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Advice for buy to let investors in London

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Tenant viewings

Buy2LetExpert takes management of tenant viewings very seriously. It is important to be very organised about the process, not only to minimise wasted time but also ensure quality potential tenants are dealt with in an organised professional manner. A few pointers might be:

  • Tenants can call at any time and tend to do so when near a computer so this may well include evenings and week-ends. Buy2LetExpert suggests allocating a completely new SIM and mobile phone specific to the advertisement. Doing so ensures we know that any call on that phone is letting related and we are ready to answer with pen in hand.
  • There is no point wasting time with viewings that will be rejected when it is possible to ask a couple of quick questions at the time of the initial phone contact. One can learn a lot just briefly speaking to people. Be friendly and relaxed but clear and professional. Ask if the applicants are working (they will then often volunteer the type of work) and how many are to share etc. Politely reject applicants that do not fit the criteria and save time on wasted viewings. If a viewing is arranged emphasise that the tenant should call you if they wish to cancel. Also, always ask for a contact telephone number as it may be different from the incoming displayed one.
  • WRITE DOWN all details of the potential tenant(s) who is to view on one page of a note book. This should include names, phone number, general notes etc. Use a new page for each applicant.
  • Confirm the viewing by text or phone 1 to 2 hours prior.
  • Arrive at the viewing early because the tenant may be early and the property must be prepared. In the winter put the heating on. Open blinds and curtains in the day time and put lights on if evening in all rooms. Tidy as necessary in the case of an occupied property.
  • When the door bell rings, greet the potential clients with their names. Let them look around freely and allow them to ask questions. Do not preach the obvious such as: 'here is the bath'. However, key positives that could be missed should be mentioned. So, if the water pressure is good on the shower, demonstrate this. Point out if there is under floor heating or other hidden benefits but do not oversell! Allow tenants to walk around on their own. Be relaxed.
  • If the tenant is interested Buy2LetExpert provides a copy of their terms and conditions plus the maintenance charter. Maintenance is a huge gripe of many tenants and this is a substantial selling point. A copy of our application form is also provided. The provision of such a pack, and the realisation that full referencing will be executed, results in problem tenants not returning. Hence problem tenants disappear at source and go elsewhere and do not even bother applying.
  • In the mainstream London market we would expect a good volume of enquiries. After a few days we will have had many viewings and many pages of notes will be in the note book. When a potential tenants asks how much interest there has been then just thumb through the viewing book and explain. Do the same if a tenant tries to negotiate on the price.
  • Never take a deposit on the spot. Always demand the tenants 'go and take a coffee' to make sure. This also gives the landlord time to think a bit and weigh up the positives and negatives. Always, always take time... do not be rushed! Finding the right tenant is vital and But2LetExpert has many years of experience.
  • If satisfied with the potential tenant take a 'holding deposit' to secure the property. Buy2LetExpert would at this point complete two copies of a form which sets out the agreed 'handover date', rental price, contract longevity and amount of holding deposit taken. Both documents would be signed by both landlord and potential tenant so that each party had a copy for their records. The terms and conditions forms may also be provided for a second time at this point. This includes the confirmation that the holding deposit is non refundable if reference checks cause problem. Sometimes at this point a tenant will volunteer a problem or two. These are usually small but if not, we would always say that we must consult another Director in our office before proceeding. This gives time to still reject.
  • Once the 'holding deposit' is taken, remove all advertising. Continue to take calls but explain that the property is let. It may be prudent to keep the number of the applicant just in case but it is very rare for a tenant to change their minds after the holding deposit is paid. In almost 20 years of business, Buy2LetExpert.com has only experienced this once.
  • Start the full referencing.


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Tenant viewings


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