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How-to find tenants before your property is complete

Finding tenants for a house that is still under construction, or where work isn't quite completed yet, can be challenging. These early voids may seem negligible, but even a few weeks of a property being empty adds £££ to your overall development cost and in markets where timing is key (student academic years / serviced accommodation high season) even more can be at stake...

Getting a property staged, photographed, on the market, viewings held, tenants selected and vetted can take 6 weeks for example on a 5 bed HMO with an average monthly room rent of £550 per month...

£137.50 (weekly average) x 5 rooms x 6 weeks empty = £4,125

That's £4,125 that could've been in your pocket, rather than flying out the door!

Now we said it's tricky to fill a house BUT it's not impossible! We've had many clients rent or sell properties, plus fill their HMOs, whilst the actual house has been a building site.

So how can you do it too?


Not just for high-end sales these days, renders and visuals can help sell the dream to potential tenants as well as buyers. Our clients regularly use our render service to showcase properties early to the market, visual representations really help potential tenants envision themselves living in the space, but it's always helpful to show any images alongside a site visit to view the actual spaces. Be transparent about the current condition of the house and clearly state what work is yet to be completed. Provide accurate timelines for completion and any assurances or guarantees you can offer regarding the quality of the finished product.

NB if you use renders you must make sure the standard reflects the quality of the visuals to avoid disappointment! What really helps is if you have...

Render for L&K Estates to showcase rooms to potential tenants

Previous Properties

Having previous examples of similar finished properties that can be viewed in person is always a great resource to show the standard of your work. Seeing a completed property reassures tenants and builds trust in you as a developer, that you'll meet expectations.

Collaborating with a local agent or university that knows you produce quality housing also helps to build your reputation within an area or target tenant group. Aside from that, they can help you connect with prospective tenants and navigate the process more efficiently.

Leverage your platforms — you NEVER know who's watching!

If you're on Instagram, Facebook or have any existing platform either online or in real life — start shouting about your project early! you never know who's listening (or who has a friend of a friend in need of a property). Project updates are a great way to get people engaged in what you're doing and you never know who might be on the lookout for a new place in your area.

Network Offline

It's not what you know it's who you know!

I admit networking or cold calling is not always the easiest thing to do, but if leads aren't coming from inside your existing circle, reach out to nearby companies, organisations, or universities to see if they have any employees or students who may be interested in renting the property.

Networking locally can help you find potential tenants who may be more open to the idea of moving into a house that is not yet completed. Be specific in who you target, for example in the rental space, young professionals, students, or individuals who are relocating, all may be more open to viewing something under construction.

Make your future self's life easier — stay in touch!

Anytime you have a project on the market, there's always people you wish you could offer the property to, but just don't have enough rooms. Ask any unsuccessful applicants if they would like to be kept informed of any future developments you might have in the pipeline, and make them your first port of call on the next project.

Keep interested parties informed about the progress of the construction. Regularly share updates, photographs, or virtual tours to build excitement and maintain their interest in the property until you have a set completion date.

Be accommodating & incentivise if you have to...

During the tenant screening process, be responsive to inquiries, and address any concerns they may have about the unfinished work. Offer flexibility in terms of move-in dates or any necessary adjustments to the lease agreement. Especially if this is your first project, being accommodating or even offering incentives (e.g. reduced rent for first month) can make up for the uncertainty or any inconvenience.

Remember, it's crucial to manage expectations and be transparent throughout the process. Clearly communicate the potential risks, benefits, and timelines involved to ensure a positive experience for both you and the tenants.

Just remember...having a house filled before it's ready is a great way to avoid any loss of income...but it does mean you need to finish on time!

Happy tenant finding!


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