I had never considered renting my house out and, being one of life's non-risk takers€ I shuddered at the thought. Some of my friends rented their house out, so I know it was an option, but I didn't ever think for a million years that I would ever do it. As a family we came to the point where we needed a larger house. Ideally we would have sold our house and bought another house (keeping it simple), but our house didn't sell and so we were left with a decision to make (stay where we were or rent it out in order to move on).
Three big things put me off renting:
1. Giving up my home, that I had loved and enjoyed over many years, over to random strangers felt risky. How would I know if they would take care of it? What if they wrecked it or were horrible to the lovely neighbours?
2. Financially it felt like a lot to think through and take on (how would I even begin to make sense of everything that I needed to cover and how much it would cost, were there any hidden costs, would I cover the mortgage?)
3. The thought of being a â€œlandlordâ€ left me cold. I have a stupidly busy life (two young children, a full time working mum with a demanding job, a full time working husband who travelled)â€.the thought of taking on one more thing in my life just didn't seem possible.
The Lettings side of Hamilton Chess couldn't have been more patient with me and helpful to me as we worked through all of my barriers (over lots of months!). Some key things that helped:
1. They were very professional in every respect. Courteous and friendly on the phone, turned up to appointments on time, had done all their homework / preparation to enable us to have a good conversation about realistic possibilities, not at all pushy and so gave me plenty of time to reflect and think things through, and followed up on commitments on time (e.g. getting more information for me or making a follow up call). They all came across as human, and understood me and my situation as opposed to being hungry business vultures!
2. They helped me understand all the realities of renting out my property so that my barriers were addressed. For example, helping me to understand how they do very robust checking of potential tenants, how they use a mixture of data (employment references etc) plus gut feel (if they get a bad sense of someone they don't proceed irrespective of the data), they did a very thorough breakdown of all my initial and ongoing outgoings and incomings so I knew exactly where I stood financially. They explained about the three different rental options and the implications of each to help me chose the best approach for me. They explained their support network of tradesmen who can help if issues arise and how they ensure these are competitively priced (so that it would take work / stress off of me if issues arose). And, importantly, because this was all new to me I had lots of questions (some daft ones!)â€.these were all dealt with professionally and friendly so I got reassurance on what I needed.
3. When I finally decided to go ahead they were really helpful in arranging everything so that it happened in an effective, quick and pain free manner! When the house was advertised, tenants were found really quickly and I was consulted over choices so I had an input as to which Tenants to accept and on what basis.
Overall, I felt really well informed and looked after every step of the way.
The house has been let now since October and I can honestly say that a) I'm really glad I went ahead and I'm really glad I used Hamilton Chess and b) the service provided by Hamilton Chess has continued to be excellent (i.e. they didn't â€œcut and runâ€ as soon as the deal was done!), I've continued to feel like I have received on-going professional and friendly service.
Renting the house out has enabled us to move to a much needed bigger home as a family and none of my fears / worst case scenarios have come close to coming true. In fact, looking back, I wonder why I stressed myself out so much! I'm actually glad we have done what we have done as keeping our house and renting it out makes me feel secure from a future equity / investment pov and, so far, it has proven to be a sound financial decision. I would go so far as to say that, in hindsight, I'm glad it didn't sell because if it had we would never be in this position.
So, overall, I couldn't recommend Hamilton Chess highly enough. In every respect they met my expectations and more. If I was going through this all over again I would chose to do it in partnership with the team from Hamilton Chess.