Why is ‘Let time’ so important?

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I have been involved in Lettings for over 10 years now and one thing still continues to surprise me, why do landlords not take ‘Let Time’ in to account?

Just last week I was talking to a Warrington based Landlord who has four rental properties, they were all managed by a well know, high street agent.

Two of his properties were empty, when I asked why he said ‘the market is slow this time of year’, I was surprised to learn that one had been empty for 7 weeks and the other 4 weeks.

Over the past eight years he had been meticulous in his accounting and had records for everything from new boilers to light bulbs, so it seemed strange to me that he had never calculated the effects of ‘let time’.  

I asked him what his current agents average time was to let a property in a particular area and he didn’t know, he called his agent when he was with me, and they didn’t know either.

We were able to calculate that over the past three years his average let time had been 42 days per property, which cost him over £1900.

There are only ever three reasons why a property doesn’t rent, first is the price, second is the condition and third is how its marketed. We discussed his properties in more detail and it was clear they were all very well maintained and were achieving average rents.

When we looked more closely at how they were being marketed it became apparent why they were taking over a month to let. We discovered his agent doesn’t do evening or weekend viewings (vital if you’re looking for a professional tenant who works full time), the online descriptions were all wrong and the photos looked as though they’d been taken on a disposable camera.

I asked him to give me a shot at marketing the two empty properties, which he agreed to. We arranged photos, wrote up a description and had them online the following day. My colleague Luke did a ‘phone out’, which consists of calling all potential applicants registered on our system. Within 2 days we had four viewings arranged on both properties and within eleven days both were let.

Warrington’s property market is thriving and we are expecting to get even busier this year with the completion of the Time Square shopping complex which is set to create 500+ jobs.

At the start of 2019 our average ‘tenant find’ time was 2-3 weeks, however towards the end of 2019 we saw this drop to an average of 10 days, I believe by summer 2020 we could be looking at an average let time of 7 days per property.

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