The buy-to-let market is a lucrative one for landlords, with demand high and the returns they are able to bring in consistently around the six per cent mark. However, in a market where the private rented sector has become something of a celebrated asset class, it has become more challenging than at any time in the past to reach the heights you want.
Whether it's accidental landlords or professional investors with a strong portfolio to their name, there is a high level of competition out there in the rental sector, so those looking to turn a worthwhile profit need to be aware of the areas where they can get an edge and give themselves the best opportunity of coming out on top.
One of these key factors for success comes online, with listings for properties on the internet now more important than they have ever been before.
Why is online so important for landlords?
In the digital age, everyone has easy access to the web, with the advent of laptops, smartphones and tablets meaning that they can be online anytime anywhere, researching where they want to live.
According to online estate agent eMoov, this is exactly what is happening at current, with the latest report from the company stating that an almost unanimous 98 per cent of people will research a property online before they ever consider viewing it.
This means that you need to make sure that your own online listings are up to scratch. Almost every property that is available to rent these days will have an advertisement, and with all but two per cent of your target market using this medium to find their next home, having the stand out ads will only serve to make your prospects for high returns better.
"There is an enormous amount of data instantly available to both property buyers and sellers. Although there are those that still avoid technology, for the majority of people the internet is now the vital tool for both property buyers and sellers," said Russell Quirk, the firm’s chief executive officer.
What are the main areas of focus for online ads?
Just being online with your advertisements isn't enough to ensure success, of course. You need to make sure that the listing is perfect in order to capture the attention of the target audience and make sure they book themselves a viewing. So what are the most important areas to focus on?
According to eMoov, some 67 per cent of people said that the first thing they will look at will be the description of the property, so you need to make sure this is spot on. Don't make it too long winded, be straight to the point, and make use of key words like spacious, roomy, close to amenities and transport etc.
You can tailor these most important phrases to suit whoever you are looking to attract - know who they are, what they want and what is likely to tick all the right boxes when they're searching. For example, if you are looking at letting to families, mentioning schools will be important, while young professionals will want to know how far they are from the nearest Tube station.
The research also said that some 36 per cent of people are using online listings to compare the property they want to others in the area in terms of pricing and how it's presented, so it's important for landlords to do the same so they know what the competition is doing.