Your home is your castle. But every now and then personal circumstances, career opportunities or the simple call to adventure can draw you away from your fortress of calm, love and tranquility. When this happens, you need to know that your home will be well cared for… And that the mortgage will still be paid in your absence. Whether you’ve been offered a job placement you can’t refuse or you simply want to take your family away on an extended holiday for a few months (travel is, after all, a great education for kids), letting out your home while your away seems like a sensible option. Nonetheless, it is not an arrangement that should be entered into blindly. To protect yourself, your home and your family from any adverse effects, you should ask yourself these questions before letting out your house…
Letting out your home can be a lot more work than you may think. While your tenancy agreement with your tenant will place the onus on them to keep the place generally well maintained, you are nonetheless responsible for keeping the property safe and habitable… And that can be difficult from half a world away. Fortunately, an experienced lettings agent can take a lot of the legwork out of the equation for you. They will, however, expect a percentage of your rental income for their trouble.
You will have a legal responsibility to make your home safe and habitable to your tenants. Will you have to carry out any repairs, changes or renovations to facilitate this? Will that little fold of loose carpet that your family knows to avoid need to be secured once and for all? Will your idiosyncratic shower that goes from freezing to scalding with no inbetween need to be repaired? These are important considerations that will need to be addressed (and paid for).
We tend to accumulate a lot of stuff over the years. If you’ll be taking leave of your home for a while, where will it all go? What will you leave in the home for the tenants? What will you put in storage? The more you leave in your home, the more you may worry that it could get damaged, worn, torn or stained. The more you leave in storage, on the other hand, the more you can expect to pay for a larger storage unit… Unless you feel like selling a lot of your possessions.
Finally, while a lettings agent can help you to make an informed choice when it comes to how much to charge your tenants, it remains ultimately at your discretion. Undercharge and you will have a much greater chance of filling the property quickly. Overcharge, however, and while you could enjoy more rental income, you could be waiting much longer to fill the property. There’s no right or wrong answers but it does depend on your personal circumstances and the location of your home.