How to match the right tenant with the right property - and save everyone's time

30 June 2021

Buttercross Estates believes that advising applicants to keep an open mind while fully understanding their requirements is the best approach to help get the right candidates to the referencing stage more quickly, saving letting agents, landlords, and tenants time.

"It's better to get a good tenant than any tenant," says Abi Friar, Portfolio Manager at the Nottinghamshire-based Buttercross Estates. "We ask everybody to apply with no obligation to pay a penny until the landlord actually says, yes, we would like to reference you."

Buttercross is a strong believer that the best strategy for tenants, landlords and, ultimately, agencies, is to ensure the tenant is a great fit for the property - rather than accepting tenants on a first come, first served basis - so all parties can benefit from a long-term and happy occupant.

This goal is even more attainable in the current circumstances, where demand from tenants looking to change things up after lockdown is outstripping the number of properties available for them to rent in various locations.

In this situation, agencies can put in place procedures to understand how to find the right tenant and the right outcome for everyone.

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Ensure detailed marketing to tenants

From the moment tenants see a property on your site, all marketing and advertising should be very detailed to make sure the tenant can tick off everything they're looking for to match with a property, before even getting to the viewing stage.

Encourage tenants to be flexible

However, to help your tenants find the right property when stock is so low, you should encourage them to be flexible.

"If you can be quite open-minded, that really helps," says Abi. "We'll always ask you your preferred area and what your budget is - and suggest you give us as much flexibility as you can.

"Maybe you absolutely want to make sure you have off-street parking, but don't write that off, because you might have an amazing property that has street parking."

Pre-qualification and tenant requirements

Much is said about pre-qualification of tenants - a crucial step to help agents stay efficient and check that the tenant's the right profile for a property and that they meet the legal requirements to be able to rent the property, such as ensuring they have the right to rent in England.

This step can be useful for both parties, to help the agent understand the tenants' requirements, as well as match them to a property.

"We like to let people know as soon as possible rather than referencing absolutely everybody, if the property isn't a good fit," says Abi.

Know when to progress a tenancy

"We get people to fill in a pre-application form, to get as much information as we can, so we can chat with the landlords and then let people know at quite an early stage if we'd like to progress with the tenancy."

This means that everyone can save time, even tenants. While there's a shortage of rental properties, applicants can quickly start searching again for the right property rather than undergoing a full referencing process for each landlord.

"In the current market, you can't have people waiting a week to hear back for a property. So we are quite customer focused in that sense - we want to do what we can to help people out."

Help your tenants prepare

Another way to help tenants is to ensure they understand what the referencing process will entail so that you know that they match the criteria and they will be able to progress through the steps quickly.

"We recently did a video, for example, a simple guide of what you will need before you rent," says Abi. "If tenants have all that information ready, as soon as they find the right property, then they can go for it straight away."

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