You have your biggest asset, your rental property and are able to conduct the viewings yourself. One of the most annoying aspects of finding a new tenant is the time-wasting that comes along with it, especially if you’re not vigilant from the start.
Prepare the property before a viewing: A clean and tidy property will be more appealing to a viewer. You (or your tenants if they are helping out) don’t have to say ‘yes, come immediately’ every time if you need an hour to get the place straight, take the time you need. Don’t forget, if you have tenants in situ, you must give them 24 hours’ notice if you wish to access the property and they have every right to refuse.
Be friendly and welcoming but stay professional. You want to be welcoming but you will need to maintain a good relationship as landlord and tenant! Try and strike the balance. Host viewings during the day whenever possible: A sunny outlook makes everything more appealing, and you can really show your property and garden off to its full potential. Some members carry out viewings on the basis of several ‘slots’ over one or two days rather than as and when enquiries are made. This may be more efficient use of your time but may not be convenient for some of those wanting to view.
You should have available for those viewing a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate even though it may well have been part of the advert placed, for example, on Zoopla.
Prepare for questions and respond honestly: Think of the main questions and prepare the answers. How much is council tax? What are the average monthly bills? How far away is the station? Is the local takeaway any good? You could even prepare a document to hand to the viewer that they can take away and consider. You should only be scheduling viewings with suitable applicants. Consider what you are looking for in a tenant and it may be worthwhile not to be too restrictive on requirements, for example pets or those on benefits. Whilst referencing your tenant is always recommended, your ‘gut feeling’ is also a vital element and should not be underestimated! If people have no references or financial background then be suspicious. Getting the answers to these questions locked down early could make or break whether a tenant chooses to proceed, and could save a lot of to-ing and fro-ing for everyone. If possible, ask for someone else to be present when you host a viewing. In addition to the safety concerns, having a second opinion on a prospective tenant is always a bonus. Do bear in mind the security element if you have existing tenants living in the property, you have their belongings to consider.
Whilst some viewers may come to a decision there and then, others may want to go away and have a think, do some calculations, have a coffee and a wander around the area, or see some other properties. They may even want to come back for a second viewing with a family member or friend. If the potential tenant is right for you and the property, there’s no point rushing them into a decision, it’s better to wait and make sure they are happy – pressure won’t help here!