Viewings are an important step in securing a new tenant and it can make or break your occupancy. While they may seem simple, there is a certain art to conducting successful viewings. But the good news is that by doing your research and following our tips, you can ensure a positive outcome time and time again. Here is everything you need to know about conducting house viewings (COVID tips included).
Who Should Conduct Your Viewings?
The first step is to decide whether you would like to do your own viewings or allow a letting agent or property manager to do so on your behalf. There are pros and cons to both scenarios that we’ll take a look at here. However, there is no right or wrong answer, and whatever you decide will be down to your personal preference.
Pros And Cons Of Outsourcing Your Viewings
Property professionals carry out viewings on a day-to-day basis and usually know exactly what to do and say. Particularly when you are first starting out as a landlord, this can be beneficial in achieving a higher success rate and more consistent occupancy.
It also means that you needn’t take time out of your schedule to show people around, making it the more convenient option. Remember that many prospective tenants will only be able to look at the property during evenings or weekends. You will need to make yourself available in order to reach the biggest tenant pool.
However, allowing someone else to conduct the viewings means that you don’t get to personally meet your tenants prior to them moving in. This can be helpful in gauging whether they are a suitable fit and make for a better professional relationship. Naturally, there is also a cost involved with a property management service, however it can be written off as an expense against your rental income.
Conducting Your Own Viewings
If you would like to cut costs, get to know your tenants, and have the time to commit to viewings, you may prefer to do them yourself. Even if you aren’t confident in your abilities at first, the more you carry out viewings, the more comfortable you’ll be. Have a read through our handy tips, and you’ll be feeling like a pro in no time.
Take Time To Prepare
First impressions are everything, particularly when it comes to property. Make sure everything is clean and tidy before each and every viewing to make sure it is looking its best. Spending even just 20 minutes before a viewing to give the rooms a quick once over can make a big difference.
If there is anything left out from maintenance or repair work such as cans of paint or tools, tuck them away out of sight in a cupboard (or even store them in your car until the viewing is over). Ideally, you want it to look as ready to move in as possible. This makes it easier for prospective tenants to imagine the property with their furniture and belongings inside. This can go a long way in helping you quickly secure a new tenant.
Ideally, you also want to carry out any obvious repairs prior to the first viewing. This will help give a sense of a well-maintained property. Smaller repairs that don’t have much of a visual impact can be carried out before your tenants move in.
Air It Out
A couple of hours before your viewings begin, it’s a good idea to open all the windows and let some air in. How the property smells can be just as important as how it looks, and this will ensure it smells natural and fresh.
It can be tempting to leave air fresheners at the property while it is empty, but this is a risky choice. Scent is very personal and whichever one you choose may be off-putting for some tenants. It could even insinuate that there is another smell in the property that you are trying to hide.
Along with taking the time to clean the property, this is particularly important when conducting house viewings during the COVID pandemic.
Don’t Overcrowd The Tenants
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when showing a property is not allowing the tenants enough space to look around. If you stick to their sides throughout the whole viewing, it will be harder for them to get a good picture of the property. They will also likely feel some pressure to keep your conversation going, which will distract them from the viewing.
A good suggestion is to show the tenants around yourself first and then give them time to walk through again at their own pace. That way, there is plenty of opportunity for you to sell the home’s key features, but also a chance for the tenants to have a look around with no pressure.
Point Out Key Features
Doing your own viewings can be a great way of getting to know prospective tenants, but it can be easy to get sidetracked. Finding out more about them is brilliant, but don’t forget that you are there to ‘sell’ your property! Think about what it is that makes your property appealing and note down these key features to mention during your viewings.
For instance, perhaps there is off-street parking, brand new double glazed windows or storage for a bicycle. These are all things that could benefit your tenants in some way. Think as well about what might appeal to different groups of people.
If you are letting student accommodation, you might like to emphasise the excellent transport links, while for families you could point out the proximity to good schools. Small details that might not seem that significant can have a big impact on the tenants’ decision making process.
When you make viewing appointments, don’t schedule them too close together. It’s a good sign if a prospective tenant asks a lot of questions, and you want to leave enough time to answer them without feeling rushed. Otherwise, you may accidentally give the impression that you don’t want them to live there or that you have somewhere more important to be.
Allowing plenty of time for prospective tenants to look around will also ensure that they see everything they need and will get a good overview of the property. Moving to a new home is a big decision, and one that normally takes a fair bit of mulling over.
By making sure the tenants get a good amount of time in the property, you will help avoid having to answer additional questions later on (or in the worst case, simply moving on to a different property). Depending on the size of the property, you want to set aside at least 30 minutes for an initial viewing.
Be Honest But Positive
No home is perfect, and you should never feel compelled to hide or gloss over any flaws in your property. It may seem that doing so will help you secure tenants, but this can easily come back to bite you once they are living in the home. Take some time before you start conducting viewings to assess any potential perceived problems in the home.
For example, say there is a train line behind the property and you think tenants may be concerned about the noise. If someone brings it up during the viewing, don’t say that you can’t hear the trains at all if that’s not true. Instead, you can point out things you have done to help lessen its impact. For instance, you might have installed high-quality windows and added thick curtains that help to absorb the sound.
This way, you are being open and honest about the realities of living in the property, but also showing your willingness to take steps to improve it. It’s also important not to make promises that you aren’t certain you can keep. Telling tenants that something will be fixed or added into the home before they move in sets an expectation. If they move in and the work is not done, this starts the tenancy off on the wrong foot.
How To Stay Safe When Conducting Viewings
With so much to think about, it can be easy to forget the safety aspect of conducting viewings. While it is an essential step of the lettings process, you are essentially inviting strangers into your property. Ideally, you should always have someone else with you. However, if that isn’t possible, make sure to let someone know where you are, what you are doing and what time you will be there.
House Viewings During The COVID Pandemic
Safety is always important, but with house viewings during COVID it’s never been higher priority. People are particularly conscious about entering other people’s homes, and so you should do everything you can to keep them at ease.
To help keep yourself and prospective tenants safe and well when doing house viewings during COVID, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Have all interior doors in the property open to avoid multiple people having to touch them
- Wear a mask throughout the viewing and insist the prospective tenants do too
- Wipe down surfaces with a disinfectant in between viewings
- If your current tenant is still living in the property, ask if they can wait outside during viewings
- Arrange individual viewings rather than group viewings
- Do not shake hands with tenants who come to view the property
Whether you conduct your own viewings or have someone do them for you, preparation and professionalism are important in attracting the best possible tenants. Though there is a lot to think about, properly conducted viewings will make the whole lettings process easier and cut down on time that your property sits empty. If you are thinking about outsourcing your viewings, then Oasis Living would be happy to help. Give us a call or head over to our contact page and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.