Getting tenants into a property is always nerve-wracking, especially if it’s your first buy-to-let property, which is why I thought it was time for a post on how to find good tenants.
You’ll probably feel much more attached to your little investment than a real estate magnate with properties all over the world would, so you want to be sure – or at least as sure as it’s possible to be – that tenants are going to look after it.
I’ll leave the specifics of where to find tenants for another day, as there are some tips here that you might want to think about before applying them to a tenant search.
Have A Target Audience In Mind
What constitutes a “good tenant” for one landlord may not be true for another. Depending on whether you’re looking for a couple, young professionals or a family, you should tailor your ads and your approach.
Home office space and proximity to transport links will draw in office workers, whereas a family would probably be more interested in that space if you referred to it as a play room.
If you’re happy to have pets living in the property, say so. If not, make it very clear that they’re forbidden. These may seem like little things but your property ad is the first thing potential tenants will see, so it makes sense to use it as an initial screening process.
Think About The Language You’re Using
A good tip for life, not just letting property! Consider what image your mind conjures up when you see words like the following:
Now, contrast that with these:
- Well-looked after
- Beautifully appointed
Using words that emphasise the low price of a property might be helpful in generating leads, but it may attract people who won’t take care of the property because they’re just looking for the cheapest place they can find.
A thorough, descriptive ad is more likely to draw people who have a clear picture of what they’re looking for and are probably searching for a long-term arrangement.
Consider Taking Viewings Yourself
I’ve already written about how to find a trustworthy estate agent, so you may have no concern about letting them hold viewings on your behalf. If you do, taking viewings yourself gives you the chance to meet potential tenants face to face.
This might be useful down the line too, as it could mean that tenants will be more inclined to look after the property if you make a positive first impression; putting a face to the name reinforces the fact that their landlord is a human being, not some anonymous overlord.
And Now Some Obvious Stuff
Personal recommendations from friends or family members are always good, but if you’re going the external route you should try to find out as much about potential tenants as possible.
That might include references from previous landlords, checking credit rating(s) and employment histories. It can seem a bit awkward digging all of this stuff up, especially if you like the person(s) involved, but it’s always worth a quick peek in the closet to make sure there are no skeletons hiding in there.