Buy to Let property perspectives: The viewing

Posted 17/08/2016 by: Reeds Rains

The landlord’s view

Landlords tend to see the viewing as a lot of pressure to sell the property (and themselves if they’re self-managing), so that the tenant will make an offer and rent will start coming in. What isn’t often appreciated is that this is a two-way meeting and, as well as impressing the tenant, it is worth thinking about whether they’re suitable. So ask them lots of questions and trust your gut instinct. Or you can leave it to us to do for you!

Some landlords also think of the viewing purely as the stage where the tenant looks round the property to decide whether they want it. But this is the perfect opportunity, while you’re face to face, to give them extra information and hand over some paperwork, like the government’s ‘How to rent’ guide and/or the property’s EPC. You want them to go away with the impression that you’re professional, informed and will do all you can to make their renting experience a happy one.

The tenant’s view

For tenants, the viewing is the exciting part. They’ve seen the advert, so they know the rough accommodation details and the rent, and they’ve probably had a look at the area if they don’t know it already. They’re coming to see if the property meets their expectations and feels like home, and they’ll probably be armed with questions too. So give them a warm and friendly welcome and have some information to hand about utilities, refuse collection, local community activities, etc. According to our Tenant Survey 2016, 64% of respondents said they were keen to participate in communal activities, so this is something they’re likely to ask about during the viewing. 

Two-thirds of those surveyed also said that garden space is important to them, so will be looking for somewhere they can at least put a table and a couple of chairs, even if it’s a shared space. Older tenants tend to want a flexible arrangement with their landlord, as they’re often renting for the longer term, so they’re likely to ask questions about things like redecoration and pets. And, young or old, a high-speed broadband connection is high on the list, so they’ll be looking for reassurance about that.

Above all, they’re looking to make sure the property is in good condition - that was cited as the most important factor for the majority of tenants surveyed. So do make sure your property is well presented to maximise your rent. 

The agent’s view

For us, the viewing is our front-line sales opportunity – the final step of marketing your property to the prospective tenant. It’s also an opportunity for us to get a first impression of the tenant and to ask them some general lifestyle questions. Assuming we feel that the person could be a suitable tenant, we’ll aim to cover all the benefits and information about the property and answer as many questions as we can there and then, so that by the end of the viewing, the tenant is sold on it.

What makes our job harder though is if the property hasn’t been updated and improved as we’ve recommended. If it’s been let for a number of years, not only will fittings and furnishings start to look a bit shabby, but services might also need upgrading, such as replacing standard broadband with fibreoptic if possible. In order for us to do the best job we can and secure the best tenant for the best rent, we need landlords to give us what those tenants are looking for. So if we’re recommending that you spend some money, there’s a good reason: because we believe it’s in the best interest of your investment.

Landlords who take our tenant find or full management service don’t need to worry about any of this, as we’ll take care of it all. If you have any questions or we don’t currently manage your property, come and speak to us at any time. Find your local branch here.

Did you enjoy this content? Sign up to our monthly landlord newsletter here.