How early do you start advertising?

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  • How early do you start advertising?

    I manage my own properties and have always waited until I have a vacant flat which is ready for letting before I start advertising.

    I have a tenant due to leave in one month and I am concerned that the later I leave the advertising, the harder it will be to fill the flat, given the time of year.

    So, my question is this - how early do you start your advertising for a new tenant. Do you wait until the property is empty? Do you start advertising as soon as notice is given (if you are sure the tenant will leave, that is). Do you put out a preliminary advert, by this I mean one stating you have a property coming up and contact now to avoid disappointment?

    I do not really want to ask to show people round while the existing tenant is still there, I have always considered the property is not shown at its best with other peoples belongings in.

    What are your thoughts or policies?

  • #2
    If you are not keen to show people round while a tenant is still in situ, then you are best leaving it until they have left. Personally I have no problem with advertising it as soon as a tenant gives me notice, but only because I have a good working relationship with them. If you are not confident, then the best advice to anyone is wait until they have left!


    • #3
      First ask yourself how sure you are that the property will become vacant. Is it simply the end of the tenancy period, in which case the tenant has no obligation to actually leave, or have they clearly (in writing) stated they will leave on that date, in which case the tenant has no obligation to actually leave.
      If there is no question, not a doubt in your mind, unequivocal evidence that you will have a vacant flat, then go ahead and advertise. You should already have photos of the property from before it was last let. Ensure prospective tenants are aware it is still occupied and that the current tenants are entitled to be there, with their possessions.
      Does your current tenancy agreement allow for viewings during the tenancy period, and if so, what notice do you need to give the current incumbents.
      Personally, I believe you should built relet time into your void expectations. That, however depends on the area, desirability, cost etc.
      I may be a housing professional but my views, thoughts, opinions, advice, criticisms or otherwise on this board are mine and are not representative of my company, colleagues, managers. I am here as an independent human being who simply wants to learn new stuff, share ideas and interact with like minded people.


      • #4
        One big advantage to advertising while a tenant is still there is that you can try the property at an inflated price, as you will have some time to spare. When advertising an empty property there is always the danger of a long void and money being lost while trying it on!


        • #5
          Thanks for the thoughts so far. I have received notice in writing and I am certain the tenant will leave as they have changed their job and need to move for a shorter commute. The tenant is only occasionally there from what I understand with conversations with her about this so I cannot be certain even with her permission to show prospective tenants round, that the flat will be presentable enough if she wasn't expecting a viewing the last time she was there (if you see what I mean).

          I do have a clause in the AST for showing tenant round. I would always speak to the tenant to arrange a viewing prior to showing anyone round and we have a good working relationship which enables me to do this.


          • #6
            I start asking my tenants at the 3 month mark if they know what their intensions are for 1 Year fixed terms TA. Where they plan to move I get it in writing. I tend to advertise 2 months in advance and found tenants almost immediately. I initially thought this may be too soon however it appears not to be. An agent used to do this for me, however I have started using an Online agent and I had loads of interest with the first couple of days and the first person to view took it.


            • #7
              I always wait until my properties are empty before advertising. Once empty I give them a thorough check over, run the taps check lights etc etc. I think the only void I've had was for maybe 4 weeks so I'm not really that keen on showing prospective tenants around an occupied property when I'm happy to swallow the 4 week loss.


              • #8
                I'm with Kape65.

                Any time I have taken someone on quickly, I find myself working evenings on the place to try to get it ready. Frankly that is stress I could do without.


                • #9
                  One month before, usually have a waiting list by the time it is empty.


                  • #10
                    reading these posts it's obvious to me that the answer to the OP will depend on a huge number of factors that differ from property to property and location to location. The LL's preferences and cash flow also come into it.

                    In our main area of letting, long-ish voids are a very real risk so we advertise asap. In another area, we can get tenants at the drop of a hat because there are hardly any properties like the ones we have available.

                    In the end, only you will know how long is ideal and you'll only know that from experience.


                    • #11
                      Thank you to everyone who replied to me. I suppose it was a 'how long is a piece of string' question.

                      I think judging by peoples thought here, I will continue as I normally do although I will start advertising earlier. I will probably start advertising this week in anticipation of the tenant moving out next month. I will collect a list of potential tenants and arrange viewings once the existing tenant has left and I have given the flat a deep clean.

                      I am not too worried about the cashflow aspect - other than trying to minimise the time without an income from this flat - it is factored into the Big Plan! Also, the flat is newly refurbished 6 months ago so I am hoping there is no real work other than a clean to do.

                      The flat is actually in the town next to Blackpool, the real trouble I have is fending off people who I do not meet my criteria as a tenant. (No I am not channelling Fergus Wilson either! - I simply want reliable working tenants who will pay their own rent reliably!) It is not an area renowned for working tenants so finding the right person does take a little more time.

                      Thanks everyone, I do enjoy reading different opinions on the same subject.


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