To-Let Advertising – Dissing the Opposition!

To-Let Advertising – Dissing the Opposition!

11:09 AM, 7th March 2014, About 10 years ago 26

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Sales and marketing isn’t my thing and I’m wondering how aggressive I should be in my property To-Let advertising.

The two bed apartment that I’m soon to complete on is approx 1,000 square foot in size. The problem is that almost every advertised property claims to be ‘spacious’!

I’m planning on letting at about 10-15% more than the average rent (the apartment also has lots of lovely period features etc). To-Let Advertising - Dissing the Opposition

In my drafted advert I say that it is “genuinely spacious” and I mention the square footage (and all the other good stuff about it…). However, I’m a little bit cheesed off that letting agents are describing 600 sq ft properties as spacious (they don’t mention the floor area, but as there’s a lot of new developments in the area it’s been easy to find out).

I know that prospective tenants will see the size difference for themselves when viewing, but you’ve got to get responses to the advert first.

I’m therefore tempted to be more aggressive in my advertising and make comparison, perhaps saying that “… (this is 50% more than the typical apartment in developments X, Y and Z)”. Or do you think that this would just be negative advertising and isn’t the done thing?

A trivial question I know, but any comments will be welcomed…

Many thanks


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Simon Coppen

15:30 PM, 7th March 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "07/03/2014 - 14:59":


I like your idea to "consider discounting £50 pcm for the right tenant", I think I'll do that. I was a bit worried that the £1,095 I was going to ask for was rather high, and I'd be happy with £1,045 (I was partly basing my price on a new block of 650 sq ft apartments going for £1,100; steep I know!!).

I picked up on the not ruling out pet owners in a link to an article you previously pointed me towards, a must I agree.

Thanks for the tips...

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

15:37 PM, 7th March 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Simon Coppen" at "07/03/2014 - 15:30":

You're very welcome Simon, go £1,100 though, otherwise you will not be at the top of the page 😉

If that doesn't work drop it to £1000 and charge an £50 premium for the car parking space.

Always start at the top end and work down. If you reduce the price to the next bracket your advert gets re-sent to all of the people who are subscribed to be notified of properties in that bracket. Therefore, with the above strategy you hit two bands.

My brother taught me all this stuff by the way - Yes, Adam Alexander is my brother.

Simon Coppen

15:49 PM, 7th March 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "07/03/2014 - 15:37":

Oh, I see.. Nobody is fooled by the 95 being less than 100, so be on top and be the first property they see and fall in love with...!

Thanks again!

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

15:56 PM, 7th March 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Simon Coppen" at "07/03/2014 - 15:49":

You've got it. As they scroll down the properties get cheaper but there's a reason for that 😉

Mary Latham

17:04 PM, 8th March 2014, About 10 years ago

In my opinion it is worth taking new photographs, even if it costs your a couple of days rent. People make decisions on viewings based on area and price first and then the photographs are what makes the difference in a competitive market. Remember that there are many tenants who will prefer a modern but smaller property - its a matter of taste and lifestyle. If your property is unique because it has period features, high ceilings large rooms and windows you need to show these things to advantage to attract the tenants who are looking for that type of property.

I would never make a comparison to other properties, I prefer to let the photographs speak for themselves. I also would not add charges to the rent - I prefer to be transparent in my advertising and in all my dealings with tenants. I do state no administration fees or costs other than deposit and referencing charges of £xy because that does make a difference.

I also advertise that the pets of well behaved owners are very welcome because this increases my potential audience and these tenants tend to stay longer.

If you are going for above market rent you need to justify the extra cost and if you can't perhaps you need to reconsider your rent level - tenants pay for what they want not what you want to sell them and no amount of "marketing" will make a tenant take a property because the landlord thinks its wonderful if they don't agree. I don't want to waste their time and mine showing to people who have unrealistic expectations because I have oversold in my advertising - far better for them to be impressed at viewing because it is better than expected. This has worked for me for all these years and there is no reason why it should not work for you.


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Simon Coppen

0:31 AM, 9th March 2014, About 10 years ago

I agree that getting perfect photos would be worth a couple of days rent. Unfortunately though the purchase has taken longer than it should have and we're now likely to be completing 8 days before we go on holiday. If we advertise between exchange and completion we've got half a chance of getting tenants lined up before we go away. In other words, waiting to get our own photos could cost us several weeks rent.

I think the available photos and advert will be able to justify the above market rent. I like the comment "tenants pay for what they want, not what you want to sell them". I think we'll have what many people in our target audience will want. I feel that, with all the recent big developments in our area, there's a disproportionate number of modern, but very small flats. I've seen some of them and I can only laugh at how a single room with kitchen, dining area and lounge gets called "spacious, open plan living". Maybe others are. Anyhow, the place we're buying felt positively palatial!

p.s. I'm not anti modern apartments, I may even go for one next!

Eleanor White

12:39 PM, 10th March 2014, About 10 years ago

Hi Simon

Sounds like you have a good property! It can be frustrating when you're competing against other agents descriptions, but I like your phrase "genuinely spacious". Fact of the matter is that you can't change their wording, only your own, and there's no harm in blowing your own property's trumpet a little!

Make sure that you have the permission of whoever took the photos before you use them in advertising! Usually agents don't like you to use their photos, unless of course they are acting as the agent for the let!

You will also have to have their permission to advertise the property to let if you are going to do this before you complete....same if you want to do viewings; you will have to have their permission first.

Any good letting agent will be able to tell you very early on whether you have the price right. In my experience it can be difficult to let a property at a premium rate, even if it's totally justified. The simple reason is that someone may look at the price and immediately discount it without looking any further. It's worth considering a premium listing to make sure it gets a good innings! According to rightmove, properties with premium displays receive 26% more click throughs than those without. The beauty for you is that you can display 1 large and 2 small pictures, so viewers can immediately see why your property is available at a premium rate.

As Mark suggests, you may be better placed to price it lower and then charge for parking or a contribution towards the service charge, particularly if you have no luck at the higher rate. One thing to remember is that an agent can change the price on rightmove without the history showing, but this isn't possible on zoopla, so potential tenants will be able to see when it was first listed, and any price changes.

Regarding allowing pets, this is a great way to make sure your property gets a good amount of interest - there are very few that allow pets, so yours will certainly stand out. You should check in the freeholder agreement that you are allowed to have pets though, as some specifically forbid this.

If you are willing and able to accept pets, make sure this is one of the first things you mention in your description. That way it will stand out and be seen in the short description (the first couple of lines that you see about a property on the list of properties that match any given search).




Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

12:56 PM, 10th March 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Eleanor White" at "10/03/2014 - 12:39":

Sorry Eleanor, I had to remove the final line from your otherwise excellent comment as it was in breach of our house rules - please see >>>

Eleanor White

13:21 PM, 10th March 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "10/03/2014 - 12:56":

Sorry Mark!

Simon Coppen

15:08 PM, 10th March 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Eleanor White" at "10/03/2014 - 12:39":

Many thanks Eleanor for your comments, especially regarding gaining permission from the agent for using their photos and advertising early (I wouldn't be doing viewings before completion). The estate agent has been helpful so far, and if he refuses I can politely advise him that we'd have to put completion back a few weeks so that I can take my own when back from holiday...!!

I've done a lot of research into the price, but of course can't be 100% sure that it's a price people will want to pay. The price is inbetween that of a letting agent valuation (but they're also selling the property, so very biased of course!) and the BTL mortgage valuation (who I assume will be slightly pessimistic about rental income). I certainly won't be stubborn about the price though, and will drop if necessary. I guess £1100 is an awkward price, a lot of people may be searching with their maximum at a nice round £1000. I haven't ruled out the idea of advertising at £1000 and adding on £50 for maintenance, but wonder if this looks a bit sneaky...

Thanks again for the advice.

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