Over a decade letting properties and working closely with our landlords, has taught us that the key to successfully letting a property is by being proactive, not reactive. We've seen first-hand the lessons which our landlords learn on their journey to success.
Advising landlords on how they can be more proactive in presenting their property, allowing it the best chance of letting quickly to good quality tenants at an achievable rent is a key feature to our letting & management service. Read on to discover some of the advice we share with our landlords.
Tip 1 - Setting the Rent
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Making sure your property is marketed at a realistic & competitive rent will ensure you actually get the chance to make that first impression in the first place. Overprice it and you may struggle to generate any viewings at all. Take advice from a reputable Letting Agent as their expertise and knowledge of the market is invaluable when it comes to setting rents to attract viewers through the front door. They will know their market and the quality of the competition you are up against.
Tip 2 - Keeping Up Appearances
The exterior of the property needs to be presented well. Whilst you're stood struggling with the front door keys the viewer will most certainly be taking mental notes of the surroundings including the external condition of the property. Dirty windows, rubbish filled yards and cluttered overgrown gardens will start the viewing on a negative. Presentable exteriors and tidy low maintenance gardens/yards will ensure the viewer will be entering the front door on a positive. The last thing a viewer wants is to be led down a badly maintained garden path.
Tip 3 - State Of Repair (Or Disrepair)
This leads us nicely onto the state of repair, or disrepair as the case may be. A realistic price and effective marketing will get a tenant through the front door, but they'll be left floundering if they are faced with the likes of broken furniture, peeling wallpaper, missing light bulbs, threaded carpets etc. If a property is not well maintained during the viewing stage what guarantee does that give a viewer that it will be properly maintained during their tenancy? The state of repair not only speaks volumes about the property itself but more so about the efficiency and commitment of the landlord. Looking at your property through the eyes of a tenant will reveal areas needing attention which you may have unintentionally missed.
Tip 4 - The 10 Second Rule & The Wow Factor!
Once through the front door the clock is ticking. The majority of viewers make their decision within 10 seconds of walking into a property. Whether they enter into a hallway, lounge or kitchen it's imperative that first room creates a good impression. It's at this point where it may be a good idea to invest in a WOW factor! Have an eye catching feature on entry. Funky light fittings, feature wallpaper, good quality flooring will all be a good ice-breaker and start the viewing off well. If the viewing starts on a positive vibe minor negatives can be easily brushed aside. If the viewing starts on a negative vibe it's much more difficult to claw it back into a positive one.
Tip 5 - The Clean Machine
There are certain things in life you simply cannot polish, but for those that you can and for the sake of this article we're talking your property, it needs to be as glistening as it possibly can be, especially the kitchen and bathroom. The state of kitchens & bathrooms can make or break a viewing so it's imperative they are clean. Stained carpets, dust, cobwebs, grease, tide marks, dirty grouting & mouldy silicone are all a turn off and can destroy a viewing in seconds. A well-oiled clean machine on the other hand will keep a viewing on the right track with more chance of a positive outcome.
Tip 6 - The Canvass
Neutral interiors (or the 'blank canvass') have in the past been a proven formula for letting success. Unfortunately, the line between neutral and sterile is a rather fine one, so there is no harm in injecting a little life here and there. In the past landlords have literally wallowed in Magnolia paint, but you can still create neutral yet aesthetically pleasing room using off whites. Also, a feature wall here or modern flooring there will not only create a focal point within a room but also warmth and depth. Keep it simple though, as what you think is a masterpiece in interior design may not be to everyone's taste, and there is no point in trying to add a little life to a blank canvass if you end up with a Jackson Pollock.
Tip 7 - Furnishings, Fixtures & Fittings
If a furnished property, whether a high end flat or a student house, the one thing both have in common is that the furniture needs to look good, in the right room, in one piece, doing what it is designed to do, free of rips, scratches, stains, burns and bad smells. It doesn't necessarily need to be brand new, but ask yourself would you have it in your house? Also, 'dressing' the property with items such as rugs, cushions, pictures, mirrors, bed-spreads etc. will all bring a little colour to the canvass. Certain fixtures and fittings can also create that WOW factor mentioned earlier, whether it's a stunning fire surround, modern light-fittings or a 50" Plasm TV, all will go a long way towards creating that lifestyle you are trying to sell.
Tip 8 - Health & Safety
Fire extinguishers, escape ladders, CO2 detectors, fire blankets, smoke & heat detectors, fire-doors etc. may not be the most aesthetically pleasing items to have on display throughout a rental property, but they can be a life saver, and tell a potential tenant as much about the landlord as they do about the property itself. All are simple to provide and install and they also show the landlord is as concerned about the health and safety of his tenants as he is with the rent rolling in. Not only are empty fire extinguishers, missing fire blankets and beeping smoke detectors all a big turn off to potential tenants, but they also won't help the landlord sleep at night.
Tip 9 - Trust Your Agent to Play Their Part
If you can take care of points 2 - 8 then we’ll take care of the rest. Realistic rental valuations and professional advice from a reputable agent will attract viewers to the front door. Having a well-dressed property presented by good quality photos and descriptions will put your property ahead of your competition. An effective social media marketing campaign will drive potential tenants to your property's details and increase the number of viewings. As more than 90% of tenants begin their property search online the quality of your agents marketing is crucial. Trust them to play their part and the results should speak for themselves.
And that's it, the 9 tips we believe that all successful landlords learn about letting property.
Do you agree? Have you learnt any lessons that we have missed? Please let us know in the comments below, we'd love to hear what you think.