We’ve already talked about methods of marketing properties to gain enquiries, but, what happens next?
Ideally all of your enquiries will populate in one place, allowing you to respond to these in a cohesive manner. For example, here at Platinum Properties we have a dedicated inbox for tenant enquiries where all enquiries filter into allowing our Negotiators to work through those enquiries systematically in the order they were received. This means we never miss an enquiry from someone that could turn out to be the next great tenant for one of our landlords.
As a seasoned lettings professional I have navigated the world of property rentals for years and a crucial lesson learned over this period is that the process of qualifying potential tenant enquiries before scheduling viewings is a fundamental step in ensuring success.
There have, throughout my twenty plus years in lettings, been times when the market availability simply isn’t in line with tenant demand and you are inundated with enquiries for properties. However, not all of the people expressing interest will be serious or suitable candidates. By qualifying enquiries, you can;
Save Time and Resources
Screening enquiries can help you focus on the individuals who are genuinely interested in renting your property and have taken the necessary steps to consider whether the property suits their family and their needs as much as possible prior to placing the enquiry.
Pre-qualification will ensure that you are showing the property to potential tenants who can proceed with letting. This reduces visits to the property which allows current tenants to enjoy their home with fewer interruptions and reduces wasting time and resources such as fuel for you and anyone wishing to view that will be unable to proceed to let.
Protecting You and Your Property
Qualifying enquiries ensures that you have the correct details for those viewing and have confirmed their identity, bolstering your personal safety when completing viewings, we’ve all heard the story of Susie Lamplugh. Also, it is advisable to hold accurate and complete records of anyone who has attended the property for efficient follow-up as necessary.
Optimise Tenant Matching
By pre-qualifying potential interested parties you increase the likelihood of finding tenants who are a good fit for the property quickly, minimising problems at a later date with failed referencing and remarketing.
Ultimately pre-qualification of enquiries before booking viewings maximises efficiency, minimises issues and saves all parties wasted time and resources. That’s a win-win for everyone!
The process you adopt for pre-qualification will ultimately depend upon the requirements of your mortgage lender, any requirements that any insurance supplier might place upon you (for buildings, contents, legal warranties and rental warranty cover) and those of any nominated referencing company you may use. These are all factors that will dictate how potential tenants will need to pass follow-up checks and you should tailor your initial enquiries based upon these requirements.
Methods to Qualify Enquiries:
Initial Phone Conversation
A conversation with the person placing the enquiry allows you to gauge the individuals seriousness and gather essential information such as potential move-in date, desired lease term, familial make-up. This allows you to ensure there is no potential for overcrowding and that the individuals move in dates and desired lease term meet availability. Listen for enthusiasm, clarity and consistency in the responses you receive.
Require interested parties to complete an enquiry form. This form should include current address, contact details, income information and any other material information that may affect their application such as questions concerning adverse credit. This allows you to ensure you have correct contact details to be able to reach interested parties as well as being able to ensure they will meet the requirements of your insurers/referencing company in order to pass references if they like the property.
Set Viewing Expectations
Clearly communicate your expectations for the viewing process. Confirm the date, time and location of the viewing to ensure the individuals have all of the relevant information to be able to arrive promptly for their viewing.
Face to Face Meeting/Viewing
This enables you to have a relaxed conversation about both parties needs, desires and expectations to ensure they align. It also allows both parties to pick up non-verbal cues to assess demeanor and character to ensure that both parties are comfortable that the other understands the obligations placed up on them and would meet this and that you will be able able to build a good, personable and communicative working relationship moving forward should they choose to rent the property.
Follow Up Questions
This allows both parties to follow up with any questions they may have from what may have arisen throughout the pre-qualification process to ensure that everyone is proceedable before a holding deposit is taken to reserve the property and references obtained.
Remember, the goal of the above methods is not to discriminate, but to allow both parties to make informed decisions based upon objective criteria gleaned throughout this process. Fair and consistent application of your qualifying process is key to ensuring this.
In conclusion, qualifying potential tenant enquiries is a vital step in ensuring a successful and stress-free lettings experience for all parties. By investing time in this process you show your commitment to sourcing reliable, responsible tenants who will treat your property with care and fulfil their obligations as you are also committed to doing as the landlord of the property. So, take time to filter through enquiries to ensure you are focusing your time and energy on those individuals who are genuinely ready to embark on a successful tenancy journey with you. Your property, and peace of mind, will thank you for it.