Landlord Guide to Finding Good Tenants Fast

If you’ve found yourself here, it probably means you’re trying to find good tenants without the help of a traditional high-street letting agent. Wise decision, and you’ve come to the right place.

In this section, I discuss all the steps required to find quality tenants quickly, including how to reference tenants, and how to advertise on the UK’s biggest property portals like Rightmove (in order to maximise your changes of generating enquiries from prospective tenants)!

You don’t need a high-street letting agent or their extortionate fees!

A common misconception is that letting agents provide us with a skill set which can’t be duplicated by the average person/landlord. We assume that they have an advantage over us by having all the trade tools and resources. It’s all nonsense.

All agents provide us with is a service which most landlords don’t know enough about to confidently duplicate. But when you break it down, it’s not really that difficult or time-consuming to learn the essentials and more, which will enable us to find and manage tenants ourselves… for a fraction of the cost!! In fact, the methods I discuss in this guide won’t cost you more than £60. Now let’s compare that to prices the average high-street agent charges.

How cheap finding tenants can be

I’ve seen agents charge between 8%-15% of the rental income for their services (depending on the type of service). The most basic service agents’ offer is typically a “tenant-only” service, which is where an agent will find a tenant and leave the management role up to the landlord.

Let me show you how the figures stack up with a real example:

Let’s assume an agent has found me a tenant willing to sign a 12 month agreement. The rent is £1000 per month. Based on the lower end 8% fee, an agent would charge £960 as a fixed annual fee for their service. On top of the regular service charge, most agents charge a renewal fee, which means I would need to pay an additional annual fee if I wish to keep the same tenant after the 12 months expires. As you can see, the cost can easily escalate, and it usually does.

Over the past 5 years I haven’t used a single high-street agent, and my cost for finding tenants has been between £0 – £100.

The reality is, the internet has made it incredibly easy (and cheap) for landlords to find and market their own properties without the use of a traditional high-street letting agents. One of the biggest enquiry generators for letting agents are UK property portals like Rightmove & Zoopla, but we don’t an agent in order to get our property on there, we can do it ourselves through self-service Online Letting Agents.

Believe me, long gone are those days where we need to walk into a letting agents office and rely on their notably poor service and unjustified pricing structure (which are famous for being riddled with hidden fees). And that’s because we now have resources available at our disposable- the same resources professional letting agents use- to do the job ourselves, only with more care. Bear in mind, agents do get it wrong. Frequently. So why pay them to find a tenant when there are no guarantees they’ll be any good (after all, that’s all landlords really want, good tenants)?

So, it’s your call, you can either spend £1000 on an agent, or learn how to do it for £0 – £100. It’s a no-brainer for me. Remember, a buy-to-let investment is a business, so it’s about keeping costs down when and where it makes sense.

How to find tenants… efficiently and cost-effectively!

Here’s a few ways landlords can maximize the chances of finding tenants efficiently and cost-effectively, consequently minimizing void periods and saving a pile of cash!

Marketing

Before even starting the finding process, you need a strategy.

Well, not quite a strategy, we’re not invading a county here. But you will need to determine what it is you’re actually offering and how you’re going to deliver it.

It doesn’t matter if you’re leading the search party to find tenants, or whether you’re passing the responsibility onto a letting agent, you still need to ensure any marketing material put out there is appropriate and effective.

Referencing / Viewings

Generating enquiries is only the first step of filling your vacant property, and it’s definitely NOT the most important step.

Finding “good tenants” is key, because bad ones will chew through your time and profits, and quite possibly sink your entire investment. And trust me, there’s no shortage of bad tenants out there.

It doesn’t matter how or where you source a tenant, whether it be through an experienced local high-street letting agent or whether you take matters into your own (un)experienced hands, landlords are ALWAYS prone to falling victim to rogue tenants. Remember, if you’re using an agent, and they get this part wrong, it will cost YOU, not the agent.

The best we can do is minimise the risks, and the best way to accomplish that is by thorough tenant referencing, and that truly begins at the viewing stage.

Preparation

Before letting your property and taking viewings, there are just a few bits you need to take care of…

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