Dry January? How to beat the winter lettings lull

After the frantic festive period, it can be quite a relief to get into the relative plod of January… however, if you find yourself with an empty property, is there anything you can do to get it let in one of the slowest months of the year, and make the process painless?

Don’t despair! There’s plenty you can do to make sure your property is appealing enough to coax prospective tenants out of their warm, cosy nests. Even if it’s wet and windy, if your property looks good enough, it’s worth piling on the layers for a viewing!

One chance to make a first impression

Most prospective tenants make up their mind on whether they want to view a property instantly or not, simple on viewing the first one or two photographs on your advert – so make sure that yours show your property in it’s very best light!

Fresh, bright images will really help showcase your asset, and make sure that it stands out from the crowd. Whilst it can be tempting to put a photograph of the outside of the property as the cover image, Rightmove has suggested that it is in fact adverts with images of kitchens that receive the most clicks, so if your property has a kitchen to be proud of, maybe you could consider using that to grab the interest?

It can be difficult to get light images in the winter, but try and choose a day that isn’t grey and miserable – a sunny(ish) sky through the window will do wonders for making your property look bright and cheerful.

If you are letting an empty property, maybe consider dressing it with some basic furniture (you can note that this is not included in your advert) to suggest how the rooms are used, and include a couple of vases of brightly coloured flowers, or a bowl of vivid fruit in the kitchen - something to brighten up a dull winter’s day.

Leave tenants with that warm, fuzzy feeling

If the property is empty, make sure you keep the heating on and give it a boost before any viewings: A cold house is not appealing, whereas coming in from a cold street into a toasty property will instantly make the place feel like home.

If your property has been standing empty throughout the Christmas period, it could be a little musty. Before you start holding viewings, pay a visit and throw open all the windows, give it a blast of fresh air and make sure that any damp, dusty feelings are blown away!

What-er palaver!

If you are already worrying about your property, you should do all you can to make sure what started as an inconvenience doesn’t turn into a complete nightmare.

If your property is empty, make sure you remember to either turn the water off, or leave the boiler on low, so as to avoid the pipes freezing when the temperature drops. Keeping the thermostat set to the same temperature both day and night can prevent a potential freeze and subsequent flood.

Consider your tenancy timings

There is no denying that the property market slows down in the winter months. However, if you have found yourself free of a tenant, maybe you could consider using this time to your advantage. Take a critical look at if the property has any maintenance work that needs attention, or would benefit from a lick of paint - if there is anything that needs doing, maybe you could consider getting it done now before your re-let. This way, if you rent the property out on a year-long tenancy agreement, it won’t end again at this tricky time next year (unless something unforeseen happens)! Planning your tenancy to start and end at the beginning/middle of February, rather than the start of January may put you in a stronger position moving forward.

Alternatively, you could consider being a little flexible with regards to the length of time you are willing to let the property for. Whilst you may prefer to secure a twelve-month AST with a six month break clause, if you are willing to consider a six month agreement you may find yourself a tenant to move you on from this tricky time of year, and ensure a rental income for the next six months.

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