10 Steps to Finding your Ideal Rental Property

It’s all very well deciding you would like to become a landlord. But clearly, finding the right properties that tenants want to rent from you and you can make a profit from— is key to your success. This guide will give you 10 top tips to make finding your ideal rental property a lot less daunting.


It sounds like a cliche, but location is still top of the list when it comes to choosing a property, even a rental one. Even though you are not living there, your tenant is. So, if it’s a family home, local schools and a garden will always be super important to tenants. Whereas a young professional would probably prefer no garden to have to maintain and will be more interested in fast and convenient transport links, and local shops and restaurants. Consider what your prospective tenant will want, who may prefer something more urban and better value than you.

Aside, from choosing an attractive location for your tenant, you should make sure the area is experiencing or expected to experience rising house prices. And that you can service the property from your location.

Work out what you can afford

Unless you are lucky enough to have significant savings or a serious windfall, most people will be looking to buy a rental home with a mortgage. It’s going to be easier, in the long run, to get your finances in order so that a bank can offer you a mortgage in principle, subject to you finding the right property. This at least gives you a budget with which to start looking. Without doing this first, as with any purchase in life you can’t afford, there is a good chance of you wasting your time and others as well as potentially making yourself miserable by seeing something you love but simply can’t have.

Consider wants and needs

Consider the basics and what you would like from the rental property. You can start by making notes such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a specific area, the distance from commuter links and the property’s condition. From the wish list, then put those items into must and nice-to-haves. This can help you eliminate and rank properties you are considering.

Plan for the long term

It’s vital that when you are choosing a rental property, you know what your long-term plan is. If the property is going to be passed on as an inheritance, there’s less to think about. But if you want to sell the property for a retirement nest egg, you need to make sure the mortgage term ends at a time that suits you. This might mean a 15-year mortgage term is what you need if you are planning to retire early. Think carefully about this, as it will have a significant bearing on how much you can borrow monthly.

Get searching

The best way to search for most things these days is the internet. Plenty of sites such as Rightmove have tons of properties, which can easily be explored by area.

Or take the more traditional route by signing up with local estate agents or driving around an area where you would like to invest and look out for sale signs outside suitable properties.

Stretch yourself

While it’s important to consider affordability, you may want to consider stretching yourself initially if you feel you have a stable future and are likely to have higher future earnings, as is the case with most people. Once you have made the initial renovations, you are only likely to have to make one-off individual improvement after this.

Think about trade offs

Consider getting extra value with a rental property if you are on a tight budget. For example, a property near a noisy road will be more affordable if less appealing. But, if some triple glazing will fix this mostly, then it could be a good option. Similarly, properties next to schools are also noisy during term time. However, if you rent to working professionals rarely at home during the day, you could bag yourself a bargain.

Focus on the basics

When viewing a property that could use some help from the taste and style police, make sure you consider what is a terribly designed and not just a hideously decorated property.

Ugly fireplaces and garish colour schemes can be changed relatively inexpensively. Even a kitchen can get new cupboard doors, and surfaces can be replaced without a major blow to your budget. What is far more difficult to change are narrow corridors and rooms. And if you would like to extend the property later, check if there is room. Bear in mind a loft extension is the cheapest way to create more space.

Learn everything you can about a property

It’s surprising how few questions some people have for the seller or the seller’s representative. They often ask trivial questions or very few. There are so many important questions you could be asking that it’s worthy of a guide in itself.

While you have the seller or their representative’s time during a viewing, make sure you drop some of these all too important questions. Some questions could alert you to potential issues, or you might find a snippet of information that can help you get a better price.

  • Why is the owner selling?
  • What’s included in the price?
  • How long have the owners been living here?
  • Do you have noisy neighbours?
  • How long has the property been on the market?
  • How old is the property?
  • When was the boiler installed?
  • When was the guttering and drains last replaced?
  • What is the council tax?
  • What is the energy performance rating?
  • Are the sellers part of a chain?
  • Do the sellers have a minimum price they will accept?

Be patient

Remember that shopping for such an important investment is not likely to happen overnight.

10 Steps to finding your ideal rental property: Things to Remember

Here’s a quick summary of our tips:

  • Never forget the importance of an appealing location for your prospective tenant, whether it’s local commuter links or local amenities such as shops and schools if you rent a family home.
  • Before you start searching, get a mortgage in principle offer from a bank, so you know how much your budget is before you start looking.
  • Consider the essential things your rental property must have and things that are less necessary to help you search more efficiently.
  • Consider your long-term goals for your rental property. This is vital for any investment and will enable you to choose a mortgage term and budget that aligns with your future plans.
  • Search the internet or go old school and visit local estate agents or if you have an area in mind, take a drive to see potential properties for sale you would like to view.
  • Consider tightening your belt for the first few years of your investment.
  • You can get a bargain if you choose carefully. Look for cheaper properties due to a downside that your tenants are unlikely to be bothered about.
  • When viewing a property, consider things you can change quickly and inexpensively and things you can’t.
  • When viewing a property, check out our top questions you should ask the seller.
  • Have a little patience. This is a big decision and a significant investment.

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