It is extremely important you get this right. Get it wrong and at best you’ll be left with empty houses. You can never get back rent lost from having empty property. At worst you could end up with the wrong type of tenants and that’s when it all goes wrong.
Firstly look at the competition. You need to try to find similar properties to yours in your area and see how much they are going for. You should be able to find your competition by putting yourself in the shoes of your potential tenants. Where would you look for a property? For single occupancy properties look in the local lettings agents, newspapers and of course go online and search for properties to rent in your area. You’ll find lots listed on many sites including lettings agents.
For multi-lets you’ll need to find rooms similar in size and specification to yours in a house which is also reasonably similar to yours. Ideally in your area too. If you struggle to find any similar then you’ll need to widen your geographical area until you find some. You’ll then need to decide on the price you’re going to charge. I suggest starting on the low side to begin with and then increase the price if you get loads of enquiries. You can always increase the price once the place is rented but I suggest doing this between tenants and not during a tenancy.
You also need to be able to stand out from the crowd and get noticed. There are a few ways to do this. You could:
- Provide a more attractive advert with good clear pictures of your property and a really compelling description (this will be covered in detail next week)
- Try to get your ads seen by more potential tenants by advertising in the right places. A well optimised website will work wonders in this area (this will also be covered in detail next week)
- Be cheaper than all the others. However I suggest you be very careful if taking this approach. Be the cheapest property around and you will attract a much lower quality of tenant and all the inherent problems that come with them. I suggest you target the opposite end of the market and you’ll have a far easier time! Of course you will need to make sure your property is worthy of the higher prices but once you’ve done this you’ll be very grateful you made the effort
- Offer features and benefits that other landlords are not (see below)
So what features and benefits could you offer that other landlords may not? With regard to the property itself:
- Its location – is the property close to good transport links or the town centre?
- Does the property have private off-road parking?
- Does it have a garage the tenant can use for storage of large items they don’t want in their room?
- Is there a garden or a patio for the summer?
- What white goods are included in the kitchen? Some landlords don’t supply a dishwasher or a washer/dryer so make sure you mention them if you do
- If a multi-let is there a communal lounge? This can be a really big selling feature when many landlords try to maximise their rental income by renting out every available room but I’ve found you can charge more, get a better quality of tenant and encourage them all to get along far better if you provide a comfortable communal lounge
- Is the property furnished or unfurnished? You won’t know what everyone will want so be flexible. For single occupancy houses I always show the property furnished but tell the potential tenants that I’m happy to remove all or just some of the furniture. They love this and usually go for a mix. Similarly for multi-let properties I always offer fully furnished rooms but tell potential tenants they can rearrange the furniture or once they’ve settle in, they can ask me to remove some of it or add things like desks or additional drawers etc. if they need them. I’d suggest though to make sure they know you won’t remove the larger items such as wardrobes or sometimes beds (depending on how easy they are to take apart and store) although I’m always happy if they want to bring their own mattress. Keep a store of such items somewhere close by if you can
Some benefits and features you could promote relate to the rent and what is included:
- Are all the bills included?
- In multi-let properties some landlords say all bills are included but conveniently forget about council tax so you could include this in the rent too. I always do
- Do you provide cleaners? Again this is probably more appropriate to multi-let properties but there’s no reason why you couldn’t offer such a service to a single occupancy family too if they wanted it. I always include a cleaner for all the communal areas of a multi-let property
- Does the property have broadband or a service similar to SKY
Other benefits and features you could offer and promote:
- No fees for setting up the tenancy agreement or for taking and holding a deposit. Use the Deposit Protection Service (www.DepositProtection.com) and you won’t be charged for holding a deposit so why charge the tenant?
- No minimum tenancy term. Consider allowing tenants to give just one or two months’ notice when they want to leave, even within the first 6 months of the tenancy. I find that if you make it really easy for people to leave and, so long as you treat them well, they stay longer
- You only accept friendly and respectable tenants! I’m very picky with who I accept into my houses and I make sure that potential tenants know this. They like the fact that I’m not going to just accept anyone and ruin a potentially lovely house with an idiot later on
- Your experience! If you have any you could include testimonials from previous happy tenants
- Don’t increase the rent during a tenancy, only between tenants
Ok, I hope you found tip 1 helpful? Next week we’re going to discuss the all-important advert and what you should say in it so you get loads of enquiries from the type of tenant you want.
I hope you have a good week and I’ll speak with you again next week!!
P.S. If you’d like to order my CD ‘How To Find, Attract and Retain The Best Tenants‘ containing the entire system I’ve developed to make sure you only ever get the best tenants, they stay a long time and recommend you to other potential tenants, you can do so here: http://www.tenantscreeningtips.com/cd. For a limited time it’s only £27.97 with FREE delivery!
The CD includes all 14 top tips which together make the perfect system for finding, attracting and retaining only the best tenants for your properties, including:
Professional versus Student Tenants – Both have their advantages. I’ll help you decide which way to go
Online Advertising – Where to advertise to make sure you don’t get left with empty properties for long
Pricing – How to get your pricing right so you get the tenants you want. Also what you should include in the rent and what you should charge for
The Advert – What to say in your advertising so you get loads of enquiries from the types of tenant you want
References and Credit Checks – Not as simple as it seems! Rely solely on great references and you’re asking for trouble!
Telephone Interviewing – Save yourself hours of time with this simple tip
Face To Face Meetings – Why these are so important and what to look for when you first meet a potential tenant
Saying ‘NO’ After a Viewing – How to say ‘No’ to someone you don’t like after a viewing
Dealing With ‘No Shows’ – What you should do if someone fails to turn up to a viewing
Rent and Deposit Negotiations – How to confidently deal with potential tenants who want to negotiate the price
Securing ‘Gem’ Tenants – How to attract and keep tenants that suit your property perfectly
Recommendations – How to encourage tenants to recommend you
Recommend Other Landlords – Why this is a very good idea!
Waiting Lists – Why you should keep them
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