The Upad Landlord: Give your property the winter wow factor
At this time of year, when it’s cold and dark outside, it takes a little extra effort to prepare your rental property for viewings. Here are my top tips to make sure it’s as appealing as possible to prospective tenants:
1. My top tip is to make sure the heating is on so all the rooms are nice and toasty by the time the viewers turn up.
2. When doing viewings in the evening or on gloomy days, turn the lights on in all the rooms before the viewers arrive, but use the dimmer control or lamps where you have them to create a warmer ambience.
3. Sweep leaves and other autumnal debris from front gardens and pathways to create a clean and tidy first impression. Turn on any outside lights.
4. Dress beds if you have any available linen because bare mattresses can make a room look drab; also cover light bulbs with shades to create a more lived-in ambience.
5. Draw curtains in the evenings and light or turn on any fires to make the place feel cosy. Lighting candles will also help, but only if the property is furnished – a lone Diptyque in an empty room will look staged, if not silly!
6. A bowl of crisp green apples on a table or a dish of bright red tomatoes on a kitchen worktop will help to create a fresh, homely vibe. They’ll look less staged than flowers, and last longer too.
7. Properties that have been empty for a while can smell a little fusty or damp, especially in the winter, so make sure you air all the rooms. Use an air freshener like Febreeze to create a nice, fresh smell, but don’t go overboard or viewers might think you’re trying to cover up something nasty!
8. Clean windows make a big difference to a property’s appearance, it will instantly feel brighter – which is more important than ever at this time of year. If your property is occupied, ask the tenants if they’d mind you arranging to have the windows cleaned – they shouldn’t have any objections.
9. Viewers will often ask how much the council tax, water rates and gas and electricity cost, as heating bills tend to spring to the forefront of people’s minds as soon as the weather turns chilly, so make sure you have these figures at hand. You can ask the existing tenants how much their quarterly energy bills come to, or find out an average cost from the existing supplier.
10. It can be hard to make sure your property is presentable if you do viewings before the previous tenants move out. In this case, I suggest you ask (nicely) if they can make sure the property is at least clean, tidy and aired for viewings. If necessary, organise several viewings on one day so that the tenant is disturbed as little as possible.