Whether you conduct viewings yourself, or an agent does them on your behalf, it’s important to make sure you’ve prepared properly if you want to attract the best tenants possible.
The most important thing you can do, by far, is make sure the property is spotlessly clean – no matter how attractive it otherwise is or how much rent you’ll be charging. After each tenancy ends, you should have the place professionally cleaned, so that you can do a ‘top-up’ clean before your viewings.
Make sure you’ve thoroughly cleaned the kitchen and bathroom – including the toilet – dusted all surfaces, vacuumed throughout and taken care of any cobwebs. It’s also a good idea to have the windows cleaned inside and out – grubby windows can be very off-putting.
If there are repairs that you need to make before a new tenancy starts but haven’t gotten around to yet, do the ones that are obvious before the viewing, to give a sense of a well maintained property. Just don’t forget to fix the rest before the tenants move in.
Likewise, deal with any mould that may have emerged during the previous tenancy or void period. You’ll need to find the source of this and get professional help if needed – don’t just paint over it as you could put the health of your tenants at risk.
Make sure you also get rid of limescale where needed too – this will spruce up taps and other fittings and make them look like new. Top up any chipped or dirty paintwork and make sure the garden is tidy too.
On the day of the viewing, make sure any condensation is wiped from the windows and the heating is right for the time of year – turn it on if it’s winter and open the windows if it’s summer. If your agent is conducting the viewings, either arrive before them to do this or ask them if they can do it for you.
It’s worth airing it out a few hours before the viewing too, to ensure it smells fresh and neutral – don’t use strong air fresheners as they may put some tenants off and insinuate you’re trying to hide something.
If you’re conducting the viewing yourself, be flexible on timings – many tenants will work during the week and will prefer to view the place on weeknights or weekends.
Consider providing tea and coffee as the tenants walk round the property. If anything, this will warm them to you and start a good relationship should they want to let the property from you. Plus, fresh coffee will make the property smell inviting and homely.
Here are some more keys things to remember when the tenants arrive:
1. Be yourself! You’ll want to find tenants you get on with and they’ll be looking for a landlord that they like and trust
2. Show them where everything is, but don’t overcrowd them – let them go at their own pace.
3. Don’t take any criticism too personally, tenants are likely to forget it’s your property and may make remarks that you don’t like, but this doesn’t mean they won’t take the property
4. Be knowledgeable and honest about the property – but stay positive! They will doubtless have lots of questions, which you’re best placed to answer as the property’s owner and it’s a great chance to extol the virtues of your property and mange their expectations
You can also use a viewing as a learning exercise - listen out for comments such as “it’d be great if it had...” and ask the tenants questions. If suggestions are cost effective, put them into place. If the changes sound expensive – ask the tenants if they’d be willing to pay a higher rent to have what they want.
Don’t forget your personal safety too. You won’t have vetted your tenants at this point, so it’s a good idea to have someone else there with you, as you don’t know who you’re letting into the property. At the very least, let someone know where you are and what you’re doing, in case of emergency.
If you’re short on time, or don’t fancy the idea of showing multiple people round your property, an agent will do it for you. You don’t need to take out a fully managed contract with them; a let-only service should include viewings as standard.
Above all, have fun. This is a great chance to show off your hard work, meet potential new tenants and start to build relationships with the people who’ll be living in your property and supplementing your income for, hopefully, the foreseeable future.
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