In this article I show you how to make your spare room instantly more attractive than the vast majority of those available on the market. Follow these simple (but often overlooked) steps, and you should have an army of potential lodgers eager to move in.
- Write a killer advert. Potential lodgers will be reading a lot of them, so keep your advert short, clear and informative.
- Set a realistic rent. If you charge a little less than the market rate you will widen your market considerably, set it too low however, and people will perceive the property as being down-market.
- Include most bills in the rent. A fixed cost is attractive to anyone on a budget.
- A potential lodger will simply drive past if your property does not appear clean and well maintained from the outside. Make sure the parking facilities match those stated in the advert.
- Ensure your property is spotless. No dust, clutter or odour. If you have pets, mention them in your advert and make sure that they are well behaved. The first hint of a pest problem is guaranteed to sent any potential lodger running for the hills.
- Give a good personal impression. You are under scrutiny just as much as the room. Being well organised says this is a hassle-free place to live. Draw up a short document anticipating everything a potential lodger is likely to need to know in making a decision. Include such things as:
- the room - dimensions, inventory and photo
- estimated cost of bills per month
- house rules such as out of bounds rooms
- special considerations such as parking permits
- do not include sensitive information such as alarm codes.
- Make sure the room is ready for immediate occupation. A lodger will want to see exactly what they will get. Do this even if you are not ready for someone to move in just yet.
- Make sure that the property is safe. Have up to date regulatory documentation. In the UK, you will need a CORGI gas safety certificate, and it’s a good idea also to have a full electrical safety check of your appliances (“portable appliance test”). Other things to consider are your home insurance, fire safety, and smoke/CO2 detectors.
- Take an interest in them. Where do they work, what do they do? What do they like to do with their spare time? This will help you determine if you are likely to get on and if your lifestyles are going to conflict with one another.
- Follow up. You are likely to already have an email address or telephone number, but if not, it does no harm to ask for them as the lodger is leaving. If they like the place they will most likely give it to you. Follow up with a call a few days later, and find out what they thought. Any negative comments can be worked on for the next lodger.
If you follow these simple steps, you will have differentiated yourself and your property from 90% of those on offer in the marketplace, and have your pick of who to offer the room to.