Choosing Your Stepping Stone Rental Investment Property

Last week we announced our new project "Stepping Stone Rentals". The interest from both owners of properties and tenants has been off the scale since. We have already identified or been given a lot of properties to be used for the project and we already have people wanting to start their three month rentals as soon as the 1st of July! (We need to get a move on) We have also had a lot of interest from people wanting to buy a property to include in the project. So today we are going to look at the process of buying your Stepping Stone Rentals property and then we will look at getting it ready for medium term tenants which is useful for those of you already with a property.

Choosing Your Property

It may be that location is everything to you when buying a property for yourself. This might not be the case with a Stepping Stone Property. As the tenants are not considering it for their long term more permanent residence, location is not always the first consideration. Safety, security, facilities and connection are often more important. Therefore you don't have to be in the centre of everything and pay the prices required to get those prime properties. What is good is convenience. Conveniently located for metro and bus routes, for getting to know the city and the areas outside more, convenient for getting to and convenient for being a first point of contact with the city and the areas around.

Does it Need To Be In The City?

Obviously you will have more potential tenants in the city due to the greater demand but in our survey that we sent out to our people interested there were lots of people looking to areas outside the city too. The general vibe was that people wanted easy access so on the metro or train line or with other good public transport facilities or easy motorway access without being too far out. We have already been offered properties to the north of Valencia in Museros and to the west in La Pobla de Vallbona as well as areas on the edge of the city such as Xirivella and Alboraya. If you are thinking of buying a property for this project then feel free to offer it to us. We will give you our opinion as to whether it will work and over time our criteria may well tighten up.

Does It Need To Be Luxury?

Not at all. It needs to be functional. Obviously the better it is and the better it looks the greater the interest is likely to be from potential tenants as the photos will make it stand out online. However the main considerations are usually, declutter, depersonalise and make it look clean, tidy and inviting. Bear in mind though, however good it looks inside if you choose the worst buildings in Valencia from outside then you are unlikely to have that many interested clients. The new website will include a 360º tour, location, street photos and more. Address will be supplied to tenants after payment and pick up and drop off arranged. Full information will be online so make sure you are choosing something that can look nice from all angles.

What About Decoration?

One of the most important things about any medium term rental property is that it is a home so huge, bare white walls, empty shelves, and a feeling of desolation don't cut the mustard. We will suggest decorative touches, big wall art and more. It will make the place pop on the virtual tour and give a much more homely feeling to the property for the tenants.

Also, annoying little things need to be sorted beforehand such as holes in the wall where screws and hangers have been, covered wires from the TV and small repairs. We have a handyman to come round and make the place totally presentable before it is rented out and this along with the decorative touches will make it much better.

What Facilities Should it Have?

Just like an airbnb or booking dot com place it should have everything for everyday living. The coffee machine is important and so is the kettle. White goods in the kitchen should be modern and working well and there should be an explainer on how to use them. You should have a TV, preferably Smart, and fast internet needs to be installed (Many of our potential tenants are remote workers needing the internet from day one) Plenty of clean towels, bedding and cleaning products should be in the house and we will supply a basic welcome pack for the clients. It doesn't necessarily need a lift but an eighth floor place without one will obviously be of limited attraction. Garages are also not obligatory but if you have one then it may well be useful.

Apartment or House?

Our initial thought is that the majority of the properties will be apartments and until the requests for houses start flowing in we'll stick with that as there is less maintenance needed, no gardeners and pool cleaners needed for example, and apartments are essentially lock up and leave. However, we have already had a couple of enquiries about houses so will be taking on some places to satisfy this demand very soon.

Do I Need A Tourist Licence?

A resounding no to that one as the people staying by definition are not tourists and more importantly the minimum contract length is three months and the type of rental contract is "Por Temporada". If the property has a tourist licence then great, you might want to fill a month's gap between Stepping Stone Rentals with a short term rental, but remember you would be responsible for that.

Do I Get to Use My Property?

Of course, if you want to. There will be a calendar on the website where you can book your own stays in the property. Remember one thing though. You need to leave gaps between visits of over three months otherwise we will not be able to fill the property in the intervening time between rentals. This is not a problem if the property is purely for renting out but if you are going to use it too then the ideal gaps are 4, 7 or 10 months between visits.

What Price Should I Be Paying?

The traditional how long is a piece of string question is a difficult one and the answer is different depending on where you buy, what return you are looking for and how you may want to use the property yourself at times. The more you want to use it the more your decision becomes complicated because then it's not just numbers. Then there are preferences and likes to think about too.

What About Taxes?

The only certainties in life are death and taxes of course. Therefore you do have to think about this. The tax you pay will depend on your income both from your rental property and your other income in Spain. If you are a landlord in Spain but living in the EU as a citizen or resident then you wil pay 19% tax currently on your earnings. As a non-EU resident then it's 24% and yes you will have to declare it. What you won't have to do are quarterly tax declarations as we will be running the property officially. Your income will be what Stepping Stone Rentals sends to you so working out the tax is easy. We will be able to advise a Spanish tax specialist for you to use at a decent price.

Bearing all of that in mind you should have a good idea of what makes a good Stepping Stone Rental. When you are looking our team can help guide you towards a property that will suit the above criteria well and, if needed, we can also help you with a renovation that makes that property perfect for it. Once you have it then you can sit back and enjoy the ride.

Some Questions From Prospective Tenants

We have been asked a lot of questions about the project from both sides, so much so that we will be putting together a guide for everyone wanting to be involved and also the new website will contain much fuller information, I am writing it at the moment of course. Nevertheless we can answer some of the more pressing FAQs from tenants here. Those we have had from potential tenants include the following.

Will all bills be included?

Yes. All rentals will be fully inclusive of bills and have fast internet as standard.

How do I pay for the properties?

Payment in full on reserve of the property. There wil be no deposit payment to the owners that they may keep back at the end of the rental taking away that worry. You will be required to leave a damage deposit of 400 Euros with Stepping Stone Rentals too which will be returned on final inspection of the property.

Is there a cleaning fee like on Airbnb?

No. All costs are included in the rental amount

Do I pay a commission to the agency?

No. The owner pays the fee to Stepping Stone Rentals for property management.

What Advantages Are The in Using Stepping Stone Rentals Compared With A Traditional Rental?

No affordability checks needed. No insurance required. Owners that accept foreign clients. A safe secure rental available from your first day here. A guarantee you can stay for 90 days and not have to keep moving around. A well known company and brand behind the project to avoid online scams.

Do I Have To Pay Directly to Someone I Don't Know Online?

No. Payments for the rental are made directly to Stepping Stone Rentals to avoid the fear of sending to an unknown third party, unknown for you of course. All owners and properties have been vetted by the SSR team to make sure the properties are of good enough quality and have all of the required facilities and the owners understand the type of client looking to rent. None of them are from a scammer who has rented the property on Airbnb for a week and then scams loads of people while there which is being seen much too often unfortunately.

More to Come

There's a lot of work going on in the background and meetings going on about both properties and contracts. Over the next few weeks we will be releasing more information so keep an eye on our social channels and also perhaps your mails if you are on our mailing list. For those of you wanting to know more just drop us a mail and tell us to keep you updated.

The Next Valencia Property Podcast

Coming slightly later than normal the next podcast will be released into the wild later today. It's an accompanying podcast to today's article and talks about the rental crisis in Valencia, updating our post from October last year, and also includes an interview with Jess, our rental specialist about the changes in the rental market over the last 20 years, the time she has been working in the rental market in Valencia. I'll be sure to include the podcast embedded here in the post when it comes out but make sure to subscribe to our podcast page for first dibs on the podcasts as they are released.

Property of the Week

Much better inside than out and looking its age but then again aren't we all.

Siri, show me a tired looking house that needs a facelift.....

Yep, that pretty much sums it up, but there is a lot going for this place in general and its location and potential far outweigh its boss eyedness, set in the heart of Montepilar in L’Eliana we stumble upon this minger and I think if you opened it up inside, added some covered terraces and bend your back, or get somebody else to bend theirs, in the garden you could create a very nice home.

Mainly set on a single floor but with loft space for an office/master bedroom, at the moment we have 5 bedrooms, living room, family room, kitchen, and 2 bathrooms, the property is set a fair way back from the street for lots of privacy and quiet and the good sized flat plot is virtually a blank canvas to do whatever you want. Plan a get together for your friends, redefine the definition of Garden Party and hand out Sangria, seeds and spades to your friends on arrival.

Stick a plaster on one of those windows for the strabismus, and remember, it’s what inside that counts, just ask my wife…

Tip of the Week

Relaxation is a good thing too and Valencia is a beautiful city with many places to relax and unwind. Here are some of the best places to relax in and around Valencia:

  1. Turia Gardens: This is a the riverbed park that runs through the city of Valencia. We have written about it before on the blog. It is the perfect place to take a leisurely walk or bike ride and enjoy the many different gardens and landscapes that it has to offer. The park also has a huge variety of sports facilities and playgrounds.
  2. Malvarrosa Beach: This is one of the most popular beaches in Valencia and is a great place to relax and soak up the sun. The beach has a wide range of amenities by it including restaurants, bars, and shops, as well as plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the sand and surf. Exercise equipment, volleyball, beach soccer and more dot the areas around the promenade. It never gets full and it's always calm and relaxed.
  3. Albufera Natural Park: This is a beautiful natural park located just to the South of Valencia. The park is home to a large lake, which is perfect for boating and fishing (With a licence). There are also many hiking trails and picnic areas where you can relax and enjoy the natural surroundings in the shade.
  4. Jardines de Monforte: This is a beautiful garden located in the heart of Valencia. The garden is known for its stunning collection of plants and flowers, as well as its many fountains and statues. It is a great place to relax and take in the beauty of nature and it is really overlooked.
  5. La Plaza de la Virgen: This is a beautiful plaza located in the old town of Valencia. It is surrounded by historic buildings such as the Cathedral and has several outdoor cafes where you can sit and enjoy people watching. It is also a great place to soak up the local culture.
  6. The Sierra Calderona: The mountain range to the north west of Valencia that you can see from all along the Turia valley. Once you get into the Sierra Calderona you can find plenty of walking trails, mountain biking opportunities, views, greenery and relaxation opportunities in and around the small towns and villages that you find there.

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