In Part 2, we're going to be looking at areas that we need to maintain.
- Rents. Its crucial to ensure that all of your properties are full in time for Christmas. There are very few people who move in December unless they have to so start thinking today about what may become vacant and get marketing! I know some landlords who have empty properties and have done so for months on end! It just isn't sound business practice to keep them empty and by having them lived in, you will also prolong the lifespan of the building (there's nothing worse than a cold damp house). So, focus on keeping your properties rented - if you are not getting the calls, drop the rent. If you are getting the viewings but no takers, do a quick decoration, put some pictures up, make it homely - get it rented! After all, its better to get £50 a month less rent than have it empty for just one month.
- Structure. When the winter months come, its time to make sure your properties are sound and any maintenance issues are resolved. Check things such as central heating system, radiators, pipes, roof, guttering and facia boards. Make sure you have a rolling programme to tackle any issues and get them fixed fast. You can never account for everything but at least if you plan ahead, you won't have as many surprises. This is also an excellent time for inside jobs, redecoration, fixing those little things that never work etc.
- Marketing. This is the time when a lot of investors who previously have done lots of marketing for properties stop. And by marketing, I don't just mean leaflets and newspaper advertising; I'm also covering the wider schemes of estate agents, direct mail, property sourcers, personal contacts, property portals and such like. You should never stop marketing for either new property or new tenants. Build a waiting list of deals to look at or tenants to show around and you will quickly find that you have more than enough to take up your time on a daily basis. If marketing is a cost that is becoming too much, try doing co-operative ventures with other investors but don't stop. The cost is far greater than you will realise and you'll need to spend double to get back to where you where before you stopped.
Next time, I'll focus on the next three steps which is all about Growing.
For more strategies and guides to building a cashflow positive portfolio, visit my website at www.yourhmoexpert.com