Once you have selected a couple of rental properties you are interested in, it is time to do some viewings, in order to zero in on the one you want to purchase. Viewings can either be arranged privately (simply call up the seller and work it out with him/her), or you can ask your real estate agent to arrange the viewings for you – asking the agent to book a viewing is always the better option, and having your agent along during viewings gives you the added benefit of an expert opinion.

When doing viewings, it is necessary to equip yourself with a camera, a notepad and pen, and some measuring tape, so you can note down all the features of the property. Make sure you make clear notes on every property you view, so you can compare the pros and cons of each later. It is recommended that you do viewings during the day, when you can observe the home in natural light, as this will help you judge its features better. Look for a sound structure – as a landlord, you will be required to install and check various things (like fire alarms, and a sound wiring system), but make sure there are no major, costly repairs that might be required before you can rent out the property.

The key to doing viewings for rental property is to go into the process with a clear head – do not let your emotions get the better of you, and do not look for properties that suit your personal preferences. Instead, search for a house/apartment that caters to the demands of most tenants, and is suitable for the rental market; in short, treat it like the investment it is.

Do not rush to buy on the same day you conduct a viewing – even if a rental property seems perfect, take a couple of days to think over it carefully, and get a number of opinions before making the decision to purchase it.

Once you decide on the rental property you want to purchase, it is time to make an offer. The first thing you need to do is decide on your budget; calculate the profit you are likely to receive from the investment, and based on this, determine the maximum amount you are willing to spend. In order to make an offer the seller can’t refuse, it is essential that you strengthen your position – buyers who go into the process with a pre-arranged mortgage are likely to be favored above other potential buyers. A pre-arranged mortgage can also help your agent negotiate with the seller more successfully.

In order to get a great deal, you will need to look for certain weaknesses in the equation, from the seller’s point of view. For example, if you are buying at the low end of an economic cycle, when there is a dearth of buyers in the market, the seller is likely to be more open to negotiating. The price for a property that has been on the market for a long time, or that needs to be sold in a hurry, is also easily negotiable.

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