Legend tells of one estate agent who described a driveway as a ‘multi-vehicular block paviour parking facility’. That is not the sort of description you want in your advert. Edit out the syrup (see jargon buster below), but make sure you include everything a tenant really wants to know:
Where? State not only the area (and don’t call it central Manchester when it’s actually Salford Quays), but also how far it is in distance – not minutes – from transport, shops, restaurants and parks.
What? Is it a flat? Terraced house? Detached? People like to know these things. How many bedrooms are there, and how big? It’s not a double if fitting in the world’s smallest double bed means you can’t open the door. Mention whether it’s furnished or not. Highlight any pluses, such as private parking, a separate entrance, wooden floors, exposed beams or high ceilings. And say if it has a shower, as people like us won’t bite if it lacks one. (But please don’t say it ‘benefits from a bath fitted within and a shower-mixer unit’. Spare us.)
When? From which date is it available?
Who? Specify your tenant preference, for example ‘no students or housing benefit’. ‘Deposit and references required’ will discourage those on an income too low for the rent. Even better, appeal directly to your ideal tenant with a phrase like ‘to suit couple/three sharers’.
How much? To attract the most (and best) applicants, you need to get your asking rent just right. Set it £10 or so below the going rate you’ve worked out by using the valuation process we described in Chapter 2 ‘Run your numbers’, and the phone will soon be ringing. But get the rent wrong and it will stay silent, with all your hard work being for nowt.
Telling the world that your property is ‘spectacular’ doesn’t mean anything. Rather, show why it’s so spectacular:
2 bed flat to rent | £3,000 pcm (£692 pw)
Trebovir Road, Earls Court, London SW5
This two-bedroom penthouse with a private lift, on the fifth floor of a stucco-fronted terrace in the heart of Earls Court, has an L-shaped open-plan kitchen/dining/living room offering great views through 6ft windows on two sides. Off the living area is a sizeable private roof terrace, landscaped with mature container plants.
Both bedrooms are spacious doubles with built-in wardrobes and dark wooden floors; both bathrooms have showers, one of them walk-in. On a quiet side road, the flat is 400yd from Earls Court Tube station (District and Piccadilly lines) and its surrounding delis, shops and restaurants.
Available furnished or unfurnished from March 1. To suit a professional couple or two sharers; deposit and references required.
» Jargon buster
Chelsea (replace area name as appropriate) West: the dodgy bit just west of the posh bit.
Compact: you can cook dinner while showering.
Community feel: curtain-twitcher lives across the road.
Convenient location: above a kebab shop.
Deceptively spacious: you’ve been deceived if you think this is spacious.
Excellent transport links: next to the M25.
Garden flat: damp, dark hovel in the basement.
Immaculately presented: no kids, no stuff, no life. If you move in, it won’t look like that.
Low-maintenance courtyard garden: concrete postage stamp prone to weeds.
Within easy reach of local schools: you’ll be picking the yoofs’ empty crisp packets out of the privet after every lunch break.