If your rental property is currently on the market, you’re in luck! With rental prices peaking, and everyone feeling the summer love, now is a great time to be looking for the perfect new tenants to take on your property.
Although now is a great time to be finding a tenant, it is a tricky time to be a landlord, with more legislation than ever to consider, leading many landlords to turn to the professionals to help them through the minefield unscathed. However, there is one element of the landlord lifestyle that can be better left to you – handling the initial viewings.
Whilst it may seem a little scary at first, looking after the viewings for your property can be a really beneficial move, for both you and your prospective tenant.
It is a huge benefit for you to meet the person who you are considering handing the keys to your property over to. After all, your property is a huge asset, you don’t want to just take your agent’s word for it that they are the right person! By meeting the tenant, you can get a feel for them, and make sure that you are comfortable trusting them with such an important asset. Whilst referencing your tenant is always recommended, your ‘gut feeling’ is also a vital element and should not be underestimated!
If you have other tenants in the house this is especially important. Maintaining good relationships with existing tenants is vital, you don’t want to introduce someone who is going to upset the balance of a happy home.
Also, meeting the tenant allows you to build a relationship with them. If you and the prospective tenant choose to proceed, there may be times throughout the duration of their tenancy where you have to liaise, over maintenance or other issues. Having a good, easy relationship with them from the start makes this significantly easier. If you are just a faceless landlord who they only know by a name on a tenancy agreement, they may be more reluctant to contact you, or have an open conversation – this could have a serious impact on the maintenance of your property, the quality of their lifestyle in their home, and your ongoing relationship.
Meeting your tenant early also gives them the opportunity to ask you questions about the property, that a letting agent may not be able to answer. Whilst your agent should have a good understanding of the property’s particulars and the surrounding area, they may not be able to answer questions about whether you are happy with the tenant redecorating, subletting a room or signing a three-year agreement. Getting the answers to these questions locked down early could make or break whether a tenant chooses to proceed, and could save a lot of to-ing and fro-ing for everyone.
At Urban.co.uk, we encourage our landlords to manage their viewings, and thousands of landlords across the UK are finding their perfect tenants this way. If you’re thinking about giving it a go, we’ve compiled our top ten do’s and don’ts to help you master a viewing:
Urban.co.uk viewing checklist:
- Always prepare the property before a viewing: A clean and tidy property will be more appealing to a viewer. You (or your tenants if they are helping out) don’t have to say ‘yes, come immediately’ every time, if you need an hour to get the place straight, take the time you need. Don’t forget, if you have tenants in situ, you must give them 24 hours’ notice if you wish to access the property and they have every right to refuse.
- Be friendly, welcoming and warm - but stay professional: You want to be welcoming but you will need to maintain a good relationship as landlord and tenant! Try and strike the balance.
- Host viewings during the day whenever possible: A sunny outlook makes everything more appealing, and you can really show your property and garden off to its full potential. Not always possible in the UK, but the weather is on our side at the moment!
- Prepare for questions and respond honestly: Think of the main questions, and prepare the answers. How much is council tax? What are the average monthly bills? How far away is the station? Is the local takeaway any good? You could even prepare a document to hand to the viewer that they can take away and consider.
- Be clear on the next step: Should the viewer contact you, or your agent if they wish to proceed. Some tenants may not want to contact you, especially if the property is not for them, so you may be better placed asking them to give any feedback to your agent if you have one.
- Conduct viewings alone for safety reasons: Wherever possible, ask for someone else to be present when you host a viewing. In addition to the safety concerns, having a second opinion on a prospective tenant is always a bonus.
- Hover over your viewers: Give them space to talk. Some people decide on the spot whether they want to take a property, so do give your prospective tenants a chance to consider things without hovering over their shoulder. However, do bear in mind the security element if you have existing tenants living in the property, you have their belongings to consider.
- Rush the viewing: Expect a viewing to take around 10-15 minutes (unless you are letting a palatial pad)! Any longer, especially if the viewer revisits rooms and looks to be sizing up for furniture, is a great sign.
- Push for a decision: Whilst some viewers may come to a decision there and then, others may want to go away and have a think, do some calculations, have a coffee and a wander around the area, or see some other properties. They may even want to come back for a second viewing with a family member of friend. If the potential tenant is right for you and the property, there’s no point rushing them into a decision, it’s better to wait and make sure they are happy – pressure won’t help here!
- Be disheartened if the first viewing doesn't result in a tenant: Not every viewing will yield the perfect tenant. It’s far better to wait for the right person and cement a harmonious relationship, than settle for someone who’s not right for your property.
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