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Finding tenants

Holding viewings

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Arranging and hosting viewings is another of the activities that would normally be carried out by a lettings agent. But for landlords letting privately, it is one of the many activities that will fill your time at various inconvenient moments of the day.

If for some reason you are unable to be present at a viewing, you should make sure that anyone you arrange to be present instead is aware of all the details regarding the property. If your estate agent is not conducting the viewing, it can be a good idea to make sure that someone is in the property with you when the hopeful tenants come to view your home. It's a sad fact that there are dangerous people around these days, so there's no point taking any chances.

Similarly, there's no accounting for opportunists. Don't leave any valuables in obvious places, or you may find that you are moving house with a slightly lighter load than you would like. If the vewers want to have a quiet moment of discussion, lock them in the bathroom to talk, for safety's sake. No don't do that, it was a joke. But the point is, you don't know who you can trust these days, and you are asking for trouble if you leave strangers unattended in a room where you keep your jewellery not all that well hidden.

To help further alleviate any risk, only show people round if they have made an appointment and you have taken their personal details. Be especially wary of chancers who knock on your door having seen the sign out the front, wanting to have a look round. This is a trick not infrequently used by burglars, so the best thing to do is take their details and set a time for them to come back for a proper viewing. If they are genuine, this should not be a problem for them. Oh and for goodness' sake, don't use the excuse that you are just on your way out. That is like stripping off naked in a room swarming with mosquitoes and shouting, "eat me!"

Your conduct
Whilst you are showing people round, follow what they say and do, but allow them to make their own way through your home at their own pace. Don't rush them and try not to be right on their shoulder at every turn, as this may put them off. Be available to answer any questions, but don't be in their face.

Have a copy of all the particulars to hand. This can be a useful aid memoir. It should include any facts that are relevant to the property about which the prospective tenants might ask. Many tenants will wander round in virtual silence, but others will be well armed with dozens of questions to fire at you, so you need to be on your toes.

Always try to emphasise the good features of your home. Make sure that you point out any security features - outside lights, burglar alarms, window locks (as long as they are to BSA standard) and anything else which might have appeal.

Give the viewers time to discuss the property alone before they leave. Resist the temptation to pressure them for a decision whilst they are viewing the property. You will probably be able to gauge their opinion anyway.

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