By Rosa Domingo, Hospitality Director at Withfor.
There are many things that can happen when renting. You have to take into account a series of factors on how to rent a flat safely, especially if it is the first time you do it.
This is one of the most frequent topics with our clients. Recently, one of our clients, Ana*, told us what a big and difficult task it is not only to find the ideal property, but also to find all the information on how to rent a flat, as she had been trying for months without success.
Renting your flat is not as easy as it seems, as there are many things to consider.
That is why she decided to contact us, Withfor, a luxury real estate agency in Barcelona. I greeted her in the office, and we discussed some key aspects during the whole rental process, some that sometimes go unnoticed by the owners but that we take in to account thanks to our experience and even more so in a city with such a wide and diverse real estate market as Barcelona.
Our commitment is always to be here for you, so we have compiled from Ana’s experience the essential points and we share these tips with you for renting a flat successfully.
5 tips to know before renting a flat
1. First impressions are everything
Tenants’ perception is everything. What happened in Ana’s flat was that the wall colours were very dull, there were a few light bulbs that didn’t work and the furniture in the living room had a lot of decoration that strongly marked her personal taste.
Our recommendation as specialists was to pay special attention to the home, to ensure that everything was in perfect condition and to avoid it being too personal when the time came to show it. This is one of the key tricks when renting a flat as a landlord.
You have to understand that the property will be shown in a window display, and a prospective tenant has to be able to visualise themselves living there. Therefore, the simpler the space, the easier it will be to imagine yourself in it to get an idea.
Animals are faithful companions of humans and most of us love to have them at home; however, it is necessary to take great care of the cleaning when we have them.
This was precisely the case for Ana. She had a cat. On entering the flat, there were clear indications that there was an animal in the house, as small tears could be seen on the sofa and a litter box in the corner of the kitchen. By relocating the box and covering the sofa with a cover, she gave the space a new look.
3. The energy certificate
Another very important thing that Ana needed to get was the energy certificate. This document together with the certificate of habitability are key requirements that, as the owner, you must have up to date and valid if you want to rent the property.
Not only is it essential and compulsory by law, but it is also a determining factor in the positioning of the flat’s advert on real estate portals. An advert with this information will have better quality and therefore will have a greater chance of being seen by a wider public. And if you also have a floor plan, all the better!
And to our readers we should say that, in case you do not have this certificate and you do not know where to begin to process it, in Withfor we give advice to obtain it in an easy way and without major worry; we could even take charge of it ourselves.
4. Expenses and other documents
Other frequent doubts are the documentation to rent a flat: Do I have the valid habitability certificate, for how long is it better to rent, what is the profit to receive, up to what margin am I willing to lower the price, what type of rent contract should I establish?
In order to do this, it is necessary to have a conversation to review both the cost calculations involved in renting, what we want to obtain in terms of profitability, and the market prices, to find out how much my flat is worth or how much I can rent it for.
We often advise our clients to find a price according to expectations and the market. We also recommend including the cost of an insurance against non-payment, as the case may be.
5. Everything must work 100%
In the case of Ana’s flat, some details such as the light bulbs and a few faucets were broken. When the change was made, everything looked better.
Therefore, before putting your flat up for rent you must have all the elements inside it up to date. This includes appliances and furniture in good condition and in good working order.
Cleanliness is a must, and in general terms, the flat should be a suitable place for dignified habitation.
What is the best month to rent?
Another thing to bear in mind is that seasonal variations go up and down, but it is true that the peaks of demand during the year tend to be during the spring season and up to the start of the student calendar, especially at the beginning of postgraduate and masters university classes.
So April – September are the key months.
Other tips for renting a flat quickly and safely
The truth is that there is no single formula that ensures the speed of renting a flat. Rather, it is a sum of elements that can play in your favour, for example:
- Being clear about your ideal tenant. Depending on what your flat is like, you may want to rent to a couple, or if you own a studio apartment, your target audience is likely to be young people.
- Offer a competitive market pricethat is in line with demand in the area where the property is located.
- Take advantage of featuressuch as size, light, age, whether or not it has a terrace, balcony, swimming pool, etc.
- Write a good descriptionfor the advert, as we do for our section of luxury flats for rent in Barcelona. We highlight attractive details such as: “it is a sunny and bright flat” or “located in a quiet and familiar neighbourhood”.
- Ensure that the photographs really capture the essence of your home. We help you to take care of every detail of tidiness and we take great care to put everything in its place so that it is published in perfect condition.
What if I want to sell a rented flat?
Given the case that you see yourself in this situation, from Withfor we have several steps to sell a flat in a legal and safe way among which stand out:
- A possible sale should not be carried out before the first 3 years that the rental contract lasts.
- To warn the tenants with a term of 1 to 3 months of anticipation since its rental contract must be terminated.
- Current tenants have preference for the purchase process unless the contract stipulates otherwise.
- If the rental contract is registered in the Land Registry, the tenant can remain in the flat.
- If the rental contract is not registered in the Land Registry, you have the green light to make the sale.
- Keep communication open with the tentants in order to have access to show the flat to potential buyers.
Remember that, when in doubt, at Withfor, we are always available to help and advise you in the best possible way.
*Pseudonym used to refer to one of our clients.