The human mind is a funny thing. Sometimes it’s hard to explain the decisions we make. The smallest detail can be the difference between picking one item over another, with personal taste and emotion often cited as the reason behind our choices.
What does all this have to do with letting agents, you ask? Having done lots of deals on rental properties, and shown home after home, you’ve probably seen more than a few renters pick one property over another - sometimes for reasons you can’t quite understand.
It might leave you feeling a bit helpless as Rachel picks the cul-de-sac in Fulham over the river-facing apartment in Hammersmith for reasons unbeknownst to you. But there are a few things you can do to give the renter a little nudge in the right direction. We’ve explored some of the motives behind renters’ decisions and how you can be better prepared for them.
Renters often have a wish list when they start their property search. Sooner or later, that list of magical requirements reduces as their budget dictates their desires. But there are some elements where budging on certain stipulations is absolutely set in stone.
- Max price: while some renters might be inclined to slightly increase their budget for the perfect property, the amount will likely be minimal. If a renter says they aren’t willing to pay over £1,500 per month, there is no point showing them properties £200/300 over their budget.
- Minimum Number of bedrooms: if would-be renters say they want a two-bedroom flat, there is probably a good reason - even if it’s a single person or a couple. In fact, the minimum number of bedrooms is probably one of the least negotiable terms.
- Move-in date: it’s not uncommon for renters to move from one rental home to another. The move-in date plays a vital role in the list of requirements as one tenancy ends and another begins.
- Furnished/Unfurnished: renters might want a home furnished. Then again, they might prefer it unfurnished. It really is 50/50. Some prefer to decorate their own home, while others like to move into one that is fully decorated and has furniture. Renters who have furniture from their previous place though, will not want to be going into a fully furnished property! Because where will all their stuff go?!
- Pets: renters with pets will only look for properties that are welcoming to their little furry friends. Dave isn’t leaving Rover behind for that one-bed property in Mayfair, no matter how plush it is.
Think of the above as the “make or break” list of requirements for renters. It will be hard to sway their decision if they are set on a particular price point, how many bedrooms rooms, move-in date or furnishing status. More often than not, they aren’t willing to budge too much on these particulars.
The “Not a Deal-Breaker” List
While the number of bedrooms could prove decisive when Laura and Daniel make a decision on which property to take, the availability of a parking space might not be so pressing. This is where your role as the agent can be the difference-maker, persuading them to take a property even though it doesn’t tick every single box.
Some nice-to-have requirements might include:
- Open plan/detached kitchen: some renters prefer an open plan kitchen. Others like to keep the aromas of the kitchen separate.
- Double Glazing: Sure, everyone wants to be super warm in those colder months. But then they find a Grade II listed building just five minutes away from Selfridges and decide they can live without feeling their toes throughout the winter.
- Parking: it seems that most people in London don’t drive, yet there are so many cars on the road (what’s that about?). There is usually a workaround for parking. If Jill really loves that studio in Shoreditch, she’ll probably make do with permit parking.
- Garden: everyone loves the idea of their own tranquil green space. Well, at least they do until the winter months hit and all that’s left to do is clear the weeds out.
- Balcony: there is a certain je ne sais quoi about balconies. They’re a bit like convertibles. They look nice, but London is cold for 10 months of the year, which means you don’t get much use out of them.
Use your power of persuasion to show them the positive side of a property. Maybe a home doesn’t have a garden but it’s within a two-minute walk to lots of shops, restaurants and parks. Or there is no parking space, but permit parking is only x amount per year and the property is a five-minute stroll to a tube station.
If you know everything about the property and the local area, you will be ready to counter their questions and turn them into an outcome that pleases everyone.
Don’t Promise the World. Just Be Responsive and Informative
Renters just want the best information so they can make an informed decision about their next home. That’s why knowledge is power for letting agents. Knowing all of the intricate details of your area puts you in a stronger position to offer the best advice. And that can go a long way.
Prepare well by asking as many questions as possible before offering viewings. Dig deeper than the usual “budget”, “no. of rooms”, “property type” questions and ask how close they want to be to public transport. Or tell them where they can find the local parks and information about the best places to eat in the area.
Most of all, be responsive. We’ve known many renters who ended up moving on from a property they liked just because the agent was unresponsive and seemed disinterested. It’s so important to provide a 5-star service in this day and age, going the extra mile when necessary. Especially in a world where there is total transparency over customer service.
How Movebubble Can Help You
With the Movebubble app, you'll get all the basic renter details upfront. It saves you loads of time asking those qualifying questions when you can just tap into the renter's profile once and see the details. Movebubble renters complete their profile details just once, and it's sent out with all their enquiries. Can you imagine how boring it is to phone agent after agent and have to answer the SAME questions 20 times? You must have experienced this too!
Suggest More Properties
The other cool feature that the Movebubble app offers negotiators is the ability to suggest additional or alternative properties to the renter. In two taps you can see a full list of your properties, and send over any that match the renter's requirements. Suggesting properties really helps to make sure you're the agent to help the renter find a new home. It's helpful to the renter and also makes sure that you do the most number of deals possible!
Be a 5* Agent
After taking the renter on a viewing, they'll be prompted to rate you. This is your chance to build your reputation as a superstar agent, and then use this to your advantage! We list all our partner agents on our Landlord portal, have you seen it? Click here and search your postcode to see the competition to beat in your area!
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
Sometimes decisions are taken out of our hand, which is why it’s so important to get on top of the outcomes you can control. Thinking like a renter (many of you may even be tenants) will help you understand their pain points and offer the best advice, making soon-to-be tenants more inclined to use your agency in the process.