How To Get The Best Tenants
Part Three: Conducting Viewings And Handling Offers
If you’ve followed our thoughts on strategies for how to do better advertising and handling new tenant enquiries, all being well, you should have a number of applicants all keen to view (and rent) your property. Here we’ll offer some tips for conducting viewings and handling offers more effectively.
Confirming viewing appointments
Remember that it’s not unlikely that some applicants may have found accommodation elsewhere or simply changed their mind in the time since they applied. Checking that they still plan on attending (or not) will allow you to schedule more viewings or reschedule your day and make the best use of your time.
Confirming your viewing appointments is a tried and tested way of ensuring that more applicants actually turn up to viewings. Aim to confirm everything (by email, text or phone) at least 3-4 hours before the appointment.
Some lettings sites, like Openrent, send out viewing appointment reminders automatically.
Preparing for viewings
Try to make sure the property is looking its very best for viewings. If the current tenants are still in residence also contact them beforehand to confirm viewing appointments. Encourage them to leave everything tidy if possible.
If the property is currently empty check in advance that any repairs or planned maintenance/refurbishment are complete and that it has been left clean and tidy.
Arrive at your property in good time for the first viewing .... keen would-be tenants almost certainly will. If the property is empty turning on lights and (in cold weather) turning on the heating will improve its presentation. It will also reduce the risk of the property feeling damp and uncared for and keep the heating system in good running order too.
Advice for Covid safe viewings: The Government’s Guidance for those working within the home buying and selling process and those moving home is also relevant to those letting property.
Conducting the viewing
While you’ll want to give everyone enough space it’s not usually a good idea to allow applicants to tour a property unsupervised. Plan out a systematic route that works for each particular property. Showing the living areas first followed by the bedrooms and ending back in the living areas where questions can be asked and answered is a good approach. During a viewing draw attention to any features of your property that will help it stand out above other properties a tenant may have viewed. For example, new decoration or ample parking. When doing this think about what each prospective tenant may particularly value. For example, young families will value a good-sized family living area and a fenced garden.
Have answers ready to questions that prospective tenants might ask. Tenants might ask questions about the property (such as running costs) and also about the tenancy (such as the tenancy period on offer and rent).
Viewings – part of the application process
A viewing can be considered as another opportunity to ‘lightly interview’ prospective tenants and help you choose the best ones for your property. Asking a few simple and unobtrusive questions can help you verify the information you have already been given and find out more about the tenant.
Check who has come for the viewing. Who will actually be the tenant? Is everybody who is viewing intending to live at the property? Is anyone who will be living here not viewing, and why not?
This is also an opportunity to ask again about important issues such as a tenant’s current situation, why are they moving, why do they want this property and about issues such as smoking and pets.
Here’s more about questions to ask: How To Handle New Tenant Enquiries.
How to handle offers
It’s not unlikely that you might receive an offer to rent a property there and then at the viewing. You might receive an offer at the asking rent, below the asking rent or – especially in a hot rental market with high demand and low supply – offers at above the asking rent.
It’s sensible to decide how you will handle offers to rent made at a viewing. Generally it’s best to wait until all the viewings have been conducted, having set a deadline for applications in advance. Then consider your options. Bear in mind that the prospective tenant who offers most rent may not necessarily be the best tenant. In some cases a tenant who offers to pay more could be unsuitable, and could perhaps have already been rejected by many landlords.
Tips for turning down tenants
When rejecting potential tenants aim to differentiate between tenants who are unsuitable and others who are suitable but where you have many suitable applications to choose from.
Bear in mind that your ‘suitable but rejected’ applicants could be ideal applicants for the same property at a future date, or for another property. Thank these applicants for their interest and let them know that they would be welcome to apply again. Insight into what these prospective tenants are looking for could also give you some tips on what and where your next investment property might be.
Tips before accepting tenants
A good approach, especially if you’re not entirely sure about which tenant to choose, is to offer to visit your chosen tenant at their current property. This makes it easier to collect the information you need to set up the tenancy, such as employment and reference details, bank details and identity information including that needed for Right to Rent checks.
A home visit is also another opportunity to interview the would-be tenant before finally setting up and signing the tenancy. If everything checks out – and their current home is well looked after too – there’s every chance you’ve made the right choice and found the best tenant.