INTERNET SHOPPING FOR LANDLORDS
Landlords are all aware of the convenience of shopping on line. This is why more landlords than ever are choosing to find and then buy goods and services using the Internet.
Internet shopping made up 15p in every pound of retail spending last year. Spending on the web leapt to a record £46.6bn in 2007 – more than 50% on the previous year, according to research by Interactive Media in Retail Group.
Most landlords work and therefore have limited time to research and purchase goods and services that they need for their residential investment business. The Internet in theory provides the perfect platform for landlords to research & buy the elements that they need to run their residential investment business simply and efficiently. Property Hawk therefore asks the question ‘can landlords really save time or money by using the Internet’ and ‘what services can landlords buy online’.
Which landlord’s goods and services
Firstly, in looking at the types of goods and services that landlords require they broadly come into two categories.
These are services that are not specific to a landlord property but relate to the residential investment business as a whole. Services such as buy-to-let insurance and buy-to-let mortgages are ideal in that the details and specification of any product can be selected and sorted out remotely. In contrast there are the property specific services such as plumbing, letting or repair work. All these and others like them require a visit by the contractor to a landlord’s buy-to-let property in order to access and then carry out the work. These types of service can’t really be transacted fully using the Internet because they rely on work and decisions taking place on the ground at a landlord’s residential investment property.
Internet Shopping Guide for landlords
Therefore, having assessed the type of products a landlord can use and find on the Internet. Property Hawk looks at some of the products & services landlords can actually buy online.
Insurance is a good product to compare and buy online. This is because like most financial products the details that the insurer needs to offer a quote and sell a product can be all transacted over the Internet. For information on what to look out for landlords should read Property Hawks guide to buy-to-let insurance.
Websites such as Money Supermarket are what are called aggregators and allow landlords to compare prices offered by the various different insurance brokers. Landlords should be aware that there are only about 4 companies offering buy-to-let insurance and therefore the main difference is the price that the insurance broker sells the insurance at. It’s therefore worth landlords shopping around to find the cheapest quote.
Landlords might want to look at avoiding the Tenancy Deposit Scheme by taking out the specialist insurance available through Alan Boswell
It is also possible for a landlord to insure themselves against the costs of boiler & central heating breakdown.
Landlords concerned about their tenant stopping paying rent can also insure themselves against non payment of rent by their tenants.
BUILDING & MAINTENANCE
Most landlords are only too aware of how time consuming the process of buying equipment and materials for repair and improvement to their buy-to-let properties. The whole process of going to the local DIY store, finding the product that they want and then transporting it to their residential investment property can be incredibly time consuming. Therefore, how many landlords realise that a subsidiary of B&Q actually offers the ability to landlords to buy many of these products online and then have them delivered direct to their residential investment property. Screwfix is the online subsidiary of B & Q and offers a whole range of DIY products. Have a look here for their latest clearance products
COOKERS & OVENS
Being a landlord the situation frequently a rises where a small part in one of the appliances installed in a landlord’s buy-to-let property will fail. A landlord is then faced with the very tedious and time consuming job of having to trail around various specialist cooker shops in the unlikely chance that they will be able to source the right part. I had a situation recently when an element went on one of my ovens. In the process of trying to get a cooker repaired I found this little gem for sourcing and buying elements.
The website allows a landlord by simply typing in the part reference number to find the exact part and then order and pay for it online. In my case the part arrived the next day by post
VETTING & TRACING
An essential for a landlord trying to manage the letting of their own residential investment property is to vet their tenants to ensure they are suitable before taking them on. It is possible to do this by phone and fax but increasingly companies allow landlords to input the information via the Internet which is far more convenient for most landlords. One such company is Rentchecks.
Rentchecks allows a landlord for as little as £12.95 to vet and check a potential tenant by seeking information on the following: 6 year credit check, acceptability score, linked address summary, address verification. Landlords that are unlucky with their tenants and then require legal advice from an expert property lawyer might find this site dedicated to landlord law useful.
Where a landlord needs assistance regaining possession of their buy-to-let investment they can turn to property repossession experts, Landlord Action.
If a tenant has disappeared and a landlord then needs to trace the tenant or needs assistance reclaiming rent and other money owed landlords can use the services of a company such as Tracemart to try and track down their missing tenants. For those landlords that want a little bit more assistance they can rely on a company such as 1st Locate.
Want to find out more about a tenant that has gone AWOL?
Buy-to-let mortgages are a financial product ideally suited to finding and comparing using the Internet. There are a number of websites that allow landlords to search for buy-to-let mortgages using online databases.
For landlords that don’t want to go through the process of inputting lots of data but just want to see some of the best buy-to-let mortgage rates currently available they can have a look at our BTL mortgage search for the best rates currently available.
Landlords that are interested in getting a buy-to-let mortgage or remortaging should look out for Property Hawk’s revolutionary mortgage micro site COMING SOON. This will give landlords for the first time the ability to find the buy-to-let mortgage they want by harnessing the power of the Internet. It will give landlords more information in one spot and more choice of buy-to-let mortgages than ever before. We hope you will find it useful.
I’m sure there are many more useful websites and products that can be bought over the Internet saving landlords time and money.