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First impressions last... so make yours count!

There are no second chances when it comes to first impressions, say the experts at Belvoir Lettin...

There are no second chances when it comes
to first impressions, say the experts at Belvoir Lettings

When letting a property, first impressions are vital in order to ensure a speedy let and avoid periods of ‘void’.

“That old cliché really is true in the rental market: first impressions count,” says proprietor of Belvoir Kettering Harpreet Garcha. “Many landlords plough all of their resources into the interior of their properties, completely forgetting the importance of first impressions.”

“You don't get a second chance to set a first impression,” agrees Terry Lucking, proprietor of Belvoir Peterborough, Cambridge and Corby. “And this is becoming increasingly important in a competitive market.”

Property perception

So, how can you ensure your property makes a good first impression?

“To the potential tenant the property must look clean and homely, if it is then the viewer would be able to imagine their furniture in the house,” says proprietor of Belvoir Oldham Lee Shuell. “It goes without saying that it should be immaculate, bins should be empty, and the decor tidy.”

And, as lasting impressions are formed before the tenant even steps into the property, think carefully about how you can improve the exterior too.

“While it is obviously true that the bulk of your time should be spent fixing up the inside, you should always consider the importance of your property’s exterior,” advises Harpreet Garcha. “You can improve this incredibly easily; for example, if the property has a gate, make sure it is well oiled and properly on its hinges. If it has a front garden, make sure that it is neat and presentable.

“In some instances it may be difficult to work on the frontage of your property. If it is in a block of flats, for example, you may well be unable to alter the exterior at all. In these cases, though, your tenants are less likely to care; people will instinctively place more importance in the outside appearance of a property if it is exclusively theirs, than if it is shared with a dozen other people.

“Even so, first impressions still count, and the front door and hallway should be the main points of focus for flats.”

Proprietor of Belvoir Southend-on-Sea Wayne Mearns agrees. “If the hall and entrance look inviting the potential tenant will straight away get a positive impression,” he says. “It’s vitally important that hallways look un-cluttered and homely.”

If you’re unsure how your property will benefit from a first impressions face-lift talk to your local Belvoir office – they will be able to advise you.

“If in doubt take advice from an experienced agent who knows the market,” says Terry Lucking.

Your role

And remember, it’s not just your property that is being judged... you are too! No tenant will want to rent a property from someone that they feel isn’t going to look after the best interests of the property or their tenants. The first impression you make in your role as a landlord is crucial...

“Arrive early for the appointment and try to get the doors open before the viewer arrives,” says Lee Shuell. “During the viewing keep talking to the viewer and make the conversation about them. For example, ask them where they live at the moment, if they’re local and if they currently rent.”

It’s also important to reassure potential tenants that you will be a good landlord throughout the tenancy, while respecting their privacy.

“Make a good impression as a landlord by reassuring the tenants of their privacy and explain what happens if there is a problem with things such as heating,” says Wayne Mearns. “Ensure that the tenant is aware that their deposit will be protected and explain to the tenant what you have done to the property recently to improve it. Highlight any previous long-term tenancies too as this also gives a good picture.”

“And most of all demonstrate you care,” adds Terry Lucking. “Have the property cleaned regardless of whether you've resolved issues with the outgoing tenants. If you’re local, greet them at the start of the tenancy and show them how to operate the heating etc. And throughout the tenancy make sure you respond to maintenance reports quickly.”

A lasting impression

Maximise the power of a good first impression by reinforcing these perceptions throughout the tenancy...

“Once the application has come in manage the expectations of the tenant in relation to moving in and the application process,” says Lee Shuell. “Expectation management throughout a tenancy is very important.”

And, even if you are letting your property through an agent you can still demonstrate your good qualities as a landlord.

“Get involved and support your agent,” advises Terry Lucking. “Meet the agent when they’re doing the inventory, ensure improvements and cleaning are done, plus join the tenant and agent at the final inspection.”

Belvoir Lettings now have more than 140 offices nationwide. To find your nearest Belvoir office, visit their website at www.belvoir.co.uk

First impressions of... your property

Maximise the potential of your property with a great first impression:

v Paint the front door
v Tidy the front garden
v Clean the windows
v Empty bins
v Oil the front gate
v Un-clutter hallways
v Re-fill hanging baskets
v Up-date door furniture
v Ask for advice from your local letting agent

First impressions of... you

And make sure you give a good lasting impression too:

v Demonstrate you care
v Meet tenants at the start of the tenancy
v Greet them warmly
v Sort maintenance issues swiftly
v Arrive early for viewings
v Be interested in your tenant’s opinions
v Explain how to use the heating, burglar alarm etc
v Reassure the tenant you will be a good landlord
v Respect your tenant’s privacy
v Manage expectations
v Highlight previous long tenancies
v Explain the deposit procedure

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