By Jo Eccles
Q. My rental property has been on the market for two months and we still don’t have an offer. What do you suggest?
A. When renting out your property there are a number of points to consider – and possibly revise – if offers aren’t coming in. Firstly, look at the property and ask yourself how well it shows in the flesh. I was with a landlord yesterday who was in a similar position and, when I visited the flat, the curtains were dated and hanging off at one end, with no bedside tables next to the beds. This gave it quite an unfinished look and meant that good quality tenants were choosing other properties over his. In this case, we decided that it would be best for him to actually invest a little extra money in making these changes in order to boost the property’s attractiveness. Small improvements can dramatically increase a property’s appeal and give prospective tenants the impression that they will have a caring landlord.
If you’re sure that the property presents well, the next factor to consider is which letting agent you have appointed. Do they have a good market share for letting your type of property and with the type of tenants you’re looking to attract? Are they and their team responsive? Also look at their website; is it professional? Is the property listed correctly and do the photos do it justice? For our landlord clients, we always advise them on the most appropriate letting agents to instruct and we make sure that the online details are as good as they can be. Usually this involves us insisting on better photos, or correcting inaccurate descriptions of the property, which can put off tenants.
Additionally, consider how many letting agents you have instructed. We usually recommend appointing two agents alongside each other. Unlike in the sales market, you shouldn’t pay higher fees to have more than one letting agent on board as the winner takes all, but any more than two agents can, in my opinion, look desperate.
Next, consider the price and also don’t forget that, at the moment, the London rental market is quite sensitive. Over the past 18 – 24 months, we’ve seen a lot of tenants shying away from negotiating so, where a property is above their price range, rather than put forward a lower offer, a lot of tenants are simply ruling it out and not even viewing. If you’re sure that your property presents well and it’s being marketed by the right agent(s), then the problem may simply be price. We advise clients to be quite proactive on price changes as it’s often much better to reduce the price slightly and get the property rented out to a good tenant, rather than let it languish on the market at a too high price and let it get stale.
If you have a question you’d like Jo to answer please email email@example.com or tweet her @joeccles.