The Upad Landlord’s 5 Steps to a Successful Viewing
I was once shown round a rental flat by a landlord with half his dinner down his sweater, which wasn’t a good look and gave the impression of someone who really didn’t give a damn. During the viewing he just stood by the front door, jangling his keys, which was pretty unnerving.
You might think no-one cares what the landlord’s like, tenants are only interested in the property, but I’m not sure that’s true. This guy was so unfriendly I wouldn’t have felt comfortable dealing with him, so I barely looked at the flat. In fact, I got out of there as fast as I could!
I think that if you’re a self-managing landlord, you need to make a good first impression with tenants. You need to make them feel that you’ll be approachable (but not a pushover), that you care about the property (but you’re not overly protective) and that you’re interested in them (but not in a creepy, popping-round-to-check up-on-them-every-day kind of way).
However, getting the tone right can be tricky because you’re letting someone a home, which is very personal and you need to get to know them so you can be sure that they’ll take care of the place. However, at the same time this is a financial transaction, you’re entrusting them to live in what is probably your most valuable investment, so you need to be business-like too.
You don’t need to turn up to viewings suited and booted looking like a lettings agent, but following these 5 steps should help you create the right impression, which should be efficient but approachable, business-like but understanding.
- Remember to give existing tenants sufficient notice of any viewings so you don’t burst in when they’re in bed, in the shower or in the middle of something they wouldn’t want interrupted. That would be awkward for them, for you and for the viewers. Ideally, you should give existing tenants a day’s warning, but if want to turn up at short notice, make sure they’ve confirmed that’s acceptable. Viewers will want to see that you’re respectful of your existing tenants.
- Call or text viewers an hour or so beforehand to remind them of the meeting time and ask them to let you know if they’re running late. This will reassure them that they’re expected and also save you wasting time waiting for no-shows.
- Arrive at the property a few minutes before the viewers to make sure the coast is clear and, if necessary, turn on some lights to create a welcoming atmosphere.
- Print off some flyers with essential information about the property on one side, including your contact details. On the reverse, you could include a list of everything you require from them if they want to make an offer, such as written references, employer’s details, proof of ID and your bank details for the holding deposit. This looks professional and it will also save time.
- Be friendly, but not gushing, treat a viewing more like a business meeting, less like a date. Have a list of all the viewers’ details so you can greet them all by name, and give each one time to ask any questions. If you’re doing multiple viewings at the same time and don’t get chance to speak to everyone, hand out flyers or business cards with your phone number and email and encourage viewers to contact you with any questions.
Being organised will take any stress out of viewings and help tenants feel totally comfortable dealing with you.