The experts at Belvoir reveal 7 simple steps to the perfect viewing…
“If a prospective tenant has booked a viewing the good news is that they’re already interested in making your property their home,” says owner of Belvoir Bury St Edmunds and Belvoir Norfolk Patsy Day. “It’s likely that it ticks their wish list in terms of size, space and price, but don’t be complacent. Your marketing material may have done its job but the rest of the hard work is now down to you.
“In fact, the power of the viewing process shouldn’t be underestimated so it’s important to maximise its potential. Here’s how…”
1. First impressions
“As the old adage says, ‘there’s only one chance to make a great first impression’ and this is particularly true when showing off your property,” says Patsy. “You want someone to walk in and immediately get a sense of home… not just to see the property’s promise, but feel it too.
“The houses that do this best are those which are really clean and are presented with the benefits of curtains and lampshades and the other dressings that matter when you enter a house for the first time.
“Creating kerb appeal is also important,” she continues. “Before a potential tenant even walks through the door they will be assessing whether your property could be ‘home’.
“If the exterior is poorly presented it won’t present the right image from the offset and it will make the property look unloved. Driveways should be weed-free, front lawns should be neat and the front door, door furniture and windows should be in a good condition.
“People want to see that they can move straight in and that the property has historically been cared for and well maintained.”
2. A warm welcome
“Always make sure you’re on time for the viewing,” says owner of Belvoir Tamworth Angie Allgood. “Keeping a prospective tenant waiting is definitely bad news and will reflect badly on your commitment to them and the property.
“If possible, arrive early enough to troubleshoot any problems and do any last-minute preparations before the prescheduled meeting time. These could include switching on the lights, opening curtains, blinds and windows, or putting on the heating if the property feels damp or cold.
“It’s also a good idea to remove post that’s stacking up on the doormat, plus to check that the bathroom is clean and tidy and the toilet seat is down.”
3. Sell yourself
“As well as ‘selling’ the property’s potential, it’s also important to ‘sell’ yourself as a landlord,” says Patsy. “If you are self-managing, the tenant’s first impressions of you will be crucial and will form the foundations of the relationship you go on to share.
“It’s important to come across as warm, friendly, professional, presentable and, importantly, believable and genuine – some tenants will have had false promises made by previous landlords and will be looking for someone they can trust. Propel the conversation forward by asking open-ended questions and ensure you reassure them that maintenance issues will be dealt with efficiently and at speed should they arise.
“You could also mention why the property is on the market and explain why the current tenant is moving on so they know that this is nothing to do with you or the property.”
4. Be prepared
“Before the viewing it’s important that you’re fully prepared and have done your homework,” says Angie. “The prospective tenant is likely to have lots of questions about the property and the tenancy so it’s important you can answer them.
“Common questions include: ‘What’s the Council Tax Band?’, ‘How much are the running costs on average?’ and ‘When will the property become vacant?’. People sometimes ask about local amenities too.
“If an unexpected question occurs that you can’t answer, promise you’ll find out for them… and then make sure you do so. Failing to keep promises will not be a good start to your relationship.
“Also does the property have a lockable garage, workshop or shed etc? If so, make sure you’re prepared in advance and you’ve got the keys available for everything that the tenant may want to see.”
5. Don’t rush or push!
“It’s really important that you let the tenant make the decision and that you don’t rush or push them,” says Patsy. “It’s going to be their next home and they need to be sure. Plus, ideally you want a long-term tenancy from someone who’s moved into a property they want to live in, not a short-term one from someone who leaves in six months because it wasn’t the right property for them in the first place.
“Again it comes down to those valuable first impressions too. If you come across as pushy and just been out there for your own self-interest the tenant will feel that and it will really put them off.
“Therefore it’s important that you allow the prospective tenant time to view the property at their own pace (don’t glance at your watch during the visit), plus let them take a second look if they wish.
“Give them a copy of the marketing details to take away with them, then follow up with a courtesy phone call the following day for further questions and feedback. Feedback is extremely important, whether it be good or bad, and most people find it easier to be honest on the phone rather than face-to-face.”
6. Save the best until last
“You may want to be selective in the order of things you show your prospective tenant during the viewing,” says Angie.
“It always a good idea to begin with an attractive feature to get the viewing off to a positive start. Plus, it’s advisable to point out something really appealing at the end of the viewing too so they walk away with a great lasting impression.
“Appealing features could include a landscaped garden, a beautiful view from a bedroom window, an attractive modern kitchen or bathroom or any other unique selling point the property may have.
“These mental pictures will help make your property memorable, which is particularly pertinent if they’re viewing several properties in one day.”
7. Agent help
“If you instruct an agent to find a tenant or fully manage the property then they will do the viewings on your behalf,” says Patsy. “This will usually include arranging the viewing, conducting the viewing, following up on the viewing and getting feedback.
“An agent is often the best person to do the viewing as they will be extremely experienced and knowledgeable about the industry, are non-biased and will only be taking people to see the properties which fit their needs. They can also deal with the negotiations, whether that be a price reduction or further work needing to be done before move in.
“Importantly, too, because of our training we can also recognise the buying signals, without pushing, and can ask the right questions to tip a ‘maybe’ into a ‘yes’.”
Top tips – at-a-glance:
√ Make a great first impression… it lasts!
√ Neutral decor and modern appliances appeal to the majority of tenants
√ Don’t be late… it’s an important date!
√ Before the potential tenant arrives open the curtains and blinds, plus put on the lights and heating if necessary (especially if the property has been empty for a while)
√ Giving key information about the local area and amenities can help ‘sell’ a lifestyle
√ Don’t rush them or be too pushy – let the tenant explore at their leisure and have a second look if they wish
√ Help the conversation flow by asking open-ended questions
√ Be prepared by having the answers ready to commonly asked questions
√ If you can’t answer a question, promise you’ll find out (and then make sure you do!)
√ Try to gain the tenant’s confidence and trust in you as a landlord so they know that you’ll deal with problems effectively and efficiently if they arise
√ Give them a copy of the marketing details for them to take away
√ Does the property come with a garage, workshop or shed etc? If so, make sure you’ve got the keys available for everything the tenant may want to see
√ Refer to other successful tenancies, plus explain why the current tenant is moving on (so they know it’s nothing to do with you or the property)
√ Leave the best feature until last so the property makes a great final impression
√ Follow up for feedback with a courtesy phone call
√ Instruct an experienced letting agent to do the viewings on your behalf
Article Courtesy of: Belvoir