Preparing the property for let

How long will it take to find tenants for my rental property?

This is a very difficult question to answer. Securing tenants for a propety can take anything from a few hours to several weeks. If the asking rent is realistic, the property presents well and is in a good area and the letting market is not depressed, then it should take less than a week. Your letting agent will be able to advise you on timescale during the valuation/appraisal.

Should the property be furnished or unfurnished?

As it makes no difference to the acheivable rent, whether to offer your property furnished or unfurnished comes down to supply and demand.Your letting agent should be able to advise you what do tenants prefer for your type of property in your area. for more detailed information on this subject, have a look at our article - Furnished or Unfurnished?

How should I prepare my rental property for viewing?

Tenants want a property that is clean, tidy, bright and well-looked after. First impressions are important so make sure the entryway is neat and tidy, put away as much clutter as possible, make sure your curtains are fully open to let in the light and where possible open windows in advance to give the property a good airing. If you can, take your kids or pets out for a walk - the more people in a property, the smaller it looks. If a letting agent is carrying out the viewing, go out yourself - the viewers will be more relaxed in your absence and have a better look around. Be certain to eliminate any pet, smoke or other odours by brewing some fresh coffee or cooking something that smells delicious. Look at your property objectively and finally, make sure everything works perfectly.

How should I conduct a viewing?

Be friendly and welcoming and point out the properties assets but don't say too much. Make sure they have a good look around. Viewers are often uncomfortable when a landlord is present so encourage them to go right into rooms and open your cupboards. Let the viewers proceed you into any rooms, especially small kitchens and bathrooms and make sure you have window and door keys at the ready. When you have finished, ask them if they would like another quick look around on their own or move out of earshot to give potential tenants a chance to converse privately. Before they leave, ask if they have any questions but don't push for an opinion on your property. If you have a letting agent, discourage any discussions about rent or contracts, after all, you're paying the lettings negotiator to do the negotiating.

How do I vet tenants?

You want to make sure that your tenants can afford the rent and will look after your property. So, you need to obtain financial references and character references. Ask their employer to confirm their salary and reliability and ask the prospective tenants to provide a few months worth of bank statements for your perusal. It is important to speak with their current landlord and confirm how much rent your prospective tenants have been paying, if they have paid it on time and whether they looked after the property. Also, ask for proof of address (a council tax or other utility bill) and photo identification (passport, driving licence). For students, speak with their college tutor (or equivalent) and accommodation officer if they lived in student halls. Student tenants will also need a guarantor whose suitability to meet the commitment should also be confirmed. If you are using a letting agent, they should obtain all this information for you and will also be able to run a basic credit check on the prospective tenants.