Part One: How To Do Better Advertising
It’s always best to aim to get not just any tenant but the best tenant you can. The best tenants tend to look after your property better, stay longer, pay their rent on time and make your property much easier to manage.
You can aim to get the best tenants by using a strategy that positively targets those tenants. In this post we will look at the first step of this strategy – creating advertising that attracts the best applicants in the first place.
Key principles of good property advertising
First impressions count. The best tenants are likely to have a wider choice of property. To attract them your advertising needs to stand out above that for similar properties.
Good quality advertising gets a higher response. While that does generate more work in handling and processing prospective tenants it gives you more choice from which to select the best one.
Visualise the type of tenant you want for your property. Then create an ad. that will appeal directly to that type of person.
Choosing the best places to advertise
Aim to advertise your property in the places that the type of tenants you want are most likely to look. Check to make sure that there are already listings for similar types of property there. For example, if you’re letting a family home list it where there are already listings for family homes. The same applies for a shared property or a student property.
Depending on the type of property and tenant you might opt to advertise on a listing site with national coverage, such as OpenRent or Letting A Property. This means that your property can be found on Rightmove and Zoopla. Or you might consider sites that have a more local focus, such as Gumtree, Preloved, Facebook or a local newspaper.
Other advertising methods can be used to target particular types of tenants. For example, universities, hospitals and large employers may have accommodation services which you can list your property with.
What to include in your listing
Include as much information as possible in your listing. This will serve two purposes: It will help to attract the ideal type of tenant as well as filtering out those for whom your property is not suitable.
Here are the things your listing should include:
Location. Be as detailed as possible. Including town/city, district and perhaps even the street and postcode.
The asking rent. This can be a monthly and/or weekly figure. Also state the deposit required.
Type of property. Whether flat/house/detached or terraced etc. Whether an entire property or just a room. Whether a student property or a serviced property etc.
The number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Also the maximum number of people the property can accommodate.
Whether fully furnished, partly furnished or unfurnished. If partly furnished, give brief details eg. ‘white goods included’.
Features the property offers. For example: Off road parking. On road parking. Garden. Balcony. Fibre broadband. Central heating. If newly renovated/decorated. Light and airy. If pets are accepted.
Practical details. For example: Available date. Length of tenancy available. References required. EPC rating.
Any details that will help your property stand out above other properties, make it more appealing and target the type of tenant you want. For example: 5 minutes from station. 20 minutes by bus to city centre. Local shops 100m. Catchment area for XYZ School. Quiet street. Great views.
Adding visual impact
Today the visual impact of a property listing is as or more important than the written description. A high proportion of tenants will decide whether to read a listing based on the photos they see initially.
Add as many photos as possible, up to the limit allowed by whatever listing site you use. Have one or more photos of all the main rooms plus any appealing features such as the garden, parking space and open views.
Consider adding a virtual tour. Virtual tours are still fairly new in rental property listings but they can help your listing stand out. They can help attract prospective tenants from further away and who are less able to travel to view. They can also help minimise viewing requests from those for whom the property is not suitable.
Floor plans are fairly rare in rental listings but they can help describe a property more quickly and easily than a written description of the layout. Floor plans also help put photos and virtual tours in context.
In comparison to properties for sale, rental properties often look better when they are empty and without the previous tenant’s personal possession. You could also consider dressing your property to show it off in its best light.
Remember that you don’t have to take new photos or create new virtual tours each time you put your property up for let. You can use the same photos over again, assuming there have been no significant material changes.
More ways to improve your advertising
Aim to end your listings with a call to action: State how you would prefer to be contacted, eg. by phone or online, and when are the best times for prospective tenants to get in touch.
You could also include a deadline date for enquiries. A deadline date will encourage serious prospective tenants to respond ASAP, place a limit on the amount of enquiries you have to process and speed up the letting process.
Finally, check your ad. Are the details all correct? Is anything unclear or misleading? If you were the ideal tenant for this type of property would this listing appeal to you?