Let’s set the scene: you are showing someone a one-bedroom apartment with lots of natural light. You turn to the potential renter and ask, “what do you think?” They swiftly respond with a polite smile and say “I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either”... 🧐
It sounds like you might have something to work with right? Think again. “I can’t stand it. I hate it, and never want to lay eyes on it again once the viewing is over”, is what they actually think. As an agent, it can be hard to decipher what renters mean when talking about a property.
However, asking tactical questions is a good way of reading between the lines and getting a better understanding of what a renter “really means”. If you can get on the same page as renters, the chances of helping them find their perfect place, while boosting your profile, will increase.
That’s why we’re taking a closer look at those times renters say one thing but mean something else entirely. We'll also look at how to solve the jargon code and be even more awesome as one of London’s best agents.
What They Say Vs What They Mean
What are some of the things that renters say compared to what they mean? Here’s a few to look out for.
What They Say: “It’s a quiet, well-behaved dog.”
What They Mean: “I have a normal dog, and it does normal dog things.”
What They Say: “I’ll meet you at the property.”
What They Mean: “I’ll be at Starbucks around the corner frappuccinoing it up until you call me.”
What They Say: “I’ll discuss with my partner later tonight.”
What They Mean: “My partner is going to hate it, but I'm to polite to say.”
What They Say: “Does it have parking outside?”
What They Mean: “I don’t even drive, but where on earth is my uber driver supposed to stop.?”
What They Say: “How big is the oven?”
What They Mean: “I don’t cook but I’ll need extra storage for my shoes”
What They Say: “Can you tell me a bit about the local area?”
What They Mean: “What restaurants are available on Deliveroo?”
What They Say: “Are you available to show the flat this weekend?”
What They Mean: “I work 9-6 and just don’t have the time or energy to see something during the week”
What They Say: “No one got back to me”
What They Mean” “I didn’t get a reply within five minutes of my enquiry”
What They Say: “I’d like to live close to work”
What They Mean: “I need to be close to a tube station that’s ideally on the same line as my work”
What They Say: “Tell me a bit more about the area please”
What They Mean: “I’ve just moved to London and don’t even know where I am. Is this a cool place to live?”
What They Say: “Our budget is £2,000 per month max”
What They Mean: “If you find us our dream property, we’ll stretch it to £2,250”
Asking the Right Questions 💬
Instead of playing a game of cat and mouse, trying to crack the code in the process, being upfront with renters is likely to be more helpful. They have busy schedules and don’t often have time to answer a million questions.
Be available and be quick to respond to any questions. While on the viewing, try and nip potential questions in the bud before they have even has a chance to ask them. “It doesn’t come with a parking space, but it’s a quiet street that is nice and easy for the Uber driver to stop”.
“You work near St Paul’s, you say? The Northern Line goes from Archway straight to Bank, where it’s just a five-min walk to St Paul’s. Nice and convenient.”
It's also good to get as much information as you can about the renter before the viewing. That way you can offer them the best possible advice.
You will know more than most that renters may actually be flexible on most aspects of the property, other than maybe the minimum number of bedrooms and their pet. No way are they leaving little Rover behind 🐕
Renters might come in with a list of initial requirements, but if you’re upfront about everything, soon you'll find a willingness to compromise from their side. They'll appreciate your honesty and value your guidance to helping them get the best place that they'll love living in.
Some agents may have built a reputation that makes it seem like they only care about getting people in properties to make their commission. But in this day and age, with online review systems and more transparency, it’s in an agent’s best interests to provide an honest, and genuinely helpful service.
Now that you have some translations about what renters really mean, you can get on top of your lettings game and become an A-star agent. We'd also love to know about funny stories you might have about what renters say vs what they mean. Sound off in the comments below.