backs or using a local letting agent is the way forward. I was wondering if anyone on here does either and if you do, do you recommend it, any pitfalls, hassles etc.
We are on the south coast so popping in now and again to check things or keep an eye on things is not going to be practicable.
In reply to Denni: I guess the pitfall of doing it yourself is the distance thing, my Mum did this for a while and it was a bit of a PITA. The pitfall of using a letting agent is of course that you'll be selling your soul to one of the devils minions.
Ideally you either want a letting agent that you have had recommended by someone you know (hard to come by for some reason) or you need to rent it to someone you know or know of. Would your mate be willing to rent it cheaply from you, if you can find someone reliable and semi-permanent you'll save money in bills, refurbishments, re-advertising and letting agent costs so could give the right person a cheaper rate. And again, you wont have to suckle on their fiery teats of shame.
I rented out a house to a friends sister and her boyfriend a few years back and had an absolute bastard of a time. I lived 300 miles away which didn't help at all.
He stole my identity and put 8 grand on a credit card in my name never paid the rent on time. They even knocked down my garage!! Proper scumbags.
In reply to Denni: Ben was pretty much right IMO, if you can possibly get someone long(ish) term who isn't an idiot in one way or another you will be golden...
If not, it depends a bit on your priorities. If you have lots of time and want to make money, don't use an agency. If you have lots of money and no time, employ an agency. If you have neither money nor time, sell the house :D
Cheers for all the replies folks, appreciate it. We have a friend who will want to rent it for about a year.
Our idea Isn't to nake bucketloads of money as the location I think dictates that that ain't going to happen so as long as the mortgage is covered then we will be happy.
We had the house on the market for a year and not a sniff so that doesn't seem to be an option either.
I'm veering towards an agent but the wife wants to do it ourselves which means me doing all the graft and sorting out any hassles which to be honest I could do without as she will be away with the Navy and my life is fairly busy as a stay at home dad. Also, no way I can just drop things and head up north to sort things out if needed.
In reply to Denni: Do you know the area/any local tradesmen? Are you renting it furnished and with fixtures? If the house is relatively modernised the things that are going to go wrong are probably going to be things like washing machine broken down etc. If you aren't letting the property with them in you'll cut out any hassle from those types of repairs. Or maybe you could let it with them but with the proviso that you aren't responsible for their maintenance? Obviously you'll get less rent money but also less hassle.
Things like water leaks, boiler not working etc. if you're not local the easiest thing to do would be to get your tenant to arrange a tradesman and get the invoice sent to you (provided you trust your tenant). Either that or just liaise with them remotely, that's all a letting agent would do.
Also, don't assume an agent will be hassle free, especially if you're friendly with the person moving in. What are you going to do when they get sick and tired of the agent not dealing with their problem and ring you up. Or if they bodge up/neglect any repairs that need doing and leave you with more money to pay once you're tenant has moved on. Better to get screwed from one side only and leave the agent out of it imo. You may get a bad tenant at some point but if you're honest and helpful with them they're more likely to treat your property with respect, if they're dealing with an ar*e of a letting agent they are probably less likely to do that than if they were in direct contact with you.
Our landlord (we're in Inverness) uses Macleod and MacCallum in town and they're pretty good. It seems to work well for both of us although our arrangement means we contact the landlord directly if there are any issues rather than the agency. M&M act more as factors than letting agents in our case.
Thanks again for the advice folks. We've decided to go down the DIY route as we had a chat with our mate last night and he is happy to live there for at least 18 months due to his work.
So, we have just registered as landlords, will contact the council today to register with them then I was thinking of the following: ( please add if I have missed something, which I will have!)
Landlords insurance to include boiler if possible?
Inventory, check all furniture is fire retardant
PAT stickers (is this a yearly thing?)
WHSmith letting agreement
Contents insurance covered by tenant
Contact the VAT man
So that's just off the top of my head. Anything else I should consider?
Thanks in advance, Den
PS, Gordon, our mate Dave is staying there now but may want a lodger at some point, any good for you?
In reply to Denni: Cromarty is prime holiday letting territory. In Winter though it can be fairly dead (I live in Avoch on the south side of the Black Isle and was in Cromarty on Hogmanay). We considered houses there but its still a bit far to commute regularly into Inverness. There are lots of jobs going on the other side of the water in Nigg next year which will bring people to the area but the ferry from Cromarty to Nigg only runs in Summer so they cant commute either. Ian Rankin has just bought a house in Cromarty as it is off the beaten track but it has a very good arts vibe. Dont know what your retirement plans are Denni but you could do an awful lot worse than Cromarty!
I have never been a landlord (only seen it from the other side) so cant add to your list, sorry.
In reply to ring ouzel:
Avoch, know it well, lovely place.
Have had the house for a while now, it was my other halfs which we kept when I sold mine in Fort Bill.
The estate agent in Dingwall said it would be a bugger to rent because of everything you said above. Travel time to Sneck and as you said, the ferry schedule.
We are lucky that we have someone there now for at least the next 18 months because we were either going to try and sell it again or were hoping it could be rented due to the increase of work at the oil yard but again the ferry only running in summer and the commute round doesn't make it a good idea!
No idea what the retirement plans are, missus has a while left in the Navy but if I had my way, we'd move to Inverness. I love it down here on the south coast but I do miss Scotland.
In reply to Denni: Yeah I lived in Godalming and Haslemere for years and used to nip down to Pagham Harbour to go birding or along the A272 on my bike from Petersfield to that horrible dark village with the big wall around it (whats it called?). A272 is a brill road. Also lived in Badshot Lea which was too close to Aldershot