Landlords And Tenants Shouldn’t Neglect The “Wanted” Section

The traditional way for prospective tenants to find accommodation would be to walk into a letting agent, look in the local paper, scan through local advertising boards, or look through various online portals e.g. Gumtree. All these methods have one thing in common, it’s the Landlord doing the marketing. But it doesn’t have to be like that. It actually makes a lot of sense for the tenants to also market themselves. Let me explain…

When I was previously looking for tenants, the first thing I did was place an advert on Gumtree (How to market your BTL effectively on Gumtree). One of the processes of marketing my property on Gumtree involved checking out the local competition to see what I was up against. I searched for all the rental property available in the same area as my vacant property. While looking through the results, I noticed that a prospective tenant had published a “wanted” advert. A young couple were looking for a property to rent in the location where I had a vacant property. I got in touch with them and they took a viewing, and shortly after became my tenants.

If you think about it, it was a backward approach to how tenants and landlords typically collide, but it was still extremely affective. In the advert the tenants sold themselves to me; it’s usually the landlord doing all the selling.

Here’s a more recent example of how someone else is doing it:

Tenant looking for landlord

You can actually see the live advert here for now (it may disappear in time).

She sells herself well, and obviously the picture is a great selling point as you can see who you’re dealing with. She’s getting interest, just look at the pageviews. If I had a vacant property in the area, I would definitely give her a call.

Anyways, it’s just something for prospective tenants and landlords to think about. Traditional methods aren’t always the best or only options.

A quick thank you to the folks over at Royals Of Rent for linking me to the advert via Twitter.

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3 Comments- Join The Conversation...

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Sam 9th February, 2010 @ 20:15

I completely agree with you - we have been massive advocates of tenants placing their wanted ads on VirtualLetz - that way landlords can also search for tenants! And, the system can match up landlords and tenants! Wonderful - finding tenants when you're not even looking! We just need to get more to register - but they're increasing all the time :)

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Molly 25th August, 2014 @ 00:02

I have a Wanted ad live on Gumtree, mine is a wordier "cover letter" type because I wanted the landlord to get a feel for who I am through how I write and be upfront about being an LHA tenant. I checked out other adverts and noticed a lot of adverts were blunt, rude or demanding (e.g. "You must accept DSS" which I found offensive even as a prospective tenant, nevermind for the the landlord). I don't have a photo up, mostly for online security but also because they're easily lifted from Facebook etc and give little assurance. I'd be more than happy to Skype with a genuine landlord though.

Which brings me onto my initial experience. I paid for a 3 day featured ad to help things along and within a few hours I'd had a response from someone asking for my email to send property details. I gave them a disposable email address linked to my yahoo account (again, safety) and got back some small, grainy, low-res photos and a poorly worded email offering rent that not only undercut all others but included all bills... Suspicious I replied suggesting we talk on the phone. The responding email ignored my email and said they were concerned I could be a time waster and could I please forward my personal details so their solicitor could draft a Tenancy Agreement for me to bring with me along with my deposit and rent. Ahuh, and while I'm at it, I'll write my list to Santa now because I'll definitely get everything I ask for...

I copied the text and searched it on Google which turned up a well known scammer asking for deposits via Western Union. So while I hadn't been asked for any money yet (maybe because in my initial email I said I was aware of WU scams on Gumtree). In three days my ad has only been viewed a dozen times so I don't know if it'll be successful but the scammer was certainly off-putting. Its easy to see how people fall pray to them, especially when desperately looking for a property - I didn't notice the bills included the first time I read the reply, it was only after the excitement of a reply wore off.

My tips to people advertising in the wanted section:

Keep identifying information to a minimum and where possible only use Gumtree's mail system or a disposable email address. Online email accounts like Yahoo, GMail and Hotmail let you set up email addresses that deliver mail to your account but don't compromise it and can be deleted if they get abused. These are great for initial enquiries and mailing lists with letting agents too so you don't continue to get emails after you've moved (just remember to put your real email address on the tenancy application!).

Use a pseudonym until you have established a trust with the landlord. I feel a little dishonest about not using my real name but I have used an online moniker for years because my real name is too easy to identify me by. But better to cover my back and apologise with an explanation for the deception, than to be the victim of identity fraud.

Don't reveal name, address, DOB, and other personal information until you meet them. Definitely don't give them your bank details unless you like direct debits for accounts you don't own.

Be careful what you tell them about your family, current property, etc. Especially if they know where you live. Don't give away names of children, pets or relatives, especially if you use for passwords and secret answers.

Ask them for their phone number so you can call them to discuss the property and meet them in person before agreeing to taking on the property. Try not to give them yours.

Anyone asking for money via Western Union or other non-traceable money transferal systems are NOT genuine. End of story.

Make sure you view the property before paying out anything and don't enter into any financial transaction, other than MAYBE a holding deposit on viewing. Only pay a deposit if you're sure the offer is genuine and get a receipt. Use a traceable method such as bank transfer/paypal and not cash. Ask for a copy of the mortgage statement, ID and which TDS/tenant reference agency they use. Scammers can be people with access to a property (e.g. housesitters or lodgers) who get a few deposits off unsuspecting victims then do a runner with their new fortune.

Take all replies with a grain of salt. Give it a couple of hours and reread it before replying to see if you can spot anything odd once the excitement has died down.

Compare the offered rent price to others in area. If its lower, it could be suspect. If its considerably lower, then it probably is suspect.

Look at the deposit / "security deposit". If its less than a months rent or a convenient figure, i.e. £250 / £500, be suspicious. My scammer told me "she" protected the rent in TDS to give it legit appearance.

Look at the wording / grammar and google the contents of the email. My scammer made some odd grammatical mistakes which were identical to those of a scammer with a different name.

"You can stay in my [property] as long as you pay your rent at when due". Google it.

Scammers appear to like to pose as women, but not always. Mine claimed to a woman as did the identical scammer I matched "her" to.

Check the time stamp. My scammer emailed during the night. Now while I am up in the early hours, many people are not. If the person is always emailing in the night, they're probably not in this timezone.

Landlords who live outside of the area/country and can't get to the property for a viewing or hint in any way that you might waste their time and money with viewings are a no-no. My scammer asked me to be honest about other properties I might be viewing elsewhere.

Look carefully at photos (and be careful opening attachments - virus scan them first). Most modern cameras and phones produce huge pictures of excellent quality and large file size. Small, non-enlargeable, grainy, low resolution photos of inside only are suspicious. You can drag and drop them into google to search for them (they may have been lifted off a website). I did a wander along the supposed road of the offered property using Google Streetview and checked old ads on Zoopla to try and identify the property but couldn't find a perfect match to building features such as bay windows, size of windows, number of panes, location of external doors, chimneys, etc.

If you have been defrauded or someone attempted to defraud you, report it to Gumtree (or advert provider) and to ActionFraud, ran by the police

Finally, it might be a cliche, but usually it's right: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

[P.S. I want to be a Landlord, they get the cool mustaches! I just get Norman Lamont's eyebrows, boo!]

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maureen 9th October, 2015 @ 07:59

This is very good advice,i will keep this in mind


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