Why not let that extra space?

On the other hand, says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group, there are many empty-nesters and others with large family homes who would like to downscale now to smaller properties that are less costly to run, but are doubtful about getting the price they want in the current market.

“And one solution to both these problems is for the homeowners to convert some of their extra space into a flat (or even two) that they can let. The extra income will help to offset the recent increases in municipal rates and electricity tariffs, and help them to keep their homes in good condition until they think the time is right to sell.”

Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he says that an added benefit of this decision, especially worth considering for older homeowners, is that having additional people living on the property, and coming and going at different times, tends to improve security.

“Homeowners do need to take especial care, however, with two aspects of this plan, the first being the selection of contractors if they need to make alterations to create their rental units.

“Secondly, it is vital that they let only to suitable tenants, and this is where the help of an experienced estate agent is invaluable.”

Everitt says it is imperative to keep the rental arrangement on a businesslike footing – even if you are renting space to friends or family - and that having the backup of an independent party that can check creditworthiness, deal with the conditions of the lease and collect the monthly rental will relieve you of a lot of strain and possible family friction

“A local agent will also, of course, be able to advise you what a realistic rental in the current market would be.”

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