The crucial thing to most landlords is that their property is occupied by a paying tenant - but there’s a lot to consider before getting a tenancy agreement in place, and it’s not always easy to find new tenants. Will your property be let to students or professionals? Will you use a letting agent to manage the property? Will you let the property furnished?
You won’t secure valuable tenants by accident, and it’s important to make sure the property is in good condition to ensure you attract any tenants at all, let alone the right tenants.
To help you decide how best to market your rental property and let your property quickly, we’ve pulled together 10 top tips for finding tenants.
1. Establish your target tenant
Are they post-grads or a professional family? You need to establish the tenant’s needs to allow you to match your property accordingly.
2. MARKET YOUR PROPERTY WELL
If you’re advertising on sites like Rightmove or Zoopla, photos are vital to draw a tenant to your property. Make sure they are taken in good light, and the property is clean and tidy. You need to make sure the advert is clear, concise and, most importantly, accurate! You may also want to allow your property to appear on ‘to let’ boards, as you’ll be surprised how much interest a good old-fashioned board can drum up. Not sure how to market your property? Then you may prefer to use a letting agent.
Your letting agent must understand your needs and be able to reflect this in how they market and manage your property. Make sure they’re professional and trustworthy, and abide by professional standards with correct legal agreements. The best way to do this is by checking which bodies or schemes they belong to, for example NALS or ARLA.
4. CHECK OUT YOUR COMPETITION
Finding tenants isn’t easy, and to attract your desired tenants you need to make sure that your rent is competitive. It needs to be reasonable, realistic and reviewed regularly. Have a look at other properties in the area to give you an idea of the level of rent you might look to charge.
5. PREPARE FOR PROPERTY VIEWINGS
Good tenants know what they want from a property and will come to a viewing prepared to ask questions. Make sure you know your property – expect to be asked about bin collection dates, energy providers, and council tax bands. Pull together a property viewing checklist to make sure nothing gets missed before prospective tenants arrive. Finally, make the property viewing easy for the potential tenant by ensuring there is available parking and easy access. Read on to find out more about preparing your property for tenant viewings.
6. LET YOUR LETTING AGENT DO THE VIEWINGS
If you’re using an agent to let your property, take advantage of the services they offer when finding tenants. Agents are often available to conduct short notice viewings on your behalf. Don't miss out on opportunities by not giving them a key.
7. BE TRANSPARENT
Be open and honest with prospective tenants about the checks you will do. Standard referencing checks usually include landlord and employment references, as well as credit checks. Ask to see proof of these if the checks are done by a letting agent, and meet your tenants before they move in.
8. SELL YOURSELF AS A LANDLORD
Your presentation is just as important as the tenants, so you need to demonstrate that you are professional and know what you're doing. Be open, friendly and honest when showing them around the property, and keep this going throughout the tenancy.
9. SEEK FEEDBACK
Always ask your current tenants for feedback on the property. As it’s often not a property that you’ve lived in, you might not know the problems that a tenant deals with on a day to day basis that could be easily fixed. Fixing these before taking your property to market could make it a lot easier to find a new tenant.
10. KEEP YOUR CURRENT TENANTS HAPPY
If you’re advertising a property whilst the current tenant is still living there, make sure you give them at least 24 hours’ notice of a viewing. The last thing you want as a viewer is for the current occupant to be pointing out unfixed leaks and broken washing machines. Keep your tenants happy and build a strong relationship to encourage them to be flexible with viewings.
How to prepare your property for viewings
Some properties take longer to let than others, and often this isn’t down to a lack of potential tenants in the market place but the condition of the property. Here are some simple steps to let your property quickly:
APPEAL TO YOUR TARGET MARKET...
... and focus the décor for this market. Consider whether to furnish your property or leave it unfurnished.
MAKE SURE THE PROPERTY IS CLEAN
One of the easiest ways to make your property look more appealing is to ensure it’s clean and tidy when people come to view it. The kitchen will often be one of the main areas of attention, so start in there and don't forget the bathrooms!
Before you show people around the property have a good tidy up - it will make the space look bigger and ready to move into.
INCREASE YOUR CURB APPEAL
So the interior looks shiny and new, but what about the outside? Don’t put off potential tenants before they’ve even set foot inside. Try to make the property’s exterior look as inviting as possible.
SORT OUT MAINTENANCE ISSUES
Fix that leak, screw the door handle back in place and replace the sealant around the bath. Even small jobs can make a huge difference. You should also make sure you and your tenants are clear on who is responsible for repairs.
SORT OUT THE DECORATION
Refreshing the décor and paintwork of a property can be relatively cheap and easy, yet can make it look brand new. Colourful cushions on the sofa or towels in the bathroom can also make a subtle impact.
REVIEW YOUR FURNITURE
It’s probably fair to say scruffy furniture isn’t going to impress tenants very much. Improving the standards of furniture could also help to attain a higher rent.