WE all know first impressions count – not least when it comes to selling or renting your home.
The way you present your property could be the difference between a tenant saying yes or no; as well as securing or missing out on rental income.
According to research, the private rental sector is expected to reach 22% of the total housing stock by 2023, with 35-49-year-olds now the largest group living in rented housing.
It is well documented that the kitchen and the bathroom are seen as the two most important rooms in the home; and should be a key focus in any rental property.
This is followed by the living space and bedroom/s – either of which can double as a home office; another very important USP in these current working from home times.
So when it comes to getting you and your property prepared for that all-important viewing, arm yourself with a checklist and plenty of time to get the job done properly.
Kerb appeal will be the clincher – even before prospective tenants have stepped through the front door – so landlords should ensure that lawns and gardens are tidy, rubbish bins are out of sight, windows and doors are clean, the pathway to the front door is clear, and any cobwebs are removed from the porch.
Top tips to help tick all the boxes when it comes to tenant viewings
Once inside, it is a good idea to work on a room-by-room basis, paying particular attention to layout, cleanliness and practicality.
By imagining themselves in the tenants’ shoes, landlords can achieve a maximum top to bottom makeover with minimum effort.
Living room/ lounge
- Think about where the furniture is positioned – can you give the illusion of more space if you re-arrange it?
- Add a vase of fresh flowers – but make sure their smell is not overpowering.
- The smell of furniture polish gives the impression the home is well cared for, but don’t overdo it.
- Plump your cushions.
- Straighten the curtains.
- Leave a light on – this can create a relaxed atmosphere and brightens the room.
- Make shelves / bookcases neat and tidy.
- Make sure work surfaces are clear and clutter free. Ensure the oven is clean and be prepared for viewing tenants to open the oven door.
- Wipe around the fridge and washing machine to get rid of dirty marks or sticky fingerprints.
- As with every room – a good smell sells so pop in some plug-in air fresheners or reed diffusers.
- What could be nicer than freshly laundered towels hanging over the rails or over the bath?
- A new bar of soap looks better than one which is melting away.
- A sparkling bath, hand basin and toilet create the right impression.
- If the bathroom is tiled, ensure the tiles and the grout are clean.
- Be prepared to answer questions about the hot water / heating system – or better still, have an information card on display.
- This is the room where you can afford to make it look more like a show home – so make sure the bed is nicely made and use a viewing as an excuse to introduce some feature cushions!
- Leave a light on to create atmosphere.
- Tidy away anything you don’t want on show!
Ensuring that all the door and window locks are in good working order is paramount, and if not; landlords should pay particular attention to this. Even if the property is in a nice neighbourhood, most tenants want the peace of mind that comes with having security features, such as alarms and fences. Offering to pay for an alarm system is a cost-effective way to attract new tenants. Some are relatively cheap to install and generate a return on investment due to a higher rent price and shorter void periods.
Here’s a Top 10- re-cap of first impressions:
- A modern, nicely presented kitchen and bathroom.
- Good facilities – washing machine, tumble dryer, dishwasher.
- Stainless steel appliances.
- Simple style touches, such as a feature wall.
- Clean and comfortable interior.
- Plenty of storage space.
- A tidy, functional outside space.
- As much natural light as possible.
- A parking space.
- Open plan living.
People buy into people
We know that people buy into people, and just as landlords are looking for reliable tenants who do not cause a nuisance to neighbours, respect the property, do not complain and pay their rent on time – tenants in turn are looking for an approachable and co-operative landlord.
Landlords – although it can be difficult to build a rapport with each of your tenants, always be friendly and respectful when you contact and communicate with tenants (both prospective and current). Keep written records of all communication and demonstrate to them that you’re a responsible landlord who abides by the legislation.