What rent should I charge?

Of course, you want to make a reasonable income from your investment property, but knowing what level to set your rent at can be tricky. If you go too high, you risk putting tenants off - especially if they have lots of properties to choose from in your area. Even just £25 a month extra could deter them - which could leave you with an empty property and a hole in your finances. With this in mind, it’s essential to charge an appropriate rent that gives you a good return while also allowing you to attract tenants.


How can I calculate my rental price?

Unfortunately, there’s no golden rule when it comes to calculating what level of rent to charge, and may or may not sit with your rental yield expectations.  To find out how to calculate your rental yield visit our guide. To decide on an appropriate figure, you’ll need to do some thorough research and take a range of factors into account, from the size of your property and the area it’s based in to the amenities available nearby.

To give you a head start when deciding how much to charge for rent, here are the main issues you should consider:


Location, Location, Location

Where your property is situated can have a big impact on rent. For example, you could probably charge more for a one-bedroom flat in central London than you could for a four-bedroom family home in other areas of the country. The national averages can be useful to gauge high level trends for rental values but when it comes to calculating rental values focus on the typical values in your specific area instead.

Look at the health of the rental market in your location too. Are homes being snapped up by people quickly or do they tend to linger on the market for weeks or even longer before tenants are found? If you’re in an area where demand outstrips supply, you can afford to be more ambitious when setting your rent. In contrast, if the balance of supply and demand tips the other way, you’ll need to aim lower in order to attract tenants.


Furnished or unfurnished?

Are you including full furnishings and appliances or providing a part-furnished or unfurnished property? As a general rule, the more furniture and fittings you include in your rental home, the higher the rental value you could achieve.

However, the impact this has will depend in part on the type of tenants you’re trying to attract. For example, young professionals may be prepared to pay significantly more for homes that come with stylish, well-maintained furniture and appliances. In contrast, students probably won’t pay as much attention to the quality of these items, while families or long-term tenants may have a lot of their own furniture they wish to bring, meaning they would actually prefer a part-furnished or unfurnished property.  We discuss the question 'furnished or unfurnished' for your property in our tips post here.


Property features

The size, condition and energy efficiency rating of your property will clearly have a major effect on how much you can charge for it. The larger your home and the more bedrooms it has, the more you can expect people to pay for it. Also, tenants will pay more for properties that are well-maintained and pleasantly decorated. Additional features such as a garage or parking space and a garden will allow you to increase your rental price too. Gadgets such as ‘Nest’ or ‘Hive’ style smart home devices and availability of fast fibre internet connection may also be a draw for potential tenants, so be sure to mention in your advertisement.  Whether or not tenants will pay more for these ‘features’ however is debatable.


Target tenants 

The type of people you’re trying to attract as tenants is a big factor when it comes to rental value. For instance, if you’re in an area close to a university or college that’s popular with students, your ‘target customer’ is likely to have a lower budget than if you’re in a hotspot for well-paid young professionals.


Local amenities

People will consider paying more for a home that’s near to useful amenities such as shops, parks, schools, work and recreational facilities. There will also be more demand for properties that are in close proximity to transport links including train stations, tube stations and bus stops. If your property is located near to amenities like these, make sure this is reflected in your rental price.


Pets

The UK is undoubtedly a nation of pet lovers, but many landlords don’t allow tenants to move into their properties with animals such as cats and dogs. This means that if you choose to let pet owners rent your property,  you might increase the demand for your property, but might want to consider specific cleaning or clauses relating to pets in the tenancy agreement.     


The competition

One of the best ways to get an accurate idea of what you can charge for your property is to do some research into the competition. The easiest way to do this is to check out property websites such as Rightmove or Zoopla. The HomeLet Rental Index will also give you some up-to-date market information.  HomeLet Rental Index

You could take a look at the property section of your local newspapers for further information too.

By checking the rental values of properties in your area that are a similar condition and size to yours, you’ll get a clear idea of what you should be aiming for.


Local letting agents

Local agents are a good source of information too. Take a look at their websites and shop windows to see the advertised rental value of local properties. You can also speak to these specialists. Even if you don’t want to use a letting agent to market your home, you could tap into their expertise. Simply explain that you’re a landlord who will shortly be looking for tenants and you’re doing some research into how much rent you can expect to get.

Letting agents are a great source of information on the climate of the local property market and they know exactly what tenants are looking for and what they’re prepared to pay. 


Balance ambition with realism

The key when it comes to deciding what rent to charge is to strike a sensible balance. You don’t want to sell your property short by setting a price below its market value, but at the same time it’s important that you don’t allow an unreasonable expectation to get in the way of attracting tenants. As long as you do enough research, you should find that you’re able to make an informed and realistic decision.


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