First impressions are made fast and then last so make yours count in six simple steps, say the experts at Belvoir
1. Marketing value
“The very first initial impression that a prospective tenant will get about your property is not from the bricks and mortar themselves but is actually from the quality of your marketing material,” says owner of Belvoir Tamworth Angie Allgood. “Sadly, however, this is sometimes overlooked by landlords.
“Your marketing material, whether it be online or in print, is a vital communication tool to ‘sell’ the benefits of your property and invite prospective tenants to make your house their home.
“Within this material it is essential to showcase the property’s key features and ‘selling points’ through a clever combination of words and exterior and interior pictures. The narrative should be interesting and informative and the pictures should be of a good standard, preferably taken on a bright sunny day.
“While it’s important to ‘shout’ about the advantages of your property, always remember that accuracy in your depictions and descriptions is vital,” she continues. “If the property doesn’t live up to the expectations you have created, viewings will be short and the wait for a good tenant may be long!”
2. The great outdoors
“Before a prospective tenant even steps through your front door on the viewing day they will be estimating the suitability of your property based on its external value,” says owner of Belvoir Birmingham Central Major Mahil. “The exterior of a property tells a story about the interior and there are a few things you can do to ensure that it doesn’t let you down.
“Firstly, visit your property and assess its initial impact as if you were seeing it yourself for the very first time.
“Take a step back and ask yourself: ‘What needs improving? How does it compare to neighbouring properties? What can be done make it more visually appealing? How can I make my property stand out from the crowd?’
“Peeling paintwork, clogged guttering, deteriorating brickwork or pointing, loose or missing roof tiles, thinning gravel driveways, untidy borders and shabby door furniture should be noted and rectified. Some landlords may also choose to add hanging baskets and other attractive adornments to maximise the property’s external appeal too.”
3. Interior appeal
“Once indoors a prospective tenant will be assessing the property’s internal appeal at speed and will often know whether they want to live there within the first five minutes of the viewing,” says Angie. “Space, light and decor will be the key considerations for most.
“To capitalise on the feeling of space, ensure the property is neat and tidy, plus any furniture is not oversized for the room. If the property is already tenanted this will be difficult to enforce, but if you have a good relationship with the current tenant they are likely to try and help as much as possible by keeping the property clean for viewings if they can.
“Before the viewing, ensure the property is looking light and bright by opening curtains to the full and switching on lights if necessary. A crisp neutral colour scheme and decor formed from a white/cream-based palette can also help add to the feeling of light.
“In addition, most of today’s tenants also want up-to-date appliances, kitchen fittings and bathroom suites and they will be looking to see if the property has been modernised to a good standard and appliances are in good working order.
“They will also want to know that the property has historically been well looked after by yourself and previous tenants and the presentation of the property will be used as a measurement of this.”
“Don’t forget that you’re being judged too!,” says Major. “Although a prospective tenant will primarily be looking at the property and assessing whether they wish to live there, they will also be working out what kind of landlord you are likely to be.
“Will you be helpful? Will you deal with issues fairly and fast? Will you be available if needed but not such an interference that you become an irritant?
“This first meeting is to some extent a two-way interview and the same rules apply as those for a successful job applicant. Judgements will be formed within about 30 seconds of meeting you so a firm handshake, good eye contact and a professional attitude are all advisable, as is being punctual and demonstrating transparency and honesty.
“The viewing is an opportunity for you to gain a potential tenant’s trust and confidence and for you to learn a bit about them too… it will inevitably lay the foundations of your tenant/landlord relationship moving forward.”
5. Be prepared!
“A potential tenant is likely to have many questions so make sure you have the answers,” says Angie.
“Common questions tenants ask include ‘what is the Council Tax band and cost?’, ‘what date will the property be vacated for me to move in?’, ‘how much will I need to budget for utilities?’, ‘what are the deposit requirements?’, ‘when is the rent likely to go up and by how much?’, plus many others.
“It is important that you are pre-prepared – your ability to answer with ease will demonstrate your efficiency plus your level of interest in the property (or highlight the lack of it!). This dialogue will make a key contribution to the picture that the potential tenant is creating of you.
“If you can’t answer a question immediately, give reassurance that you will find out as soon as possible… and then make sure you do. False promises leave bad impressions, not good ones!”
6. Impression lessons
If you want further advice on how to make a good first impression, then ask your local letting agent…
“Letting agents are a valuable resource when it comes to making a great first impression,” says Major. “Because they have experienced hundreds of viewings they know what works and what doesn’t and will be able to advise you on how to utilise that first five minutes for maximum impact. Even small changes can make a big difference!
“An agent can also do the viewings on your behalf and will work hard to ensure that the first impressions of your property last for all the right reasons…”
Article Courtesy of: Belvoir Lettings