Viewings and negotiations
If you are using an agent, they will be able to handle both viewings and negotiations on your behalf. If you are choosing not to use an agent, you will need to handle both of these yourself and so it is important you are familiar with how both of these work.
If this is the first time you have let your property, then it is important that you ensure that the property is neat and tidy. You want your home to feel homely and welcoming but for it to be enough of a blank canvass that the prospective tenants could see themselves living there.
The key is making it as easy as possible for the agent to get access, be flexible about what times you will allow them to view, ideally with no restrictions. If you can get a key cut for your agent this will also make life easier.
Remember that you are competing for viewings with all the other properties that are currently on the market so the easier you make it for the agent, the more likely they are to want to view your property.
If your property is currently tenanted it’s important to ensure that you have a strong relationship with the tenants either directly or through the agent. The better the relationship, the more flexible the tenants are likely to be regarding viewings. Remember that you are legally obliged to give tenants 24 hours’ notice of a viewing.
If you are conducting the viewings yourself ensure that you let the prospective tenant know all the logistics regarding the area. They are likely to be most interested in local transport so knowing the local bus, train, and tram links are important. Giving the tenants a good overview of the area also helps them visualise living there, so make sure you talk them through the local shop, pubs, restaurants, cinemas, and give them a general sense of the community.
Negotiating on rent with a tenant, like any negotiation, can be difficult. It is important to remember that there is no magic formula for what your property will rent for, the market will dictate what tenants are prepared to pay. If you do receive an offer below asking price it is important to consider all aspects of the offer, not just the level of rent, such as whether they have a stable income.
If you receive an offer you are not happy with it is always good to counter-offer rather than say a flat ‘no’. The counter offer could be asking for more money, but it could also mean asking for a longer tenancy.
It is important to ensure that the level of rent offered is enough to cover everything that you need it to with a level of contingency. Always consider how the market is at that time, have you had a lot of viewings or are they hard to come by.
Listen to an agent’s advice, they can give you vital insight into the local market at that moment which can be invaluable. Do your research, what is your competition looking like? If you were a tenant searching for a property now what similar properties are available, and how are they priced, how do they compare (be honest).
Any offer should also be considered in the context of how close the property is to availability, for example when the current tenant will leave the property. Avoiding a void period becomes more important the closer to the property being available.
The most important thing when negotiating is not to take it personally – you don’t want to lose a great tenant because you get caught up on the principle of winning the negotiation.