Selling, renting or renovating an empty property
Deciding on a selling agent
The important thing to remember is that the estate agent is there to work for you and sell your property. Do not be afraid to ask them plenty of questions prior to agreeing to sell with them and throughout the process.
Make sure that the agent has experience of selling property like yours – check there are properties similar to yours advertised in their window or online.
Take a look at the agent’s website – are the pictures well taken, and the descriptions all clear and relevant?
Always gain more than one valuation. Some agents may value your home higher than others. Gaining more than one valuation will help you to develop an understanding of the true market value of your property.
Marketing your property
A good agent will invest in marketing to ensure that they get the best possible price, while a poor agent may just wait for customers to approach them.
Always consider if the agent will use the internet to market your property – if so, do they use other sites apart from their own? You should always ask if they use any of the local or national property search engines. They are very important tools to help boost interest and viewings.
Will they also use newspapers (or property guides) – and if do which ones? Find out what local newspapers there are and if they will feature your property in them.
Always do your homework and take a look at the agent’s website. Are the photographs and text to a good standard? How easy is this website to navigate?
Do not underestimate the power of a photograph! These often persuade people to book viewings so please ensure that the agent has captured your property in the best light. If you are not happy with the photographs then you should always ask for them to be changed, they can make all the difference.
You should always try to create a lasting impression with viewers. You should attempt to make your property as presentable as possible.
Tips to create a good impression include:
- tidying up the garden
- decluttering your property (show the space not the furniture)
- giving your walls a fresh lick of paint (neutral paint will make your home seem lighter and bigger)
- make any minor repairs that may be necessary.
If you are thinking of becoming a landlord, then you will need to make sure that your property is fit to be rented. A rented property must meet the repairing standard.
You will also need to apply to register as a landlord with Landlord Registration Scotland. The Landlord Registration system helps councils to monitor private landlords and ensure that they are suitable to let out property. Before any person or agency is registered, the council will have to check that the applicant is a fit and proper person to let property.
Finding a tenant
There are a number of ways you can find a tenant for your property:
- Do it yourself - you can find a tenant yourself through advertising in a local paper, local shop advertising boards, hospital or education notice boards, or online via social media or dedicated selling and advertising pages.
- Through a letting agency - a lettings agent will be able to market your property, find a tenant, and deal with the contracts. If you wish they will also be able to manage the property on your behalf. Lettings companies will charge a fee for their services. Always shop around to find the correct agency that meets your needs, and please make sure they are a member of an appropriate accreditation authority (for example Landlord Accreditation Scotland).
Identifying the work that needs to be done
Depending on the condition of the property, you may require a professional to assess exactly what works you should have carried out. If this is the case it may be beneficial to contact a local surveyor to arrange a visit. The surveyor will then be able to provide a detailed schedule of works.
Planning permission & building warrants
If you are making physical alterations to the property, you should check with the council’s planning and building standards services whether the works require permission. If consent is required, then we can give you advice you on submitting your application.
You may need to employ an architect or engineer to design and draw your proposals.
Costing the works
You should attempt to get at least three quotes for the work that you need to have carried out. This will give you a clear picture of the cost of the work and the opportunity to select the best contractor for you.
Selecting contractors and other professionals
The Angus Trusted Trader Scheme is a joint Council and Trading Standards initiative to help you choose a reliable local trader.
What if I can’t afford the work?
If you can’t afford to carry out the required work that is needed to bring the property back into use, you still have a number of options:
- the simplest may be to sell the property in its current condition
- you could look for a loan to cover the cost of the works – perhaps releasing equity through re-mortgaging;
- you can also consider some of the empty home owner incentives available nationally and from Angus Council.