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Month: November 2013

GFW Letting attends Rightmove seminar

Having attended the North East’s Rightmove seminar at Ramside Hall recently, the GFW Letting team had the opportunity to have a closer look at some of the bad habits many letting agents have adopted.

The most obvious point for me was the poor level of photography on show. Rightmove analysed what affect this had on a property listed with two agents, one with excellent photos and one with poor photos. The agent with the better photos had three times more interest then the other agent. Being a stickler for capturing a property in its best light, it worries me that many agents do not take the care and attention needed to make the property look its best, as this is the most powerful tool we have to get prospective tenants through the property’s front door.

As the rental market increases, landlords need to select an agent that will go that extra mile to make sure their property stands out from the crowd. My advice to landlords is to be critical of your agent’s images, if you saw them online would they entice you to view? Little things can make a big difference; an image of a nice bathroom may not appear so appealing when the bath edge is covered with lotions and the cleaning supplies are on view next to the toilet. An extra 10 minutes spent by your agent staging your property makes such a difference in the quality and overall feel the property will have when potential tenants view it online.

Winter-proof your property

As winter is on our door step, the Property Management team at GFWLetting are aiming to make sure that all the properties we look after are safe and secure this winter. Take a look at our check-list to make sure you’re ready for the winter months!

Ensure your house is protected against break-ins

As the dark winter nights draw in, statistically the numbers of burglaries tends to increase in both rural and urban areas. GFWLetting are advising our tenants to be vigilant against this and reduce their risk of a break-in. Tenants should ensure that their personal belongings and property contents are fully protected to ensure that they are suitably covered in an unfortunate event.

Whilst landlords are obliged to have buildings insurance, it is the tenants’ responsibility to suitably insure their own belongings. Tenants need to be aware that often their belongings may be more valuable than they think and appropriate insurance cover could soften the blow of a burglary. Ensuring that tenants understand and use alarm systems in their rental properties is extremely important. All doors and windows need to be locked and secure to minimise the risks. If tenants do not understand a security system at their property it is sensible to clarify with their managing agent or landlord.

Keep your house suitably heated

With the cold weather looming it can often cause a major hazard to empty properties over the winter months. Tenants are urged to suitably heat their properties particularly if they are left empty in the cold weather. Leaving your heating system set on a timer is recommended to ensure that pipes do not freeze in cold and icy conditions.

Be prepared if you’re going away

It is good practice for tenants to inform their landlord or managing agent if they will be away from the property for a period of time over the winter months and any necessary precautions can be taken. Similarly, landlords with empty properties need to ensure that adequate heating is left on. This will protect your property from frost damage as well as keep it nice and warm for any potential viewings.

Plan ahead for the festive season

Tenants with managing agents should expect that their agent’s offices will be closed during the Christmas period. Most agents will write to their tenants advising them of emergency and out of hours contact details when the office is closed. If tenants do not receive this information it would be advisable to contact your agent to get these details.

And finally…

The obligation of rental property security is split between both landlords and tenants. By adhering to the above advice, the GFWLetting team hope you enjoy a safe and warm winter in your rental property this year.

Stacey Hogg
Property Manager

Are you a good landlord?

Our Lettings Manager, Lorna, takes a look at what it takes to be a good landlord in the modern day rental market.

As the rental market is getting stronger and demand for quality property is increasing, tenants are becoming more demanding, and, as a landlord it can be a minefield as to what tenants are looking for.

A good tenant is worth their weight in gold and our experience tells us that the best landlords genuinely care about their tenant’s happiness. For them, it’s about more than just the monthly rental payments and retaining the right tenant has many longer term benefits for a landlord.

Market research has been carried out looking into private sector tenants throughout the UK and this has shown that the property’s location is the number one priority (Savills) for tenants. Being close to public transport and within easy walking distance to shops and potentially their workplace is something which is becoming increasingly important especially as the price of commuting increases. If you’re a first time landlord, location is an important factor, well worth taking into consideration.

It has been noted that the younger generation, tenants aged 24 and under, are keen to find furnished properties which they can move into straight away without the worry of additional costs. This isn’t such a key feature for tenants aged 45 and older where a long term tenancy is more appealing to them. Depending on the market you are trying to break into, this is worth considering before letting your property out.

Jonathan Monjack, chief executive of The Happy Tenant Company, believes that if a landlord acts quickly and efficiently to resolve any maintenance problems and other issues, treating their tenant like a customer, this will result in a happier tenant. The knock on effect of this is a tenant who is more likely to pay their rent on time and more comfortable in reporting minor problems before they become bigger and more difficult to solve.

In today’s rental market, there are other popular requests from tenants which range from having an outside space for international tenants so they can have barbeques in the summer and also replacing carpets with hard flooring especially in bathrooms as this is typical in some cultures.

It is a minefield when it comes to trying to cater to find the right tenant, however if you discuss this with a good letting agent they will have experience in these areas and should be able to guide you on what’s best to secure the right tenant for your property.

Lorna Morris, Lettings Manager