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The first step before finding great tenants is to organise a viewing for your property. A viewing is when you invite prospective tenants to see your house before accepting applications. Although it seems simple there is a lot to do before a viewing to ensure that:
- people show up
- your house looks the best it can
- people want to apply to live in your house.
Here’s how to organise a viewing.
1. Schedule your viewing
The first thing you need to do before even thinking about inviting people to your viewing is to schedule a good time and a good date to have your viewing. What is a good time and a good date to have a viewing?
- Not a public holiday.
- Not too early or too late. Most likely between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm.
- A time and date that suits your current tenants if you have them.
Remember to schedule your viewing based on the people you want to live in your house and when they might be free. For families and young professionals, it would be wise to host viewings after work hours and possibly even on the weekend. For students, there is more flexibility. It is also wise to host more than one viewing so that those who are unable to make the first one, might be able to make the second.
2. Preparing your house
If there are already tenants living in your property, it is important to organise a viewing time and date that suits them. This will ensure the property is tidy and prepared for visitors to walk-through, and it is also a part of your responsibility as the landlord.
If there are no current tenants then you will need to prepare your property yourself. Other than giving your house a good clean, here are some quick tips for getting your property ready for a viewing:
- Clear clutter – make sure wardrobes, storage areas, and sheds are organised and uncluttered.
- Air out the house – make sure the windows and doors are left open a day before the viewing so that the air is fresh. Leaving this too late might mean your property is cold when people walk-through so remember to do this at least a few hours before the viewing.
- Tidy up outside – mow the lawns and make sure there are no overgrowing weeds.
3. Take bookings
To ensure you have an idea of numbers, it is important to have people “book” your viewings or at least let you know that they’re interested in attending.
You can do this by providing people with a number or an email address to contact. Or, you can do this through an app or other tools which make it much easier.
Take bookings with an app
One app that allows you to take bookings for your viewings is Proper Renting.
If you create your listing with Proper not only will you be able to push your listing to social media channels and other marketplaces, you will also be able to create viewing times that tenants can book. How? Here’s how:
- You download the Proper Renting app onto your phone by searching for it in the App Store or Google Play
- You go through the process of listing your property on their marketplace and decide whether you want to push it to Trade Me or other advertising platforms (if you decide not to then it will be free).
- As you are going through the listing process you will come to a ‘Viewings’ page when you can schedule viewing times and dates. Once you have created a viewing time, people who are interested can easily book in for the viewing through the links in your listing. Alternatively, you can share the link.
Once you have done this you can manage all of your viewings from Proper and you can even manage the application process if you like. The app allows you to see:
- a list of people who have said they will be attending your viewing
- each person’s individual pre-application with their details.
Once the viewings are complete you can also put a star next to the name of tenants who stood out. From there you can invite them to apply.
One feature that Proper has that really makes viewings simple and less stressful is the ability to send a group message to all viewing attendees. This is great if they need to use a certain entrance or if you are running a little late.
4. Receiving applications
If people are viewing your house, you need to be prepared for them to apply to live in it. Most people apply using a pre-tenancy application form. This generally asks for:
- details about the tenancy
- details about the applicant
- a form of ID
There are options when it comes to pre-tenancy applications. You can have tenants fill these in after the viewing and give them back to you directly, or you can provide them with an email address to send a digital copy. Either way, it is important to keep them safe – these could be your future tenants!
Many people use MBIE’s pre-tenancy application. You can find this here. However, if you do decide to use Proper for listing your property, and managing your viewings, it will automatically send all tenants who attended the viewings a pre-tenancy application through email. The email will contain a link to a form that looks much the same as MBIE’s.
5. Asking questions
While people are actually in front of you and at the viewing, it’s wise to use the time to ask some questions. Although you need to remember that there are questions you can’t ask due to the possibility of discrimination, there are some questions you can and should ask. For more information on what these are, see:
6. Vetting tenants
Once viewings are over and applications are in, you should have a fair idea of who you want to live in your home. But, there’s still some work to do on that front.
First, you need to check their references. This is a vital step in the vetting process and it shouldn’t be missed. For more information on why checking references is important and what you should ask when doing so, see:
Next, you need to conduct background and credit checks on all prospective tenants who are adults. Why? Well, not only is this a new requirement under most insurance providers for home cover, but it is also the one precaution that could save you a lot in rent arrears and other troubles. For more information on where you can get the most comprehensive credit checks, as well as conduct your own background checks for free, see:
- Free background checking tool popular among Wellington landlords
- The best place to credit check my tenants