Being a landlord is a role that requires a multitude of different skills and abilities; to assume you are simply a property owner would be a naive attitude to take. You are responsible for what is soon to be somebody’s home and a home is far more than just bricks and mortar. A good landlord will consider the well-being of their prospective tenants as well as the pay cheque they receive at the end of each month. The purpose of this article is to inform and guide both current and future landlords on the leading and most cost effective ways to design and maintain your property to achieve maximum return on investment.
We understand how important it is to ensure a smooth, hassle-free let but a rushed job will do nobody any favours. Instead you should be aware of the following best practice guidelines for a seamless letting experience. Research suggests that most viewers will form an opinion on a property within the first 7-10 seconds of arriving and as we all know, opinions are often a difficult thing to reverse. There is little time once that first impression has been made to attempt a second shot.
Utilise Technology to Your Advantage
We live in a digital world where affordable technology is at our fingertips and the nature of this means we demand answers and responses with far less patience than ever before. Resistance is futile; you just have to embrace it. Know your potential renters inside out and you’ll be one step ahead of everyone else.
In many instances the only free time your prospective tenants could have would be restricted to their daily commute, coffee and lunch breaks and perhaps if they aren’t rushing around attempting to be sociable, a brief search on their tablet of an evening. 90% of renters view potential properties online first and this is where the very first impressions are made. Long before you’ve put the cookies in the oven and lit the Yankee candles, your tenant-to-be has already decided if it’s worth viewing in person or not. If you wish to entice and engage your audience, make sure you are effectively marketing your property online. Once you make the online marketplace work for you, you gain a crucial advantage in a crowded space.
It pays to invest in professional photography because as well as your future tenants being online so are millions of what you should see as competitors. Since the Internet became a constant in everyday life, online marketing can be considered an essential component to all industries, not just property. Homes listed online with imagery have around 61 percent more views than those without and photos are your first impressions, generating interest at this earliest stage and tempting visitors to seek further details.
Understanding Home Staging
As a secondary phase in the letting process, home staging has grown in popularity over recent years. Duke University in North Carolina recently conducted a survey in order to determine the importance buyers and renters are currently placing on certain staging principles. The participants rated these principles on a scale of 1 – 7 and interestingly, the highest outcome was at 6.5 for the removal of personal items, suggesting that the idea of a “lived-in” home isn’t actually what home seekers are searching for.
The bathroom was the most commonly cited problem area, with the removal of razors a particularly common failing along with unsightly toothbrushes and soaps being a turn-off. It appears such items are deemed far too personal and distracting to the property viewer when attempting to envision themselves within the space. Executing the ‘personal’ touch can be a challenge but it’s certainly not one to shy away from. This is where home staging and professional landlord furniture packages are becoming increasingly important within the booming UK property market.
Telling a story also factored high on the priority list with a score of 5.03 (out of 7). Buyers and renters commented on the need to feel a homely presence, triggering emotional connections. This is especially important if your property targets young families. Busy parents will be sure to have comfort at the top of their needs when viewing both online and in person. Too many colours, too much furniture and an overbearing abundance of personal possessions will distract viewers – otherwise known as stimulus overload. When there is so much to see, we don’t see anything.
Working with a Home Stager
Similar to an interior decorator a home stager will know what’s current and on trend in the world of home décor. They should have an eye for detail and prioritise making your home viewer friendly, taking the weight off your shoulders in making your home presentable. Consider one less worry as extra time and energy on your hands for project managing. Every home has potential and this is the outlook landlords should be taking.
With the seemingly unending interest in property make-over TV shows, interior design is high on everyone’s priority list. Whether your property is looking to yield £500pcm or £5,000, know that expectations are always going to be incredibly high. To avoid having to field knock down offers on the price, you must compete by ensuring your property is presented as the best that it can be.
Ready to embark upon the home staging journey? A consultation will be the first port of call, and depending on which staging company you work with you can expect to pay between £50 – £75 per hour for this, although some do offer the initial meeting free of charge. A small property, depending on the cosmetic needs, would be a minimum spend of £500, however the average price spent on home staging is roughly £2,000. Remember it’s not their role to knock down walls and huge structural changes will need further assistance, however the more basic aspects such as new kitchen doors and a fresh lick of paint to the skirting boards are the sort of high impact areas you should expect to see actioned.
You are trying to sell a lifestyle so having a professional on board with you to assist on design elements and changes will save you both essential time in the long run and most importantly, money. As ever, do your research and arrange several ‘interview’ style meet ups with potential home stagers prior to picking one to ensure you are receiving the best service available. Take advantage of those offering free consultations for the initial stages. For more information on how to prepare your property for the ever changing market, see this essential guide to letting a property.
Article Courtesy of: Roomservice by CORT©LandlordZONE® – legal content applies primarily to England and is not a definitive statement of the law, always seek professional advice.