January 2010

Top Tips to Letting a Property in Winter

The winter months are typically the quietest periods for landlords.  Whether you are marketing your property with a high street letting agent or trying to find tenants yourself, here are a few ideas to consider:

Spread your Marketing

Around 80% of tenants find their property online.  If you are already marketing your property on www.piccoloproperty.co.uk you have this area covered as your property is also being listed on rightmove.co.uk – the most visited property website in the UK.  However, there is always that extra 20% of tenants that find properties by other means and these are typically through To-Let boards and newspaper advertising.  By mixing your marketing strategy, you allow yourself a greater opportunity of finding a tenant.

To Let Boards are great for capturing a local audience.  The majority of people that move in an area are already living in the area.  They may be driving past your property everyday but just don’t find the time or the inclination to search online.

Local property classifieds are often read by tenants new to an area or wanting to avoid paying high street letting application fees.

2. Offer Incentives

A great way to entice tenants to apply for your property is to offer tangible incentives – these usually have a monetary value.  Here are a few inventive ideas:

Offer one month rent at half price, or better still, for free

This is a real incentive for tenants, especially around the Christmas period when disposable income is limited.

No application fee

Most high street letting agents can charge up to £300 for a joint tenancy application fee.  You would be surprised just how many tenants try to avoid this by searching for “private landlord’s property”.  If you are advertising on www.piccoloproperty.co.uk we highly recommend including *** No Tenant Application Fees*** in the details.

Bills included in the rent

This is pretty straightforward however only really works well when you are a live-in landlord and you are able to monitor the tenant’s utility usage.

Flexibility on Furniture

If the tenant requires a specific piece of furniture such as a bed or wardrobe, it can be far cheaper to arrange an item of furniture than lose rent for a month.  Equally, if the property is already furnished and the tenant has their own bed, offer to remove yours for the sake of securing an agreement.

Luxury Items

Every tenant would appreciate a free luxury item like say, 6 months of FREE cable / sky TVor 6 months of FREE broadband.  This incentive really shows thinking outside the box and adds real value for a tenant.

The point of these incentives is to differentiate your property from the competition.  When a tenant scans a list of available properties, these incentives will help you stand out from the crowd.

3. Keep your advertising fresh

A new property is more likely to be let in the first 2 weeks of being advertised – fact.  If your property has been on the market for longer than this, it is always recommended to change the advert display.  Take new photos of the property, re-write the description, and include room measurements if you have good sized bedrooms.  Treat the advert as a re-launch and it will appear to the viewing audience as a new property to the market.

Remember the saying –“if you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got!”  Time to rebrand.

4. Price, Price, Price

If you want to reduce those void periods you will need to look closely at your rental price.  A rule of thumb when valuing your property to rent is to do your market research, check out your competitors, come to a realistic rental price and then take off 5%.  This is really important as a tenant will more than likely stay in your property for a longer period of time if he/she knows that they are paying 5% less than their neighbours.  It may also be more costly for you to lose one month in rent than to give a 5% discount over a 12 month period.

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