7 ways to filter tenants and get through viewings fast
Agents are always time-poor, not least during the busy summer period, so here are seven ways to speed up your viewings and get some time back.
In many areas, tenant demand is outstripping supply. Data from Zoopla shows that the number of homes available to rent sits at 20-40% below the levels seen before the pandemic, in most regions. At the same time, 67% of landlords in a recent Paragon Bank survey had seen increased demand from tenants in the first quarter of 2023.
This has seen more investor confidence in recent months, with another survey finding that 41% of buy-to-let landlords plan to buy more property in the next 12 months. However, this increased demand means more work for agents to filter applicants as the competition for each property increases.
What's the solution? Agents that want to get ahead need to work smarter, to make sure they can dedicate time to the applicants that are most likely to be a good fit for their landlords.
You can download this free referencing checklist to help applicants understand what they'll need to prepare to get to the move-in stage as quickly as possible. But, even before they reach that stage, you can give your tenants plenty of chances to self-filter and use your time on viewings wisely - to leave you more time for retaining and winning landlords.
1. Include video viewings in your marketing
A quick video of the property, taken on your phone, will give your tenants a great first idea as to whether the property will be right for them. Videos give a better idea of perspective and size than simple images, putting everything in context.
If you want to get your tenants to take themselves out of the running, this is the first step.
2. Add all property details to the listing
What questions do you get asked most about certain types of rental property? If you see a pattern, and it's information that you can share in the public domain, add it to the marketing description of the property.
The marketing for each property - over and above what's required under the material information rules - should be as detailed as possible so your potential applicants can check that the property has everything on their list, before registering their interest.
3. Ask applicants to complete a pre-qualification form
If you ask your tenants to complete a form before they view a property, this will test that they're serious about the application, and give you the chance to tick them off the list before a physical viewing.
You should also make sure that you highlight the "required" fields in the form, so your tenants don't skip them and send incomplete information that holds up their application.
4. Organise block appointments to view the property
When a property has a lot of interest from tenants, you can take control of your diary with block viewings. If you organise a viewing with tenants every 10-15 minutes, you'll avoid travelling back and forth to the property for individual viewings.
Your applicants will see the competition for the property and are more likely to make a speedy decision. Plus, you'll get a batch of offers to share with your landlord to review in one go, making the whole process much more efficient.
If applicants cancel, you know that your time wasn't wasted as you'll have another applicant along straight after. If they miss their slot, someone else will likely be willing to sign on the dotted line instead.
5. Only attend confirmed viewings
If you don't organise block viewings, make sure you only attend viewings that you're certain the applicants will show up for. Send a reminder on the day of the viewing, and ask them to confirm their attendance.
You should then give them a call an hour before the viewing takes place. If you've not received confirmation of their attendance and there's no response, you can get back some time in your day.
6. Eliminate dead time while out on property visits
The physical viewings themselves take time - but while you're there, you can still be productive.
You can use technology solutions, such as Goodlord's lettings platform, to help you continue to progress lets while at the property, checking the status of references.
If your applicant confirms they'd like to take the property on the spot, you can choose to send out the offer details while at the property, so your applicant can get started straight away on the referencing process.
7. Get your tenants ready for the next steps
Once you've saved time in the vetting and viewing process, why stop there? You can easily get tenants set up to make the move-in a cinch by sharing exactly what the process will be from the moment they make an offer, to the day they move in.
They'll be better prepared, and you won't have to chase them for all the relevant details or explain the referencing process in full.
You could even create a quick video that details the information they'll need to provide before they start the referencing process to ensure they have everything to hand.