Thursday 2 July 2015

How long should it take to find your first tenants?

When you first buy a rental property, you need to factor in that you won’t get the keys and then move a tenant in the following day.

It is likely that you’ll need some time to undertake some maintenance or refurbishment to the property or add a few fixtures and fittings.

You will also need time to advertise the property, conduct viewings, reference the chosen tenants and complete all of the relevant paperwork and safety checks before finally moving them in.

Being pro-active can help to minimise this initial void period. I try to advertise the property as soon as I am allowed to by the vendor, have a confirmed ‘earliest move-in date’ and can take representative photographs that show the property off well.

Ideally you would conduct viewings at this stage too (between exchange and completion). If not, it still enables you to take prospective tenants names, numbers and details so that once you are in a position to conduct viewings you have a shortlist of interested parties ready to go on day one.

Letting agents or landlords with multiple properties may also have a head-start as you will often have tenants who ‘missed out’ on a previous property but may find your latest one of interest.

It is also important to advertise the property at the correct rental price. You may even consider offering the property below the ‘going rate’ so as to attract more interest, rent the property quicker and thus minimise your void (when the property is earning you nothing).

Ideally the initial batch of viewings would lead to a suitable set of tenants who wish to rent the property. The next issue then becomes when they can move-in. It’s unusual for someone to be able to move-in immediately as they generally need to give their current landlord their notice period.

Property type can play a part here - smaller properties may be filled quicker as the tenants are naturally of a more transient nature, whereas larger family homes often come with tenants that have more commitments (and stuff to pack!) before they can move. suggests the average time a rental property in Chichester remains on the market is 63 days. I suspect this is partly down to the agents not updating their adverts as in my experience it shouldn’t take as long as this.

In fact, under normal circumstances, if a property is advertised and a tenant is not found within a few weeks (not necessarily moved in but scheduled in to do so) then I would say something is wrong - normally the price, property or marketing.

One key proviso for a landlord is that the objective should always be to get the best tenants possible, not necessarily the first ones that come along.

If you are buying your first rental property and would like someone to help you with the whole rental process, please get in touch.

(This article was featured in the Chichester Observer's property section on 2nd July 2015)
Clive Janes, CRJ Lettings.


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