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Property Hawk

TEN BASIC STEPS TO LETTING

The process of letting combines a mixture of skills.  It can be a real test of a landlord’s abilities. 

On the one hand it brings into play your marketing and selling skills.  Can you correctly target the property to the right audience and if you are carrying out the viewing yourself are you then able to turn on the charm and sell it to your prospective tenants. 

On the other hand it requires you to be familiar with the frequently complex details of the law of letting.  A basic understanding of this is vital if you are to ensure that you avoid the potential legal pitfalls that are out there for the ill informed.

Firstly though it is useful to understand the basic steps involved in letting a property:

1. The Marketing Plan
2. Implementing the Marketing Plan
3. Responding to enquiries
4. The Viewings
5. Selecting a tenant
6. Vetting the tenant
7. Organising the move in / move out
8. The ‘check in’
9. Property ‘handover’
10. The paperwork (getting organised)


1. The Marketing Plan

This is basically an outline of how you are going to advertise your property.  Having considered which type of tenants you are after and how best to attract them you should have a basic strategy in place.

2. Implementing the Marketing Plan

Time to action your plan by writing adverts and property descriptions.  Then, place these ads by either phoning the relevant newspaper or e-mail the listing sites with your property details. 

It might be that you have decided to post an ad in the local post office and therefore you need to prepare one for display here or possibly the work notice board.  Remember a few e-mails to friends and work colleagues might yield results.

3. Responding to Enquiries

This is hopefully where you get inundated by a barrage of enquiries.  Once the ads go in, it’s a case of checking your e-mails and messages regularly and then getting back to the enquirers ASAP. 

Remember renting property is a competitive business and prospective tenants can often enquire about tens of properties per day.  Therefore, if you are first to respond then you have every chance of setting up an early viewing and bagging a good tenant before the opposition.

Remember to have a system in place that records the details of the tenant i.e. phone nos., name any specific details about when they are looking to move and other factors – do they smoke, have pets.  All this will be useful in remembering who they are and making a judgement on whether to choice them later on.  You could use the trusty pen & paper or if you are office based the Property Hawk's Property Manager allows you to record brief notes.

4. The Viewings

Try where possible to group your viewings together.  This way you are not traipsing backwards and forwards across town which is very time inefficient.  Even better still if there are still tenants in place then try and use some of the good will that you have built up with them to get them to do the initial viewings. 

This way you can sort out the ‘wheat from the chaff’ thereby leaving you with the prospective tenants that are interested.  Then you can arrange to meet these prior to selecting a tenant.

5. Selecting a tenant

This is the skilful bit.  It is the time when you have to employ all your knowledge of amateur psychology to pick out the one that you think will make the best tenant.  This can sometimes be quite hard.  You may have several tenants that equally fit the bill and you have a strong affinity with.  Try and stay fairly dispassionate throughout the process because remember it is after all a business transaction, not an act of benevolence that you are engaging in.  I go into detail in my book the Landlords Bible to be published in 2008 through Ovolo Publishing  into how to spot a perfect tenant.

6. Vetting the tenant
This is when you hopefully filter out the ‘scammers’.  The tenants if we can call them that who have made a career out of ‘ripping’ off landlords.  It’s an important stage in the letting process.  Whilst there are no guarantees that you can expose them, a thorough methodical approach involving credit checks and references should ensure that even the most ‘professional tenants’ don’t get through the net.

Read more on Tenant Verification

7. Organising the move in / move out

Finally, you have a tenant that you are happy with.  You are hopefully at the start of a long a fruitful relationship.  Now you need to sort out the dates for them to move in and possibly co-ordinate this with the moving out of the existing tenant.  If you do have a tenant in place make sure they are happy to go at the appropriate time otherwise legally you may be into a situation where you need to serve the appropriate notices.

8. The ‘check in’

This is ‘D Day’ in the letting world.  It’s the day that you assess the state of your property and take one final look at the shining floors and immaculate paintwork before handing it over to one of the marauding tenant classes.  It is when you record its’ state in terms of BT - Before Tenants.  You should use an approved Inventory such as the one free to download from Property Hawk to ensure that you have an accurate record of your property should a dispute a rise at the end of the tenancy.

How to prepare an inventory


9. Property ‘handover’

Handover is the process where you legally hand the property over to the tenant and a tenancy comes into being.  There is no going back now.  The tenant has your keys and takes up occupation.  You will have got them to sign the relevant forms: the tenancy agreement, the inventory, the prescribe information / s.213 notice.  Then it’s back home to complete the final stage of the Letting Process. 


10. The paperwork (getting organised)

This is the final and often overlooked stage.  The excitement of meeting the tenant, signing forms and getting money is all over.  Now you are just left with the mundane paperwork.  It maybe tedious but it is also essential in that failure to file and complete your details now will mean that the tenancy will start off in a chaotic and disorganised way which will make it harder to manage and possible cause you problems later on; particularly if things go wrong.  You need to file away your forms, ensure your keys are in a safe and secure place, notify the relevant utilities and prepare to pay in your rental money.  You will also need to decide how you want to deal with the deposit money under the Governments Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).

Read more - The Tenancy Deposit Scheme

Special Discounted  Rates for Landlords Insurance



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