How do you differentiate your property from others in your area?

How do you differentiate your property from others in your area?

8:42 AM, 6th September 2013, About 10 years ago 18

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How do you make your property stand out from the one down the road, and ensure the best tenants want to rent YOUR property? How do you differentiate your property from others in your area

Obviously great location & professional photos help to get them interested in the first place, but what are the other differentiating factors about the property itself which give you the upper hand?



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Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

9:02 AM, 6th September 2013, About 10 years ago

Hi Kirsty

That's a very interesting question.

In my article about finding perfect tenants and minimising risk I talk about creating demand, how I protect my interests and how I get tenants to buy into me as a landlord but I don't really talk much about differentiating my property.

Decor and cleanliness are obviously very important. Things like colour of carpets make a big difference. Some people see pale green as a neutral colour for example but if a tenant has a red sofa it will not match. Therefore, I always go for a cappuccino coloured carpet as that matches all furniture colours. I always make sure there is a shower, even if it's only a shower over a bath. More people prefer showers than baths but some people will not rent a property without a bath so wherever possible I provide both. Older people especially prefer walk in showers.

There are other little things too. For example, if I replace doors I always use fire door, even though I might not need to. The difference in cost is minimal. I make sure I point this out. Some of my properties have entry systems and burglar alarms so I always point that out too. Dishwashers are also very important to some people.

I will be very interested to read what other people do. Obviously a property is pretty much what it is isn't it? It is never going to make commercial sense to build a conservatory or a balcony. It might attract a few more tenants but it will never be commercial viable in my humble opinion.

Depending on what market a landlord is operating in then white goods can make a difference but there are counter arguments on whether or not they should be provided in some cases.

I don't let HMO's or holiday lets but if I did I think that's possibly where the most difference could be made. I would ensure that Sky TV, phone and broadband were all available. A desk for students would be preferable and furnishings, especially wardrobes would be important.

It's important in holiday lets to get repeat customers and referrals and some of the best landlords I know in this market really do go the extra mile in terms of providing check in packs with all the essential such as milk, tea, coffee, bread and even a bottle of fizzy wine.

Vanessa Warwick

11:07 AM, 6th September 2013, About 10 years ago

The acclaimed American marketeer, Seth Godin, suggests that, in all marketing, you should have what he calls a "purple cow", something that makes your offering really stand out from the crowd!

Someone I know who lets to students puts jacuzzi baths in all his student lets. Students love them and his properties are always full.

We always put a "dressing pack" in our properties, such as shelves, mirrors, hooks on the back of doors, window covering, rugs, pictures on the walls etc. (although we do not supply furniture unless requested).

Holiday lets, as Mark suggests, need a purple cow even more. Here are some of my ideas ...

However, in bog standard single occupancy BTL, I would suggest that purple cows are simply a high standard of cleanliness, a high standard of maintenance and decorative order, a high standard of compliance and safety, and a professional landlord to rent from. 🙂

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

12:42 PM, 6th September 2013, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Vanessa Warwick" at "06/09/2013 - 11:07":

Good point about hooks on the backs of doors and vanity units in bathrooms. They don't cost much but they do make a big difference. These are the little things that are always missing from new builds I find.

Vanessa Warwick

12:45 PM, 6th September 2013, About 10 years ago

Yes, Mark, I should have mentioned that I was speaking in respect of new builds (mainly). have just launched a new landlord background check for tenants.

As "fake landlord" scams are on the rise, I was wondering if it might be a USP to offer prospective tenants a free copy of the report to show that the landlord is a bona fide landlord?

lauren field

12:45 PM, 6th September 2013, About 10 years ago

What is the most important thing you look for in a home. I tend to look at the kitchen and bathroom first.

A modern kitchen and modern bathroom will always make your property stand out.

Decor and room sizes come next.

i love the jacuzzi idea but you would need to make it clear what the running costs are as that could turn off potential tenants if they are worried about the heating costs. I believe it costs approx an extra tenner a week depending on which electicity supplier you use. Anyway, I am getting side tracked thinking about all those bubbles hmmmmmm ..........

Again Mark is correct when he suggests neutral colours for walls and carpets

Overall, put yourself in a prospective tenants shoes and what would me your main concerns, needs and wants when moving into a new home.

If your property has been empty for a while and you've had lots of viewings there is probably a good reason why it is still empty.

When viewing a property its always your first impressions that counts. When deciding which properties to view photos matter but if kitchens and bathrooms are too dated and there is no shower then many tenants will rule it out.

Being flexible is always a good thing when it comes to finding good tenants. You want the tenant to treat it as their home, to take pride in where they live and like where they live so if they want to paint a wall blue great, let them as long as its put back to neutral at the end do you really care ? They will and they will mindful of the costs and want to look after it and potentially stay longer as they are making it into their home.

if there is no shower, get one in or tell potential viewers you are/will be putting in a shower. If you can't afford a decent kitchen change the worktops maybe or the doors. First impressions count & improvements don't have to expensive.

What does it look like from the outside? You may not be in position to change it but if you are try and take a look at it with new eyes. the same goes for inside.

back to the photos are they the right ones / So many times I see agents advertising on Rightmove with either just an outside shot (understandable if they cannot gain access) or tons of exterior shots and frontal elevations. Overall, do i really care what it looks like from every single angle ? No, I care about what's inside because i'm going to be living inside. I want to know its got decent facilities. mainly kitchen and bathroom. So more photos of what your property has to offer will always attract more interest.

And the purple cow idea is fantastic ! Thanks Vanessa!

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

13:33 PM, 6th September 2013, About 10 years ago

I'm not convinced about jaccuzzi baths in student properties. Great for students I'm sure. Most students who are offered a property with a jaccuzzi would be planning the wild parties within seconds without a second thought for consequences I suspect.

As a landlord I think differently having had to deal with flood damage more times than I care to remember. Unless the jaccuzzi was on a ground floor and the bathroom had been designed with soak away's etc. I think it could be a recipe for disaster.

As Vanessa knows, I went through a wild spell just after I got divorced, partied like a rock star and "pimped my house", part of which involved a spa room containing a steam room, hot tub for 10, bar and even a dance pole. The theme tune to the first party was Hey, Hey I wanna be a Rock Star! by Nickleback". Wonderful time LOL

My student step son and his mates love it but I've seen the mess they create when I'm not around and that's in a purpose built spa room with soak always. I would dread to think of the mess which could be created if the jaccuzzi was in an upstairs bathroom or anything other than a ground floor flat! YIKES!

How does your landlord friend manage this Vanessa?

lauren field

13:49 PM, 6th September 2013, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "06/09/2013 - 13:33":

Damn ! I have clearly missed out ! Still I imagine you hads of fun with that pole

i was imagining an outside jacuzzi hmm......

Did I tell you I like Nickleback .... lol

Ed Atkinson

18:38 PM, 6th September 2013, About 10 years ago

I do my best to get the message across in the advert that the tenant will not be charged any of those scam fees: tenacy fees, reference fees, credit check fees, etc

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

22:04 PM, 6th September 2013, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ed Atkinson" at "06/09/2013 - 18:38":

Hi Ed

Have you read my strategy for finding perfect tenants and minimising risk?

You will see what I do which includes a fee of £89 being charged for referencing.

When you have read my strategy you may feel differently about all fees being a scam. Tenants deserve value for money and that's what I give to them. You may wish to structure you charges differently to me but that doesn't necessarily make your deals or your strategy any better than mine.

Ed Atkinson

11:04 AM, 7th September 2013, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "06/09/2013 - 22:04":

Thanks Mark. I agree - we each have our own way of doing things. This thread is about ways to stand out from the crowd. We tend to have a good proportion of the people viewing who want to sign up, so the key is getting the viewings. Saying that tenants only pay out rent and deposit in the advert seems to help. It also sets a good tone for the landlord-tenant relationship right at the start.

I have now looked at your strategy doc. Helpful. On referencing, we charge a £200 holding deposit and do the Credit Check & referencing ourselves

We use the NLA Credit Check (£8 per tenant). We screen capture the results and send them to the tenant whether good or bad. We want to give the message that we are working with them so that later they'll work with us, which they do (eg timely reports of maintenance needs). We do referencing by phone as we get a better feel and anyway there is no way we would chase up on references if a tenancy subsequently went wrong, so paper is worthless here. The holding deposit then contributes to the full deposit.

I tried to get the NLA and then Radio 4 Moneybox interested in a campaign to ensure Rightmove etc ads can have extra fees listed. At the time it was against Rightmove's Terms and Conditions to publish such fees or highlight the lack of them, which seemed almost criminal But I found no traction in my potential campaign. Maybe it has since improved as I have seen some Rightmove ads with 'no extra fees' published and ours now get through as well.

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