Without trying to sound like a Game of Thrones episode, winter is coming. Typically, Wellington has turned on summer for a month and now it seems as though we are back to the cool winds that the ‘Coolest Little Capital’ has become known for! Yet, while the days get shorter and the temperatures cool, Wellington’s rental market has started to slow down. This is in line with the pattern we see every year, but what does that mean for you if you have a property to rent in the winter months? Is it possible? What can you do to attract tenants? Lucky for you, we’ve put together a quick guide so you can beat the winter blues and make sure residents are queuing up!
1. Make it warm
With all of the headlines in the media recently about cold, dark and damp properties, there is nothing worse than a resident walking in to a cold home. Get your residents inside, out of the wind and the rain to a place they will want to be! Turn your heat pump on 20 minutes before the viewing so that your resident steps into a cosy, dry home. Heating is a huge concern for residents, so if you don’t have any, get some! As an owner you are obligated by the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill to have an appropriately sized heat pump installed in the living room. Tenants will love a property that will be comfortable to live in. You don’t need double glazing and a heat pump in every room, but panel heaters in the bedrooms are a great way to attract residents!
2. Think about daylight
Some homes in Wellington are drenched in sun all year round. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for every home. Make the most of the daylight hours and try, where possible, to show your prospective resident the property during the day. In the dark it can be difficult for people to gauge if it is a property that they want to live in and the chances are that they will probably want to come back up and have a look in the daylight anyway. Think about the time that you show your prospective resident round and remember, the lighter and the sunnier the better! Also if you are doing night time viewings, ensure you get the power connected temporarily whilst it is vacant so you don’t have to do viewings by torchlight!
3. Private viewings instead of group viewings
Residents don’t only look at the home when considering renting, but they also buy into the owner. If you have a group viewing with multiple groups of renters, the last thing anyone is going to want to do is hang around in the cold and the dark, after a long day at work to have a chat with you, the owner, to find out if it’s a match made in heaven! When winter hits, private viewings are a fantastic way to show people through. By limiting the number of prospective residents, not only do you get to know each person a little better, but they get to know you too, giving you a great chance to sell your home, and yourself, to them! They will have more choice of property in winter months with less competition so make sure to go above and beyond for them!
4. Help your resident get there
The beautiful thing about Wellington is that you can walk almost everywhere. The bad thing about Wellington is that there are some days where you wouldn’t want to! If it is cold, raining, windy or dark, think about your prospective resident and how they are getting to the property to view it. Maybe you could offer to pick them up on your way to the property after work or you could recommend which bus route stops closest to the property. Both of these will not only guarantee that your prospect shows up to the viewing, but will also show your that you are willing to go the extra mile.
5. Be flexible
Unfortunately, winter for many isn’t a time where you achieve the premium price that you were hoping to get as the number of resident looking for property reduces dramatically as it gets colder. As a owner, you may have to be open to negotiation with your resident, either on the length of the lease, the price you rent it at or even the start date. Don’t be afraid of negotiating as a owner. The reality of it is, more tenants will appreciate your flexibility and you’ll rent your home faster reducing vacancy. Of course, if you have twenty groups looking to move in you don’t need to, but be realistic about the situation and prioritise what is most important to you. If vacancy is ok, you may not need to budge on the price you can achieve.