Winter need not be a difficult time to let your home. With an organised and well-executed marketing plan, you can tempt prospective tenants away from their festive preparations, and dark nights and poor weather can be overcome with a little imagination to present your home in the best possible light.
Daniel Killick, Manager of the Kew branch of London lettings and estate agency Chestertons, shares his tips on making your home extra attractive to tenants in winter, and how to get out ahead of the competition to get your property in front of the widest possible audience:
Let there be light
If you’re taking viewings after work, natural daylight is not on your side, but potential tenants will still want to get a good look at the internal features and décor. Create the warm, cosy and subtly lit feel that everyone loves to come home to by introducing extra sources of light into each room. Low-level table lamps and large floor lamps will create the feeling of space, while spotlights will highlight key features. Fairy lights can accentuate architectural features such as beams or fireplaces or brighten up shelves and alcoves, or can prove enticing when placed in windows, doorways and porches.
Keep clear of clutter
If your house is furnished, keep everything tidy and clutter-free to maintain the “blank canvas” effect and allow potential tenants to picture themselves living in your home. If it’s time for the Christmas decorations to go up, then keep things subtle and simple, but bear in mind not putting any up at all isn’t very cheery and can make the space look minimalist or miserly! A welcoming range of winter props such as textured scatter cushions, table lamps, rugs and throws will help everything seem warm and inviting, and can even be used to lift slightly tired carpets or soft furnishings without having to fully dress the rooms or buy a whole new sofa or suite for the house you’re trying to let.
Baby it’s cool outside
While a tenant might not have big or long-term plans for any garden or outdoor space, overlook it at your peril. Anywhere with the potential for summer barbeques or offering extra outdoor storage shouldn’t be forgotten about just because it’s parky out. A set of solar garden lamps can illuminate paths, shrubs or rockeries, while spotlights tilted upwards or a row of simple fairy lights can make more of pretty trees. Roof gardens or balconies should also be part of the tour, making many homes even more jaw-dropping at night than they are in daylight!
Ensure a warm welcome
Enveloping them in warmth as soon as you open the front door to viewers helps draw them in as prospective tenants – this could be their new front door, and doesn’t everyone want to get in from work on a cold, damp day to a lovely cosy home? Make sure the heating is on, and highlight features such as real-flame gas fires, Agas or log burners by having them lit.
Don’t leave off the gardening
Layers of leaves, overgrown lawns or weeds can easily detract from a great outdoor space. A quick sweep, mow or rake at the weekends should ensure that viewers see the best bits, and demonstrates your garden, drive or courtyard is kept well maintained. Don’t forget paths and walkways, either, and try to keep your front step(s) or porch free of leaves and debris to create the right first impression.
Drive home your advantage
Safe, convenient and free parking is a huge bonus in London, so consider leaving your space or driveway empty for your viewer to shorten their journey or avoid walking through cold or dark streets or lanes to get to your house. If you’ve on or off-street parking right outside your property, make sure the agent passes the message on so your viewers know they can drive directly to you; if the agent is handling the viewings then ask if they will chauffeur them right to your front door.
Strike the right mood
Small details like the smell or the mood of the lighting lend a subtle but important appeal to the feel of a house and can influence the outcome of a house viewing. Take advantage of the festive season and wintery weather – and make an unfurnished or empty property feel more welcoming – by lighting scented candles. If you have an open-fire or log burner you could even throw some pinecones on the fire for that unique Nordic scent of pine forests in winter.
With 32 offices across London and a further 20 international branches spanning 11 countries and five continents, Chestertons is the residential property expert which combines expert local knowledge with a global reach.
Named UK Sales Agency of the Year 2014 and Best Large Lettings Agency 2013, Chestertons offers clients access to a full range of services including residential sales and lettings, property and block management, professional valuations, investment, leasehold services, residential development consultancy and property refurbishment and sourcing.
For more information on the wide range of professional services and advice Chestertons offers, please visit www.chestertons.com