Here’s the thing. A vacant BTL is expensive. Nosebleed expensive!
Literally, every single day our BTL goes by unoccupied is costing us money. We still have bills to pay, which mostly consists of the general running costs of any property e.g. utility bills, council tax and mortgage payments etc. Those bills are relentless!
So while rent isn’t coming in, the outgoing costs are almost certainly going to continue flowing. Like I said, expensive!
In reality, due to pure practicality, it is virtually impossible to have a property occupied every day of the year, year after year. However, there are ways of minimising the void by finding tenants quickly when the time comes, whether it be your first ever tenant or a case of finding replacements for a tenant that is shortly due to vacant (in most cases, you should start the tenant-finding process before your current tenant vacates, never after, unless you plan on doing a major refurb/restoration job).
It’s important not to be complacent during these times, because there is a boat load of money to be made by reducing the gap between replacing old tenants with new. Or lost. Depends on how you look at it.
So, here are a few ways of finding tenants quickly. Fucking quickly. Granted, some of the tactics may seem utterly undesirably, but they are options worth contemplating.
1] Get your property on Rightmove and Zoopla
I’m not going to sugarcoat the reality. This is the most important step in my opinion. It could even be argued that you can ignore every point below this specific tactic as long as you stick to this one.
Rightmove and Zoopla are the biggest online property portals in the UK. So if you have a vacant property and you want as many prospective tenants looking at your property as humanly possible, then get your property on Rightmove and Zoopla.
If you don’t want to use a traditional
snake-oil high-street letting agent (who can blame you?), don’t threat. It can still be done extremely easily and cost effectively by using an Online letting agent like Upad or OpenRent.
If you do plan on using a high-street agent, you may want to have a gander over at the how to find a good letting agent article.
2] Accept DWS / DSS Tenants
Finding a landlord that accepts DWS / DSS Tenants is becoming increasingly difficult, so when a landlord declares that their DSS-friendly, their arm is notoriously chewed off.
In my opinion, accepting DWS / DSS tenants is by far one of the strongest means of finding tenants quickly, but it does come with it’s risks.
A few tips for those willing to take on DSS tenants:
- Thoroughly research what DWS / DSS tenants entail. A good place to start is the DWS / DSS Tenants section on my blog.
- There are thousands of DSS tenants scouring Gumtree on a daily basis looking for a property to rent. Add a listing to Gumtree for free and in the title of your advert mention you accept DSS tenants.
- Ensure it is clearly stated in all your adverts that you’re willing to accept DWS / DSS Tenants.
3] Use as many letting agencies as possible
If you’re planning on using a high-street letting agent, then don’t limit yourself to one agent. You don’t have to be loyal to a letting agent. Unlike when selling property, there are usually no penalties for using multiple letting agents. May the best slimeball win.
Word of warning, make sure there is a “no find, no fee” policy in place with the letting agents you decide to choose.
4] Allow tenants with pets
Much like DSS-friendly landlords, pet-friendly landlords are also becoming a rather rare and sought after breed (pun intended).
Allowing pets opens up a lot wider audience, so you’re significantly increasing your chances of finding tenants. According to a recent survey by the Dogs Trust, 78% of pet owners have experienced difficulty finding accommodation which accepts pets. And according to ‘Pet Friendly Rentals’, by not accepting pets, you will be decreasing your potential market by 50%!
If you’re willing to accept pets, clearly highlight you’re pet-friendly in your marketing campaigns! Here’s a more thorough guide on landlords and pets.
5] Offer a competitive rental rate
This may seem like a no-brainer but it’s surprising how many landlords get this wrong. If you want to find tenants quickly then you must market your property at a competitive rate. If your property is more expensive or even equally priced to your competition, tenants will shop around and that can be costly.
Some times you’ll make more money by being competitively priced (e.g. £30 cheaper than your competition) than asking for the top-end price, simply because it could mean your property won’t be vacant for as long.
I see so many landlords overprice their property in a very competitive market, so they end up having a vacant property for several weeks. Yes, they end up finding tenants, but if they had marketed their property at a reasonable rate in the first place, they would have got that extra months’ rent and made more money! So silly.
6] Market your property on Gumtree
I’ve successfully found tenants extremely quickly on several occasions via the website Gumtree. It’s free, it’s highly active and it works great. I’d definitely recommend Using Gumtree to find tenants. However, I must stress, I personally don’t think it is a substitute for Using Popular Websites Like Rightmove To Find Tenants.
7] Use images that sell
When I see landlords market their property with shitty images it drives me bonkers. This can include blurry, lop-sided and poor composition images. Not to mention, using images of messy/untidy rooms.
Do they actually think they’re going to entice enquiries that way? They MUST do and it’s truly mind-boggling.
So there’s two key takeaways from this point: 1) make sure your proposition is presentable 2) take good quality images that actually SELL. Here’s a complete guide on How to take professional images of your property!
8] Be flexible with viewings
Be flexible, generous and accommodating with your schedule. If you need to put your social life on ice for a couple of days while you cram in viewings, then so be it.
The reality is, tenants don’t wait around for long, so if you leave a tenant waiting around for too long just to take a viewing, the odds are they will have found somewhere else by the time you’ve got your act together!
Further reading on finding tenants
Here’s a more general list on Finding Tenants, which aren’t necessarily related to finding tenants “quickly”!
Anyone got any more ideas on how to find tenants quickly?
Anyone else have any bright ideas on how to find tenants quickly – operative word being “quickly”? I’ll add the best ideas onto the list, and most likely ignore every other suggestion :)