Finding the perfect tenants has long been the holy grail for many buy to let landlords and letting agents in Nottingham. Horror stories of tenants damaging houses and leaving with huge rent arrears are rife. Many TV programmes now regularly show this rather sinister side of the lettings sector.
Thankfully, circumstances like these are in fact quite rare. However, there are still a number of steps you can take to try and ensure that your next tenants pay their rent on time. And in the process, look after your property and stay on for as long as possible.
The first 3 steps letting agents in Nottingham recommend
Buy properties in the right areas
The first step happens before you’ve even carried out a property viewing and it goes without saying that some parts of town provide much nicer places to live than others. Investing in the right area from the start can be the key to ensuring that you get good quality tenants. So if you aren’t familiar with a location before you buy, take some time to have a good look around.
Provide quality accommodation
You wouldn’t expect the cleanest and smartest tenants to live in squalor. In our experience a poor quality property will often attract a similar quality tenant. You should ensure that you are presenting the property in the best possible light during viewings and at the start of a tenancy. This doesn’t mean having to spend thousands on gold plated taps and fittings. Instead a lick of paint and a good clean can go a huge way towards setting a precedent for when your tenants move in. As letting agents in Nottingham we always see the best properties let the quickest.
Vet tenant enquiries before the viewing
If you have advertised the property in the right places (such as Rightmove) you should start to generate enquiries very quickly. As letting agents in Nottingham we typically take enquiries within hours of a property going live. Make a point of vetting each tenant applicant before you arrange to meet for a viewing. This will ensure you don’t waste time visiting the property. Some important questions you might want to asking are as follows:
– Are you working? A student? Or reliant on housing benefit?
– What do you do for a living?
– Do you have pets?
– Do you smoke?
– Where are you living currently?
– Who else would be living in the property with you?
– When would be your ideal move date?
Last but not least, try to establish the reason why the tenant applicant is leaving their current property. If it’s because they are stuck in a dispute with their current landlord then this could be a warning sign.
And the 4 final steps
Trust your gut during the property viewings
Once you have agreed to a viewing of the property you are now at stage two of the vetting period. This will involve meeting the prospective tenant face to face. It’s important at this stage to look out for specific triggers as to what might cause problems further down the line.
Are they well presented? If not, this could be a reflection of how they might also look after the property.
Are they asking the right questions and showing a real interest? Too many questions might mean a fussy tenant, too little might show a lack of care.
Are the children well behaved? If the tenant applicants have children who are trying to run riot in front of you then what can you expect when they’ve moved in and you’re not there?
Most importantly of all, trust your gut instinct. If something doesn’t feel right then in most cases it probably isn’t. The last thing you want to do is go ahead with a tenant who could eventually turn out to be a problem. Try to avoid rushing to simply get the property let quickly.
The application stage is your chance to delve into the nitty gritty of a tenant’s history. We recommend asking all applicants to complete a form which will allow you to get a snapshot of their background. As a minimum, you should try to obtain the following information:
– Credit check: Look out for signs of any CCJs or bankruptcy.
– Credit score: Although this can be misleading – an applicant who has not borrowed in the past may now have a particularly strong score.
– Landlord reference: Get this direct from the landlord. Don’t let the tenant applicants give you one that they have obtained themselves. Chances are it could be a fake!
– Employer reference: Verify this with the employer or ask for it on official company headed paper.
– Proof of identity: A photographic passport or driving license.
– Proof of financial standing: We ask for 3 months bank statements and these can provide a good idea as to how an applicant manages their finances. You can also check for rental payments to a previous landlord or agency.
Once you have obtained all of this information you should have a good feel for whether or not you want to proceed with a tenancy. Don’t be scared to ask for more information if something doesn’t feel right. Remember that you’re handing over the keys to a valuable asset and so you should ensure that you are fully satisfied before proceeding
6. Give and take a little
It’s not unusual for tenant applicants to make requests during the viewing or application process. It may be that they’ve spotted something they would like changing within the property. They may wish to visit a second time and take measurements for their furniture. It’s important to start out on the right foot and allow for some give and take. We’d much rather spend a little more time on a property if we know that we will achieve long term tenants as a result. This can end up saving money in re-letting costs further down the line. It will also demonstrate that you are a landlord who willing to help with their needs.
7. Register the deposit quickly
Once your tenants have moved in don’t forget to register their deposit within the allotted time-period (currently 30 days from receipt). This will again demonstrate that you are a legitimate landlord and will do things properly as the tenancy progresses. If you are using letting agents in Nottingham ask them to provide copies of all deposit paperwork.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to negotiate the price if you feel you can secure perfect tenants. This is something letting agents in Nottingham regularly do on behalf of clients. It can be a much better to forego £25.00pcm and consider the longer term benefits. Property letting is a marathon and not a sprint. You will benefit by playing the long game and holding onto good tenants.
We hope that you have found our 7 tips useful.
For advice on any of the issues above or anything else relating to letting your property, please don’t hesitate to call us on 0115 981 9651.