You have a buy to let business. The business relies on the rents you receive from tenants. It is vital to the success of your business that you have tenants to occupy your let property. And that means marketing just that opportunity to prospective tenants.
So, what are some of the golden rules for successfully marketing your property to tenants?
In this day and age, of course, probably the most effective – and certainly the cheapest – way of getting your message across to as wide a target audience as possible is using online marketing.
Although a good letting agent might be worth his or her weight in gold – especially in the difficult and time-consuming business of selecting and vetting potential tenants – online marketing allows you to do much of the job yourself. Thanks to the flexibility of the internet, online marketing also allows you a useful, multi-pronged approach.
Indeed, a common enough belt and braces approach by some landlords is to instruct letting agents for some of the work but still engage in a fair amount of online marketing themselves.
The good news is that there are a number of cost-effective ways that you can market your property. You don’t need to be an internet wizard or spend buckets full of money. Here we share some tried and tested ideas and suggestions:
- our first suggestion is that you use social media platforms as fully and as extensively as possible;
- platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can allow you to easily spread the word;
- but don’t be too specific as to the address – an unoccupied property is attractive to burglars and while you know your own circle of contacts, your message could end up in the hands of someone you’d rather it not;
- keep the advert succinct, professional and make it easy for anyone interested to be able to get in touch with you;
Websites for landlords
- look online for websites and forums specifically for landlords for ideas on where you can also advertise;
- many of these sites and forums will have up to date web addresses of places where you can place (sometimes) free advertisements;
Who’s your ideal tenant?
- think about your property and your target tenant – if it is a student let, for example, then contact local universities and colleges to see if you can be placed on their accommodation lists;
- similarly, if it is a smart flat, suitable for professional types, get in touch with nearby corporate businesses who may be looking for long term corporate lets;
- join local business networking groups – these attract all types of businesspeople, usually with a wide circle of contacts, who you can tell about your property;
- the more people you tell, the more chance you have of finding a tenant.
If you are planning on any kind of online marketing, you must pay close and careful attention to the appeal and accuracy of the content you use – whether that is text, images, videos, or even discussion forums.
You might be surprised at just how easily some landlords have seriously erred in the way they have marketed their property, with negative results that have affected their chances of letting the accommodation. From our own experience here at Cover4LetProperty, therefore, here are some of the issues to consider when developing your online marketing campaign:
Photographs – quality first
- whatever you may wish to be the case, the reality is that with the possible exception of your initial headline title, little of your text will be looked at seriously until your potential tenants have studied your photographs first;
- so, it doesn’t matter how flowing and brilliantly descriptive your words are, if your photographs are of poor quality then the chances are your carefully constructed prose will never get read;
- with that in mind, avoid poorly-lit photos that show little or nothing of your property;
- it is also likely to be a false economy to cut down on the cost and number of photographs you use in order to try and save money;
Photographs – relevance
- another classic mistake that is frequently seen relates to photographs that are, by any definition, irrelevant – to the point of being useless;
- illustrations there include things such as photographs of individual items of furniture, kitchen appliances or the front door in a context where nothing else of the externals of the property can be seen;
- broadly speaking, potential tenants want to see photographs of the full façade of the property both front and back, plus good wide-angle shots of all the major rooms;
- if space in your advertisement permits, try to include one or two of the views out of your main windows;
- in particular, make efforts to ensure that your rooms are tidy at the point of being photographed and are free of human or animal occupants;
- your descriptions should be full and comprehensive but without being verbose;
- make sure you talk about those things people are likely to be interested in and avoid those which they are not – for example, as important as it may have been to you, that you conducted a detailed let property insurance comparison when looking for a policy, it’s unlikely to be of any interest to your prospective tenants much;
- tenants, of course, are going to be far more interested in the dimensions of the kitchen and how many bedrooms your property has;
- use simple everyday language and try to avoid replicating the flowery and occasionally ridiculous descriptions used by some estate agents – an example might include saying simply that a room is rectangular-shaped, rather than that the room is principally of rectangular form and proportions;
- above all, never lie or deliberately attempt to mislead people in your descriptions – failing to mention a serious problem with your property in your advertisement may simply lead to intense disappointment or even recriminations when people arrive for viewings;
- of course, accentuate the positive and don’t dwell on the negatives but avoid being economical with the truth;
Spelling and grammar
- make sure that your online content is free of spelling errors or major grammatical gaffes;
- they can be hugely off-putting to potential tenants – particularly if you are trying to market a property you regard as being prestige;
- if you are not confident in your abilities regarding spelling, grammar, or punctuation, you might want to consider asking someone else to write the content for you.
These are just some ideas of how you can advertise your investment property – and many of them are entirely free. All it takes is a little effort, and your property could soon be tenanted again.
Finally, don’t forget to make sure your property has adequate insurance while it is standing empty. With most landlords’ insurance policies, once a property has been unoccupied for 30-45 consecutive days, then the policy will become invalid and you’ll need unoccupied property insurance. At Cover4LetProperty, we will be only too happy to advise you on the most suitable cover, so don’t be shy about getting in touch!