Head of Regional Residential AgencyLondon City
Home of original thinking
In a competitive rental market, knowing how to attract tenants and let a property quickly can make all the difference, writes Kate Eales. So here are some top tips to help you ensure your property doesn’t stay vacant for long.
Improve your kerb appeal
Before it goes on the market, your property needs to look its best. Would-be tenants make immediate judgements about potential homes – so first impressions count.
To provide added kerb appeal, clean or repaint the door and window frames. Sweep the garden path and hose it down. And go onto the street to make sure it’s clear of unsightly litter, dustbins or discarded furniture.
Get the interior looking right
Keep standards equally high on the inside before you start viewings. Paint over any scuff marks made on the walls when your previous tenants moved out. Ensure lights are working, bathrooms are scrubbed and kitchen cupboards and fridge are empty.
As soon as your old tenants move out, book your handyman to handle repairs such as fixing leaky taps, putting loose doors back on hinges or hammering down squeaky floorboards.
Your property should be photographed fully furnished so it looks its best, so check that your furniture is all in good condition. And hiring a professional carpet cleaner will make the place feel like new.
Know your market
Marketing your property correctly is vital. You need to target the right type of tenant: for example, a one-bed flat would suit a student – or, if you’re not near a university, businesspeople commuting into the city. Set an appropriate rent by checking what is being charged for similar properties locally.
Timing the end of contracts to coincide with high periods of demand can help reduce your turnaround times. The busiest time for the lettings market tends to be between June and September.
Finally, tailor your tenancy to your specific market. If you let a family home near a park, consider removing any ‘no pets’ policies, as many families will own dogs or cats.
Trust your agent
Your lettings agent is there to take the hassle out of letting your property, so take advantage of their expertise. If you’re advertising online, they can help you put together great photos, a floorplan and a description.
Your agent will also carry out viewings so you don’t have to, and will be able to get more potential tenants through the door quickly. Consider holding open days if you’re really keen to move fast.
Get the paperwork ready
It helps to collate all your documents at the outset. Ensure you have photo ID and proof of address so your agent can verify that you own the property. Confirm that the property complies with the relevant safety regulations and that you have valid gas safety and energy performance certificates.
To make it easy for new occupants when they move in, compile a tenant welcome pack complete with information such as manuals for appliances, refuse collection days and emergency contact details.
Be on your toes
To reduce the time your property remains vacant, make sure you are in a position to proceed as soon as you find new tenants.
Agree a moving date as early as you can – this will help you to organise yourself and makes things move faster. And be flexible: if your tenants decide that they want the property unfurnished, have a removal firm ready to clear out your furniture and put it into storage.
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This spectacular end-of-terrace house overlooks Belgrave Square and has been refurbished to an exceptional standard. Arranged over six floors and benefiting from a lift, it boasts five bedrooms, two terraces and plenty of reception space – plus staff accommodation in the lower ground floor. It’s available to rent for £7,250 a week.
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This impressive apartment in Notting Hill features a spacious open-plan kitchen and reception room, two double bedroom suites and a utility room. Tenants also have access to a 24-hour concierge service, gym, communal gardens and off-street parking – all for £900 a week.
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Available for £1,400 a week, this is a beautifully refurbished three-bedroom flat in the sought-after address of Drayton Gardens, close to Fulham Road and Old Brompton Road. It boasts a large open-plan living, dining and kitchen area, while tenants also benefit from private lift access and secure underground parking.
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This stylishly refurbished four-bedroom mews house in the heart of South Kensington is offered for £1,695 a week. Complementing a wooden-floored reception room are a modern kitchen, a media room and a garage. The first floor also features air conditioning and built-in speakers throughout.
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This magnificent house on the borders on Fulham and Chelsea has undergone an award-winning interior renovation. Available to rent for £2,950 a week, it features a beautiful drawing room with parquet flooring, a bespoke kitchen with reception/dining area, and four impressive bedroom suites. There’s also a cinema room, a studio with kitchenette, parking and a southwest-facing garden.
New analysis by Strutt & Parker reveals that the fastest-moving type of property in the UK is a semi-detached house, writes Edward Church