2017 has got off to a cracking start for landlords looking for new tenants, as Upad's own figures show that there are more people looking for new homes than at any time in the past three months.
In fact, during the first five days of the new year, we received 60% more tenant enquiries than during the same period of December, 46% more than at the start of November, and we even received 8% more than the first five days of October, which is typically a busy month for rentals.
On January 3, our busiest day of the year so far, we saw a whopping 219% year-on-year increase in sales revenue, which was 37% higher than on our previous best day, 26 July 2016.
So for any landlords thinking of looking for tenants, it looks like now is a great time to get your property on the market. Here are some tips to make sure it's looking its best at this, the coldest, darkest and dreariest time of year.
First of all, make sure when you write your property description that you list all the features tenants will be looking for the winter, such as gas central heating, new boiler, double or secondary glazing, working fireplaces and proximity to bus stops or train stations and local shops. Tenants are far more interested in these features when it is cold and damp than in a garden or roof terrace.
Phrases like "low cost to heat", "warm and snug", "bright and sunny" in the advert will resonate with tenants. If your property has a good energy rating of C or higher, it's worth mentioning this too.
If your property is vacant at the moment, make sure you get there well ahead of any viewings and turn on the heating to warm the place through. Cold homes often smell damp and musty and are generally uninviting. Viewers are more likely to linger in a warm home and leave with a better impression.
Remember to turn on lights in all the rooms, to avoid the place looking dreary. It goes without saying that the curtains and blinds should also be open to let in as much daylight as possible.
Don’t ignore the outside of the property either. Sweeping away dead leaves, clumps of moss from the drive and removing skeletal branches from trees and shrubs will improve a property’s ‘curb appeal’ no end, and if your garden, roof terrace or balconies are looking dull, pop along to your local garden centre and pick up some bright plants in pots to add some winter cheer.
It can be harder to “dress” a property for viewings if you already have tenants in situ, but you can always ask them nicely to tidy up beforehand and make sure they have the heating on. If you think they might be reluctant to do so, you could always offer to pay a little towards the energy bills while you’re marketing the property – it will be worth it if it means you find a tenant faster, saving you both time and money!