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July Guide for landlords.

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So, you’ve advertised your property and you’re starting to get enquiries from potential tenants, but how do you convert those initial calls and emails into a successful let?

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Landlords who advertise with Upad receive plenty of tenant enquiries (19 on average), however don’t feel you have to arrange a viewing for everyone who shows an interest. Before you show someone around, ask some questions to make sure the person and the property are a good fit.. You could do this by email if you’re more comfortable with that, but often you’ll find out more about a person if you have a chat on the phone. There’s no need to interrogate them (you don’t want to scare anyone away) but you could just say something like, “can you tell me a little about yourself?” Questions to ask include the following:

When are they looking to move? Often people go ‘window shopping’ for their next place months before they’re ready to move, while others leave it until the last minute and so might need to move before your property is available.

Why are they moving? Needs to be more exact. Something like; “if the tenant has nothing to hide they are more than likely to give you a direct answer. If they’re evasive, they may just not want to tell you their personal situation at this stage, or they may have something to hide.”

How long do they intend to stay? If you’re looking for a long-term rental, here’s no point meeting someone looking for a six-month stop gap..

Do they know what you’re offering? You’d be surprised at how many viewers don’t read the ads completely. Therefore, it’s worth going over the essential facts such as the number of bedrooms, the location and the rent and deposit, plus what is (or isn’t) included in the rent.

Where do they work? If you’re looking for professional tenants, it’s important to establish they do actually have a job.

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When arranging to show people around your property, try to be as flexible as you can. If you limit viewings to working hours or to evenings and weekends only, you risk losing good tenants.

Where is the nearest train station/ supermarket/bank?

Don’t be afraid to do more than one viewing at a time, sometimes it’s good to let tenants see you’ve got a lot of interest in a property – after all, we all want something more if someone else wants it too! However, make sure you keep a list of all viewings so you know who’s expected when – people always like to be greeted by name - and make a few subtle notes about each viewer so you’ll remember later which were the most suitable.

How long does it take to travel into town?

During the viewing, be prepared to answer any questions about the property and the local area, including local transport, shops, schools and nightlife. The sort of questions you might be asked include:

Which buses stop nearby?

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How much are the energy bills? If these are relatively low, have a recent bill to hand as proof.

How much is the council tax? What are the local schools like? If you’re appealing to families, it’s worth looking up Ofsted reports on the nearest schools and finding out if your place is within the catchment area.

What are the parking restrictions and how do you apply for any necessary permits? What’s the local area like? Obviously you’re going to tell them it’s awesome, but having some concrete evidence of its desirability is even better – the property listings site Zoopla has useful information on each postcode you can pinch.

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Don’t forget to stress all your property’s USPs which viewers might not clock, such as double-glazing, proximity to public transport, a south-facing terrace or garden and friendly neighbours.

Are they looking at the property only for themselves or will they be sharing?

Handing each viewer a sheet with printed details about your property, including your contact number and email, will help to jog their memory later when they’re trying to decide which of the dozens of properties they might have seen that day they liked the best.

Where do they work and how long they’ve worked there?

However, the viewing process is also an opportunity for you to suss out prospective tenants and make sure they’re the sort of person you want to live in your property. It’s a chance for you to ask the tenant more about themselves and to make sure they’ll be a good renter.

You need to know exactly who – and how many – will be living there.

Generally speaking, the longer the better.

Are they on a permanent or temporary contract? Ideally their contract should last at least until t he end of their tenancy.

Will they be able to supply references from their employer and a previous landlord?

There’s no need to stage an inquisition, just chat casually while walking them through the property. Things to ask include:

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You can usually tell from someone’s body language if they like the property. If they ask lots of questions and stay more than five minutes, they’re probably quite keen. It’s worth following up the next day with a quick phone call or an email, to see if they’re interested and if they’d like a second look. Now you might receive an offer from a viewer you didn’t warm too. Don’t feel you have to accept. Go with your gut instinct and if you don’t feel comfortable letting to someone, you can always tell them you’ve had another offer. When you’ve selected your ideal tenant, it’s best to reference them to make sure they’re as good as you think they are. Upad can do this at no extra cost to you (the tenant pays £50+vat). We’ll verify their job, salary and secure references from their employer and previous landlord. Upad can also sort out all the paperwork, including writing a cast-iron tenancy agreement and registering the deposit, to ensure a smooth and stress-free start to your tenancy. Just ask for our Tenant Sign-up Service, which costs £95+vat. upad.co.uk | info@upad.co.uk | 0333 240 1220

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