find me a tenant - let's begin

Find a tenant

Looking to find a tenant for your residential property in Singapore and wondering what happens after you contact me?

 

Before I continue further, I would like to state that I only handle Singapore properties (residential, commercial, industrial) and whole unit rental. I do not handle room rental or rental of overseas properties. I also do not help to find roommate.

 

Now that I have gotten that out of the way, let me touch on what happens when you engage me to help you look for a tenant for your rental property.

 

1. Do you have ready tenants?

This is one of the all time favourite questions that landlords contacting me for the first time, like to ask. My answer is, yes and no.

 

No:

There are some property agencies and property agents in Singapore who are 100% focused on helping tenants (either new to Singapore or already in Singapore for some time) find properties to rent. Such agencies and agents (let’s just call them property agent from this point) usually have some kind of agreement with the human resource departments in some companies whereby any expat staff who requires accommodation will be directed to a particular property agent to help them.

 

So a typical work week for such a property agent will look something like this,

  • shortlisting suitable properties for the tenants he has been assigned
  • taking tenants out for viewing
  • negotiating rental deals
  • completing paperwork
  • attending to tenancy issues

 

This property agent is focused 100% on helping the tenants to look for properties and usually does not do much marketing of properties (acting for landlord to market). Such property agents can say they have “ready tenants” but whether the landlord’s property meets the tenant’s requirements is another story.

 

When landlords ask me whether I have “ready tenants”, usually I have to tell them no. This is because I am not a tenant based agent and depending on when contact is made, I may or may not be helping a tenant to look for a property at that point in time.

 

Yes:

In my work, I work with all types of property clients – buyers, sellers, tenants & landlords. Some corporations but mostly individuals. Since I have been in this industry for a number of years, I do have loyal tenants that I have helped for years and still continue to do so. Depending on the time of the year, I may have situations where I am helping my existing tenants or new tenants (just arrived) look for suitable rental properties to rent.

 

My definition of “ready tenants” is having tenants (who are ready or about to move) where the landlord’s property fits the tenant’s requirements. That makes the tenant ready to take the property.

 

So if a landlord calls me at a time when I happen to be helping a tenant and the landlord’s property meets the tenant’s requirement, then I can say “yes, I have ready tenant for you”.

2. So what is going to happen if there is no ready tenant?

Every landlord loves a “ready tenant” but the reality is 99% of the rental properties out there did not get rented to a “ready tenant” the moment it was vacant and ready for occupation.

 

There is no cause for panic if there is no ready tenant. We just have to go the normal route of marketing the unit so that prospective tenants or agents helping tenants can take notice. Some landlords on hearing this, tell me to call them when I have “ready tenant” and then the conversation ends. This is perplexing to be honest as it it serves no financial benefits when one forgoes active marketing in favour of waiting. Active marketing is really the way to go.

 

However, there are a few things that we have to understand and get right when it comes to marketing a rental property in order to achieve an optimum outcome.

 

find a tenant - see the property

3. Let’s see the property

If we are still talking at this point, I will arrange a convenient time for me to visit your rental property and to take photos. It is absolutely crucial for me to see the property at least once before I start marketing to find a tenant for you because I need to know how to properly describe the property to interested tenants. This visit also offers me the opportunity to share what can be done to enhance the desirability of the property.

 

These are the factors that affect how fast a rental property moves:

 

a. Singapore’s rental market condition

The rental market condition has a heavy influence on demand for rental properties and rental prices. It is important for landlords to be informed about market condition in order to make sound decisions regarding their rental properties. They can do this by either actively reading and following the rental market or by working with active property agents who are on the ground.

 

However, there are two categories of landlords that are more susceptible to getting the rental market condition wrong.

 

i. The 1st category is landlords that are based overseas. As they are based overseas, they may be less in tune with the rental market and very often have wrong price expectation.

 

ii. The 2nd category is landlords who have only one rental property and this rental property has been rented out for many years to the same tenant. It is not surprising to have cases where the landlord and tenant are both out of tune with the rental market over time. When this rental property hits the market again, the landlord ends up having the wrong price expectation because he has been receiving good rent for many years and expects the next tenant to pay the same rent.

 

You need to understand where the demand and competition are coming from.

 

b. Property’s rental price

A property’s rental price is probably the most important consideration for most tenants.

 

A very quick way to check if the rental unit is competitively priced is to use its asking rental price to check what kind of similar units are available in the same neighbourhood/district for the same price.

 

The next step is to compare it against the historical price trend for the property/project/street/district and you will be able to derive a price band.

 

The majority of the rental properties on the market will fall within this price band. This is because these properties are used solely for rental purposes and in most likelihood, the landlords may not have stayed in them at all. That means such units typically have minimal renovation and simple fixtures. 80% of the properties fall under this category.

 

The type of rental properties that will command above the average price band are typically the ones that were previously owner occupied and entering the market for the first time. Such properties are usually very well maintained and are tastefully renovated with good quality fixtures. At any one time, such properties may form 5% to 10% of the properties available for rent.

 

Then there is the last group that falls below the average band. They are usually run down and jaded looking with very old/rusted fixtures. They form about 10% of the supply.

 

c. Property condition

As mentioned in the previous point, pleasant and well maintained property naturally attracts more tenants. In many cases, a simple fresh coat of paint may be all that is required to enhance the property.

 

d. Location and accessibility

Most tenants in Singapore do not drive as most cannot come to terms with how much a car cost in Singapore. As such, easy access to the MRT station is usually very important for them. Properties nearer to the train station are always in demand and generally speaking, will be able to command higher rent compared to similar ones that are located further away.

 

e. Built-in furniture

Built-in furniture (especially the older ones) usually do not work well for rental properties. This is because these were originally done up to meet the specific needs of the landlord (or previous owner) and very often, negatively affect how the tenant may use the room or area.

 

In many cases, landlords are reluctant to remove the built-in furniture because of sentimental reasons or find it a waste to do so. But what they fail to realise is the cost of leaving the unit vacant is higher than the cost of removing the built-in furniture.

 

f. Furnishing

This can work both ways. But in general, tenants looking for units with at least 3 bedrooms, usually have their own furniture. While those looking for units with 1 or 2 bedrooms, have an equal chance of having or not having furniture.

 

Based on the factors discussed above, I will recommend what I feel is a realistic rental price to aim for and anything you can do to enhance the desirability of the unit.

 

Once the property is ready, I will take photos and begin actively marketing the unit.

 

find a tenant - tenant assessment

4. Tenant assessment

During the marketing of the unit, I will do my best to assess if the prospective tenant will make a good tenant. Different people may have different definition of what makes a good tenant.

 

To me, a good tenant is someone who is,

  • fair and reasonable
  • prompt in rental payment
  • friendly and easy to talk to
  • looks after and maintains the place well

 

But you have to take note that accuracy of the assessment will only be confirmed after the tenant moves in. Have I ever assessed a tenant incorrectly? Unfortunately yes. But thankfully, not often.

 

5. Negotiation, closing & handover

Once an acceptable offer comes in, I will assist you to negotiate the terms of the tenancy. When the tenancy agreement is signed, all that is left is to carry out the list of requests that a tenant has (if there is any), prepare the inventory list and get ready to handover the unit to the tenant.

 

During the actual day of the handover, it is up to you whether to be present.

 

And we are done! 🙂

 

6. One final important note

We (landlord and I) are essentially business partners. It is very important to me that we are on the same page when it comes to handling issues related to tenants. It makes it a lot easier for us to work together.

 

I always believe that we should handle things in a fair and reasonable manner. When working with a landlord, I will make sure that the landlord’s interests are protected and that he or she will not be taken advantage of. Unfortunately I have come across landlords who were purposely out to take advantage of their tenants through me.

 

This is something that I find very hard to do on a personal level and I will not hesitate to resign from acting for such landlords. Thankfully, most of the landlords that I work with are fair and reasonable.

 

Lastly, you may be interested to read what clients who have worked with me before have to say about me. And if you would like me to help you find a tenant for your property, just get in touch.

 

7. Five rental trivia

I will end this post by sharing five rental trivia below.

(a) In many cases, tenants based property agents still prefer to deal with a property agent acting for the landlord than to deal directly with the landlord. The reason for this is it saves them the trouble of having to deal with both parties and makes them more efficient.

 

(b) Property agents who have been taught the old school way to get business still rely on printing flyers that go “Ready tenants! Ready buyers!”. Take a moment and think about it – do you think they really have ready tenants and buyers?

 

If I have ready buyer and ready tenant that I am helping, I will be spending my time and effort to look for properties that are already on the market so that I can match them to what my clients are looking for and close the case. Take a minute and think about it. It does not make sense to spend money to print flyers to attract landlords (and sellers) to contact me. I will also not be sitting around waiting for landlords to call me and ask if I have ready tenants – what is going to happen to my tenant while I wait for landlords to call?

 

(c) If your rental property is available on X date, the best time to start marketing would be about 8 weeks before X date. Tenants who are already in the midst of a lease usually only start looking seriously for properties two months before their current lease expires.

 

(d) When it comes to colours, it is always safest to go for neutral colours (wall paint, curtains etc) even if they are not your personal favourite colours. As this is a rental property, the most important thing is what appeals to tenants most.

 

(e) Most rental units are only partially furnished. That means it comes only with lightings, curtains, air-con, fridge, washer and dryer. Take note that dryers are seen less frequently in public housing.