The experts at Belvoir reveal six simple steps to getting your property viewing ready…
1. First impression lessons
“Before you arrange any viewings it’s important to take an objective look at your property and what it has to offer,” says owner of Belvoir Portsmouth and Belvoir Waterlooville Samantha Bateman. “Most properties will benefit from a pre-moving in makeover or MOT before viewings begin.
“Start with the exterior. This will be the first thing any prospective tenant will see – in fact, many tenants will drive past a property before even committing to a viewing so these first impressions are vital.
“Has your property got kerb appeal? Ensure the outside of the property is tidy and neat, with a weed-free driveway, garden, borders and beds. Look at the front door and door furniture too. Are they in a good condition or do they need refreshing? Is any exterior paintwork dirty or in need of re-painting? And what about the dustbins? Are they on display? If so, put them away.
Co-owner of Belvoir Melton Mowbray Katie Archer agrees and adds, “Also think about your guttering and windows. Guttering should be clear of weeds and windows should be sparkling and clean.
“Create visual impact with your property’s exterior in order to invite prospective tenants through the front door and tempt them to want to see more.”
2. No place like home
“Next, take a walk through your property to identify what interior updates or upgrades it needs,” says Katie.
“A prospective tenant will want a property that they can imagine as their new home, therefore it should be ‘move in’ ready and look well cared for and maintained.
“The interior should be clean and tidy, plus think about the décor too. Could it do with updating? Most tenants will be looking for a neutral backdrop where they can visualise their own furniture in situ.
“Bathrooms and kitchens are extremely important too. They don’t necessarily need to be replaced but they do need to be clean and smart.
“Providing curtains, blinds, lampshades and other attractive dressings can also help create a sense of ‘home’.”
3. Marketing value
“Don’t underestimate the value of marketing,” says Samantha. “Once you’ve perfected your property, both inside and out, it’s time to put together your marketing material and plan.
“Successful marketing material will need to tell a ‘story’ and should take prospective tenants on a journey through the property.
“Descriptions should be enticing, with particular attention given to the first sentence which will determine whether or not a tenant reads on. Remember, however, while it’s important to try and tempt a tenant with your text, it’s also essential that you’re accurate and don’t mislead them.
“Wording should be backed up with a selection of good quality pictures, preferably taken on a bright sunny day, to create a storyboard of your property’s highlights and key features.
“Think too about where and when you’re going to advertise your property in order for it to reach the widest cross-section of prospective tenants.”
4. Inventive incentives
“Having a tenant already occupying your property when you’re marketing it can make the viewing process more challenging as you won’t have full control over access to the property or its interior appearance on the day,” says Katie.
“Some landlords offer their current tenants incentives in return for them keeping the property clean and tidy, plus for being flexible about when viewings can be arranged. This could perhaps be by offering to release them from the tenancy early if needed or agreeing on a suitable incentive together.
“If you do have a tenant in situ it may also be worth thinking about arranging block viewings in order to minimise disruption.”
5. Access all areas
“During the viewing a prospective tenant will want to see everything the property has to offer so make sure you’re suitably prepared,” says Samantha.
“Ensure you have a full set of keys to the property and that all areas can be accessed, including the loft space if necessary. Is there a lockable garage, shed, outbuildings, basement or cellar? If so, make sure you have keys available for those too.”
6. Last-minute lowdown
“While many of your preparations will take place in advance, some will need to be done immediately prior to the viewing itself,” says Katie.
“If possible arrive at the property before the meeting is scheduled so you have time for essential last-minute preparations and any troubleshooting that is needed.
“Ensure the property looks airy and bright, plus feels inviting and warm. Draw back curtains, switch on lights and either open windows or turn on the heating depending on the season.
“In addition, empty overflowing bins, ensure toilet seats are down, plus make certain each room is tidy and neat and walkways aren’t cluttered.
“Remove any post that has collected behind the front door too so that when the doorbell rings you’re ready to give your prospective tenant a warm welcome into their potential new home.”
On the day
Steps to success – during the viewing…
√ Be punctual – prospective tenants won’t want to be kept waiting. Arrive in advance if possible for last-minute preparations.
√ Guided tour – take the tenant on a journey through the property, highlighting the benefits of each space and leaving the best feature until last.
√ Life story – create an appealing lifestyle story by ‘selling’ key facts about the local amenities and area.
√ Double take – allow the tenant to explore the property and take a second look at their leisure. Never rush or push.
√ Success stories – explain why the current tenant is leaving, plus refer to past successful tenancies too.
√ Trust issues – it’s important that you come across as genuine, effective and efficient in order to gain the tenant’s trust. They will be looking for a landlord who they can communicate with and have confidence in.
√ Question time – ask open-ended questions to help the conversation flow. Encourage them to ask you questions too.
√ Answers at the ready – tenants will often ask about Council Tax Bands, utility bills, plus moving in timescales etc so identify commonly asked questions in advance and make sure you know the answers.
√ Research and reveal – if you don’t know the answer to a question, find out after the viewing and then let the tenant know.
√ Marketing matters – ensure you have the marketing material to hand so you can give out copies for prospective tenants to take away.
√ Feedback follow-up – a phone call following the viewing will enable you to gain valuable feedback about your property.
√ Expert help – benefit from the experience of a professional letting agent by instructing them to do the viewings for you.
Article Courtesy of: Belvoir