THANKS FOR A GREAT RESPONSE
A huge thanks to everyone who took the time to send us a question, we had over 150 entries this week.
We had to choose the ten winners, but we'll be posting another set of winning responses to this question soon so don't be too disappointed if yours didn't make it this time.
There were some over-arching themes to that first conversation with a tenant. These all showed the importance of the call as an opportunity to try screen those who aren't right for you and your property and vice versa.
Those themes included:
- Putting the onus on the tenant to open up and 'pitch' themselves
- Evaluating if they could really afford the property
- Discovering how many people are involved in the search
- Finding out if they like the local area as well as the property
- Judging how committed they are to your property
Here are your top ten questions to ask an enquiring tenant:
1. What is the most important feature/area to you in a property?
Nailing down what really mattered to the tenant to reveal what made them tick and whether that matched the property/your requirements was a common theme.
2. Can you call me back in twenty minutes?
Julian added "If they call back at the appointed time then you know you are dealing with someone who is a reliable communicator - and communication is nine tenths of the game."
3. We would consider tenants who are prepared to pay £75 to Upad who do the full reference. Is that OK with you?
Like several of you, Lee believes that the ones who have nothing to hide and are happy to pay are the ones who make the best tenants.
4. Can your present landlord give you a reference?
Peter said: "Always ask if their present landlord can give a reference, this eliminates time wasters. We advertise our own properties and it works a treat because some tenants think because its directly through the landlord we won't bother with references, they soon put the phone down if they can't provide one."
5. Who is the property for?
Debra explains: "The first question we always ask is "who is the property for?" It's amazing how many call on behalf of someone else and where they do, it can be a red alert to the fact that the person who actually wants the property knows they will fail the referencing process so they hope to get in via another route or it's something even more sinister such as a cannabis farm or a sub-let."
6. Why are you looking for somewhere new to rent?
Sally was the first to suggest this very popular, very simple way to get to the heart of the matter. A good tenant will always be able to give you a straight answer.
7. Would you be happy to pay a holding deposit?
Hannah adds: "It's great to know if they are in a position and willing to pay a holding deposit if they like the flat when a viewing is arranged so you can hold it for then while go through referencing but have some financial commitment from them!"
8. How many properties have you viewed in the area so far?
A lot people suggested questions which aimed to understand whether the area itself was going to suit the tenant; were they only looking in this area? did they already have connections? what did they like about it?
9. What was it about about the property made you get in touch?
This may seem like a similar question to Jane's question at the beginning, however Pav's motivation is very different: "This helps you tailor the conversation to highlight the property's features that tie in with what the tenant is after and helps you understand your market better."
10. Tell me a bit about yourself?
Gemma explains: "I always ask the prospective tenant to simply tell me a bit about themselves. This breaks the ice and gives you an actual conversation rather than a list of questions and answers. You get a much better idea if you're going to get on with them which is vital if you're going to manage the property yourself and have a happy tenant/landlord relationship."
11. Where do you currently work and do you enjoy your job?
Depending on how they react, it can give you an indication on how long they might stay at their current work place and how long they have worked there for. "If for example they hated the job and got fired or left, could they still pay the rent? This should give you an indication on how financially stable they are".
12. Are you good at DIY?
Not having huge bills for property maintenance is always a tricky part. Tenants don't need to be experts to fix minor repairs. You can eventually reward your tenants by giving them some money back from the rent.
13. Do you know where the property is and the area?
Making sure the location will suit them i.e for commuting, schools, shopping, etc...
14. When would you like to move in?
David shares his experience with Council Tenants: "This may seem silly or obvious but in my experience with council houses, when tenants tell you they'd like to move in straightaway, it's usually a sign of them doing a runner from their current landlord".
DIFFERENT PRIORITIES, SAME IMPORTANCE
Just as the questions being posed aimed at finding out what kind of people were enquiring, they also revealed how different our motivations and priorities are when looking for the right tenant. Some of us clearly want an individual we can can connect with personally whilst others put more importance on minimising the risks in a more objective fashion.
Whatever the motivation, the quality and quantity of response underlined how important you feel being able to ask the right question is rather than waiting for the viewing (or leaving it to the agent...).
Thanks again to everyone who got involved and look out for more winners soon. If you have any thoughts on our choices then feel free to comment below.If you'd like more information on what to do when a tenant enquiries please click on the link below.