> Avoid the Voids
landlords lose nearly £4billion every year because
their rental property is standing empty. And it’s
not just loss of rent that hits their pockets: mortgages,
service charges and utility bills still all have to
be paid. If you want to make a success of buy-to-let,
keeping your property’s occupation close to
100% is crucial, and there are many ways that landlords
can keep their accommodation earning.
are Upad’s top ten tips on marketing your property
like a professional and minimising void periods.
Advertise immediately your tenant gives notice.
wait until they’ve moved out to start looking
for their replacement: that just guarantees your property
will sit empty for a while.
can have the most desirable property at the lowest
rent, but if no one gets to see it, it will stay empty.
The days of relying on shop windows and local papers
are gone: your target market is on the internet, and
you should be too. 92% of tenants now start their
property search on the net, so it’s crucial
that they can find you.
Advertise with photos.
Our tenants tell us the living room is what they want
to see most, followed by the garden if you have one.
Take several decent quality photos of all the rooms
in your property and you’ll generate up to three
and a half times more enquiries than ads without photos.
Internet advertising doesn’t normally restrict
the number of pictures you show with your advert,
so don’t skimp: photos are a window into your
property for any prospective tenants.
What’s your unique selling point?
Do your properties come with broadband, a TV license
included, a cleaner or ? Maybe they should! Giving
yourself a USP and emphasising it in your adverts
can help generate extra interest in your properties
and get them filled more quickly. We know of one landlord
who fits all his student properties with Jacuzzi baths:
needless to say, they’re always the first rooms
on campus to be filled.
Keep your rent reasonable.
it might be tempting to demand the highest rent
you can get away with, lowering the rent a little
can help keep your property filled. So keep
an eye on what your competitors are charging
and price accordingly. Upad’s interactive
rental price index makes it easy to see what’s
being charged in your area right now. Rents
slightly below the average can attract new tenants
quicker, and mean they stay with you longer.
And don’t automatically increase the rent
every year. With many people still reeling from
the credit crunch and jobs in jeopardy, average
rents in many areas aren’t increasing.
Putting your prices up just encourages existing
tenants to wonder if they couldn’t get
a better deal elsewhere.
Ask your existing tenant to help you find their replacement.
If you’ve been a great landlord throughout their
stay, they should have no problems recommending you
to their friends. Word of mouth marketing is the best
kind – personal is more convincing, not to mention
that it’s free!
Make sure your existing tenant will co-operate with
Include in your AST contracts that tenants need to
co-operate with viewings; give them 24 hours notice
of when you’ll be conducting viewings. If you
need to help them tidy up – or even hire a cleaning
company as a one-off – then be willing to do
this: it’s in your interests.
you have an empty property, consider “staging”
it with hired or borrowed furniture. Empty properties
always look a little sad: showing tenants a home,
rather than an empty shell, is always going to be
more attractive. Dress up the kitchen with a bowl
of fruit, and the living room with a cushion or two,
and everything will look much more homely.
Remember the outside.
estate agent’s favourite “kerb appeal”
is crucial whether you’re dealing with lettings
or sales: the first glance at the outside of a property
can be all it takes to decide if you want it or not.
So keep gardens and other outside areas clean; spruce
up front doors, replace damaged door furniture and
add a plant or two. Keep any larger plants trimmed
back: it makes outside space look bigger and again,
tells a tenant the property is cared for. If there’s
a terrace or balcony, dress it up with plants or some
inexpensive outdoor furniture, anything that will
help your viewers imagine themselves sitting outside
on a summer evening with a cool drink after work.
If they can imagine themselves living there, that’s
most of your work done.
Complete repairs and decorating work.
If something needs fixing, or redecorating, do it
before you show the property. Promises that “it’ll
be fixed before you move in” are worth nothing.
A quick spruce-up with some fresh paint doesn’t
take long, and can brighten the place up for very
little outlay. Plus of course the hint of fresh paint
in the air does tell anyone looking around that you’re
a landlord who takes care of their property.
Every lead’s a hot lead.
When you receive an enquiry from a prospective tenant,
make sure you respond as soon as humanly possible.
Remember, a private landlord advertising her own property
is competing with professional agents who can respond
to enquiries within 30 minutes, so you’ll need
to be quick. One trick we’ve found very useful
is to send a text before you call a mobile, as up
to 75% of people won’t answer their mobile to
an unrecognised number. Saying “I’ll be
calling you to arrange a viewing of my property”
can make all the difference.
average tenant looks at only three or four properties
before they decide to rent, so getting them to view
quickly can be crucial. If you only check your emails
once a week, make sure you’re giving out your
mobile number with your ad, and be prepared to pick
up even for unrecognised numbers , for a while at
least. Don’t let interested people move onto
the next property.
find your next tenant CLICK
Property Power Team recommends Upad, the UK's largest
online lettings agent.
Rental Property Marketing helps you find a tenant
for your rental property quickly and easily, by
distributing your ad to over 500 top UK property
websites. To find your next tenant CLICK
Upad.co.uk generates on average 14 enquires
Upad.co.uk has built the largest rental property
marketing distribution network in the UK
Upad.co.uk has the largest database of private landlord
customers of any online lettings business