Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Being in business doesn’t have to mean a desk job

Work and family are probably the two most time intensive activities any of us is likely to engage in. Doing both can often seem to be a challenge that no-one can ever truly master, and finding a way to prioritise both without damaging either can be a real hassle.

Being your own boss and being able to set your schedule can seem like an ideal fix. It allows easy time management so that there’s flexibility when you need it, like school holidays, without compromising your work.

Becoming a landlord can be a great way to make the most of this kind of opportunity.

While you will need to be aware of your tenants and any problems that they might have, they won’t take over family life to the point where you start missing things. You can still focus the time when the children aren’t around to work and unless there is a real emergency you won’t have to sacrifice time you normally spend together as a family.

Being a landlord is an opportunity that can be as little or as large as you like. There is no pressure to extend further than you’re comfortable with. While it will require a lot of self-discipline (as you may be working for no-one but that means that no-one will badger you to get things done), you’re working towards goals that you’ve set yourself and are, hopefully, manageable.

That doesn’t mean that you won’t need a little help from outside though, in fact a little help right at the start can go a long way. Once you’ve found a suitable property, made sure you’re allowed to rent it and spruced it up, you should do the following.

Firstly, ask a specialist solicitor’s advice on what kind of tenancy agreement you need. It’s an up-front cost but getting it right first time is much better than having to do it over and over.

Secondly, decide if you’re happy to vet your tenants yourself. While there are letting agencies, their commission is as much as a fifth of the rent you charge so it can play havoc with budgeting.

Finally, get specialist insurance for landlords. This is vital and covers you against small problems to the worst that can happen. Natwest is a good place to start, as normal insurance policies don’t cover landlords but their specialist policies do. 

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