Running a buy-to-let property business can be very rewarding, both in a financial and personal satisfaction sense. However, the most successful property investment strategies are rarely 100% passive and can be very time-consuming if not organised properly.

If not trading your time for money was a key reason for investing in property - so you can make your assets work for you, even when you're sleeping - then you need to make sure you are managing your time effectively.

You must put a value on your time and any time you spend on your portfolio, from sourcing and refurbishing properties to finding, retaining and managing tenants, is effectively an operating expense. Therefore, being efficient can maximise your return.

Once you've made the decision to invest in buy-to-let property, there are many things you can do to fine-tune your time management when getting the project off the ground.

1. Pick an area you know

Think about places you already have links with to cut down on research time. If not your home town or current place of residence, where did you study? Where are your family or friends based? A little inside knowledge or support as you establish your portfolio, in a market you already understand, will get your property business off to the right start.

2. Review the market

Buying in a popular buy-to-let area might be appealing but the market could already be saturated and rental rates irretrievably competitive. Instead, why not identify the next nearby up-and-coming area and watch your property outperform the market, or look at different buy-to-let markets that appeal to a different type of tenant?

3. Look at the big picture

One way of managing a portfolio of properties is to own a number in a concentrated space. Consider buying a number of properties in a single building or a large property that can be split into functional, yet streamlined individual units to spread maintenance and management bills and optimise your time spent visiting your properties.

4. Desirable homes

If a property appears unloved or just a money-making asset, with little potential for improvement, there's a risk your tenants will regard it as little more than a stopgap. By taking care to choose a desirable property - or at least one with desirable attributes - your tenants are more likely to think of it as a home and look after it well. Keep hold of your tenants and spend less time trying to present, market and fill your properties.

Once you've established your buy-to-let business, there are many ways you can optimise your time and investment to keep everything running at its most efficient.

5. Plain and simple

You don't want to have to redo your property presentation each time to attract new tenants. Keep the space neutral, clean and simple, decluttered and impersonal to help potential tenants visualise their lives within your walls. People won't make a decision solely on gadgets and gizmos, so don't spend huge amounts of time trying to impress your tenants with effects they might not need or want - unless of course, this is one of your unique selling points.

6. One step ahead

Keep on top of repairs, be organised and proactive in your property maintenance and you won't have to deal with as many emergency situations. By fixing the gutters before a tenant notices long-term damp damage or maintaining the boiler rather than dealing with an emergency breakdown you'll give your tenants peace of mind while avoiding some of the time-sapping pitfalls of property ownership.

What sorts of character attributes should you strive for to optimise your time management?

7. Reliability

By managing your business efficiently and effectively, your tenants are more likely to respect any timescales you set for them and cooperate accordingly. They're more likely to approach you in a timely fashion if they know you will respond to and prioritise their request.

8. Persistence

When trying to juggle multiple tenants in multiple properties and all the services this entails, a degree of persistence as well as patience can keep your buy-to-let business running smoothly. Keep on top of communications with service providers like utilities, banks, insurance companies - and keep in touch with your tenants. If you deliver on your responsibilities in fair time and with an open dialogue, your schedule shouldn't slip too far or require too much extra attention.

9. Confidence

Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. If you need access to the property, to collect overdue rent, signatures for paperwork or to schedule repair work from contractors, remember to consider and respect your tenants but it should be on your terms.

Once you are happy with your tenants and portfolio, there are still more ways you can fine-tune your time management.

10. Work with your tenants

When you've got tenants you can trust, why not guarantee and reward their loyalty by coming to a mutually beneficial arrangement? For example, you could recompense them for referring new tenants or keeping the house in a good state of repair by undertaking renovations or maintenance work themselves.

11. Winning formula

Once some properties are working to their full potential, take your winning formula and scale it up across your portfolio. Better still, select any future investments on similar characteristics and repeat your success while enjoying your income.

With a few time management techniques you can find the ideal work-life balance that means you can be a successful landlord and profitable business manager; on track from day one. There's no reason why your buy-to-let portfolio should completely monopolise your time, your money or your thoughts. The sooner your portfolio is off the ground, the sooner you'll have time to enjoy your home and work life. At Platinum Property Partners (PPP), our 35-strong team of experts and 250 successful Partners are on hand to help you build your business and secure professional tenants to complement your properties. This way, you have the tools, the techniques and the tailor-made solutions to put you on track for buy-to-let success.

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