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Graham Awards


The definitive guide for new buy to let investors


Comparison service USwitch has set up a check list for prospective property investors to make their purchase as attractive as possible to renters.




The biggest property deterrents: 


% respondents

Signs of damp / mould


Bad smell


Signs of physical deterioration


Lack of natural light


Windows not glazed windows






No built-in storage space


Prepayment energy meter


White good not included


USwitch mortgage expert Kellie Steed says: “When putting your buy-to-let on the market, ensuring you meet demands on a renters’ wishlist can heighten your confidence in finding tenants. 

“You can also tailor your property to attract the type of tenants you want. Additionally, it offers flexibility in what you charge for rent, allowing you to maximise the return on your investment."

A USwitch buy-to-let survey also revealed that for over half of respondents location is the most important factor when choosing a property.

The top determining location features that landlords should bear in mind when looking for a property are:

  • Safety of the surrounding area (61%)
  • Location to local amenities (39%)
  • Public transport links (38%)

Safety is not only a concern for tenants regarding the surrounding area, but also the property itself. For 35 per cent of UK renters, safety & security is the leading consideration, particularly a double lock on the front door and window locks.

Renters also highly value the following property features:

  • EPC rating (32%) 
  • Broadband speed (32%)
  • Mobile service (23%)

Additionally, three in five UK renters also said it would be important to them that the property is managed by the landlord.

While it can be easier to rely on an external party to manage a property, renters prefer to have a direct point of contact with their landlord. 

Kellie Steed’s tips for landlords are:

  • “When initially looking for a buy-to-let to invest in, landlords should make location and safety/security the top priorities. Ensure the property is well connected, close to amenities and that both the surrounding area and property itself feel secure. 
  • “Since utility aspects like broadband and mobile speed depend on the area, landlords should also check these at the viewing stage to ensure they appeal to renters. 
  • “In terms of EPC rating, the lowest a privately rented property is allowed to achieve is an E. While there are steps you can take to improve EPC ratings, buying a property that already has a strong rating would save time and money. 
  • “For existing landlords to increase their buy-to-let’s appeal in regard to security, consider adding a double front door and window locks to prevent break-ins. 
  • “Installing double-glazed windows can also increase security, as well as improve energy efficiency, decrease bills and reduce noise. Think about investing in double glazing if your property doesn’t already have it since it's valued by renters. 
  • “To avoid the biggest rental red flag, landlords should take measures to prevent damp and mould through improved ventilation, particularly in rooms where condensation builds up like the bathroom and kitchen. 
  • “Since prepayment meters are a deterrent, if your property has one, it’s worth looking into whether it would cost to switch to a different type to attract more renters. Whether or not you have to pay to switch (to a credit or smart meter) will depend on your energy supplier.
  • “As a significant number of renters consider white goods not being included as a red flag, it may be a good idea to leave white goods in your property, in full working order, to appeal to renters. 
  • “Finally, if you have the time and resources, consider managing the property yourself, not only to meet renters' demands but also to save on agency fees.”

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