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Property/DIY

Going it alone to find tenants for our house

10 replies

dizzydo · 03/09/2007 16:20

Given up with our agents they seem to do nothing and never return my calls. I am going to try and rent it out myself. Has anyone had any success going it alone? How did you do it? Best places to advertise etc? Any guidance/tips would be very much appreciated.

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3sEnough · 03/09/2007 16:29

I would just change agents - we use Townends - very good in my experience.

dizzydo · 03/09/2007 17:33

thanks for that 3senough. I had forgotten that we used them amongst others last time. They did seem good, in fact they found us an interested party but the price was too low that time. Will give them a call.

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crimplene · 08/09/2007 21:55

I rent my house out myself and wouldn't consider using an agent - agents just don't care that much and take a big slice of money for just ringing you when something is a problem. I treat it as though I'm interviewing them for a job, and tenants are far less likely to do anything horrible to someone they know and have a good relationship with. Have had fantastic tenants for the last 4 years by finding them myself, helpful, good at communicating and never missed a payment or had a void in all that time. Agents are pointless.

PSCMUM · 08/09/2007 21:59

I used to be a tenant ( for 5 years) am now a landlord (for last 2 years).

Can honestly say, from both points of view, agents are utterly utterly pointless. WHen I was a tenant all they did was tell me they'd phone the landlord whenever I had a problem. When I used an agent to find me a tenant, with all the checks, credit, references, etc, the tenants walked away with the bath. I am not kidding. Don;t use agents!

dizzydo · 08/09/2007 23:55

how do you go about advertising for your tenants crimplene and PSC mum? Do you use newspaper, web etc? I am just at bit of loss of where to begin.

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Skribble · 08/09/2007 23:58

Advertising would depend on the type of property and target market I suppose.

Most would be tenents will scan the local paper every week, also college/ uni notice boards, hospital staff notice boards.

crimplene · 09/09/2007 12:00

There are a lot of potential tenants at the moment due to pressure on housing from recent migrants from the new EU states - so you're more likely to be inundated than have trouble finding someone. I tend to use the local paper for my house but online noticeboards like Gumtree for a house that we let out room by room.

I rent my own accomodation and have dont for years and agents treat tenants worse than they treat landlords, so bad agents are far more likely to lead to problems with tenants behaving badly as they feel that they owe them (your agent) nothing. The only thing an agent can do for you os a credit check - but I'm not really sure how valuable that is.

I think landlords tend to put down things like No Housing Benefits and No Students out of prejudice and do themselves out of really lovely tenants. My current tenant is a mature student in his 30s. No HB is a bit more understandable as councils can be slow to pay, but that does vary and HB tenants often stay for much longer than the 'working professionals' that most landlords seem to want. Better to weigh up people as they come.

I assess people carefully over the phone (I have a list of questions, but I also chat to them) and filter out lots that way. I always take someone else with me when showing prospective tenants round as the other person can pick up clues while you're chatting (and I did have one incident when man turned up at 9am drunk I wasn't going to let him in and I was glad someone else was there to back me up in case it got difficult). Despite being a total slob myself, I would always pick someone who's neat and tidy and it's important that you 'click'. Use a proper agreement (from WHSmith) and agree an inventory from the outset even if you're more flexible than that, it sets the right tone.

If you treat your tenants really well, don't go for absolute maximum price, repair/ replace stuff quick, and be friendly but make sure it's a clear business transaction, they find new tenants for you when they go, are OK about you redecorating while they're still there and understanding if there's a genunine problem getting something sorted. Treat them like cash-cows and they nick stuff, trash the place, you get voids, and less choice of new tenant.

dizzydo · 10/09/2007 23:29

crimplene thanks for taking the time to write such a helpful and informative post.
We are looking for families dont want sharers (4 bed family house). Just wondering whether I should advertise in say the Evening Standard property section (they have a special day for that dont they) or say one of the Sunday papers. Anyone tried that and how much does it cost?

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Thunderpants · 12/09/2007 16:06

Hi - I also let my own property and have done so for almost 6 years now. I advertised in the local post office window, hoping to find a local tenant, as the house was near the local school. I interviewed them myself, and because they seemed overly concerned with cleanliness and safety, I thought they'd make ideal tenants! And I was right. They've been very good. Once they were late with their rent, and we came to an amicable arrangement over it. I think if you're a good judge of character then you won't have too many problems.

One word of advice that was given to me by a letting agent - he said he would never, ever let to anyone in the medical profession, because they were always very messy. He put it down to having to be so clean all day that they didn't bother at home. Sure that's not really the case though

dizzydo · 28/09/2007 18:16

Crimplene, is there any chance I could see your list of questions please

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