Newbie Long distance Landlord - Help finding a new tenant

I am new to openrent and have advertised my property for 7 days, had an offer and a holding deposit only for the tenant to drop out.

I have an automatic screening questionnaire, then proceed to phone the tenants, arrange viewings and then I plan to complete all viewings, review all offers and ask for bank statements/payslips and then select one group for referencing. After this, I will ask the selected tenants to place a holding deposit.

I had a few questions about this process which I think most landlords use:

  1. Do you phone prospective tenants before offering them a viewing? I have to pay someone to do the viewing for me as I am not local therefore want to make sure they are serious contenders.

  2. How do you reduce the risk of tenants not turning up for viewings (which will cost me money)?

  3. Do you perform interviews after the viewing for those tenants you like most?

  4. Do you perform referencing before or after getting a holding deposit? If after, then how do you prevent the situation of them finding another property whilst you are waiting for references (which can take a couple of days) and therefore lose money?

  5. Do you reference more than one group of tenants at one go accepting the extra cost as an insurance policy should the above happen or they fail referencing?

Any other comments/suggestions welcome. I am finding the whole process quite difficult as I find tenants put pressure on you to give them answers and I find it difficult to know if they are genuine or not.

My initial experience has not left me with much confidence so am thinking of returning to a LA but I am willing to give it another go…

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I ask questions thru openrent Let the best ones view one after the other . NO PHONE NUMBER GIVEN. Choose the best and reference then. Also ask questions DURING the viewings

Thanks Colin. I don’t live local to the property. I pay someone else to do the viewings for me as it is not worth the time and cost of going all the way to the property which is 4 hours away from where I live. This is why I am asking if you think I should perform an interview before or afterwards

There is nothing like your own gut feeling to size up a tenant face to face . I am 1 and half hours away from my places , which is not too bad

You’d be wise to do the viewings yourself. Arrange them all on the same day to save yourself time and travel. Interviews don’t really tell you much, but watching the potential tenants as they view will generally tell you what you need to know. Referencing will get the details. Holding deposit first, then referencing.

If your property is good and you have the price right, it will more than likely let within a couple of days.

I know some landlords on here do not recommend it, but I did used to talk on the phone with them prior to granting a viewing. (I too was a long way away.)

Just let them talk. You would be surprised what they tell you.

I eliminated quite a few this way.

Thank you for your advice. It would be good to hear from other long distance landlords to see how they run their process as it seems as though people do it differently eg speak to them first vs message only, take deposit before or after referencing.

Thank you

If you are paying someone to do viewings ( as I had to) I would speak with them as you would be paying out a fortune otherwise.

You have pre-screening questions so if you believe someone is serious take the holding deposit before, as you say they could still he looking otherwise and if they have lied in their answers to your questionnaire I believe you can then keep the holding deposit towards any loss you have incurred.

Many thanks for this advice. I have decided to bite the bullet and do the viewings myself. I think it is a good idea to meet the new tenants and also see the condition of the flat as well. Many thanks all.