Five ways to boost your chances of renting or selling… without using an estate agent

There are a number of things you can do to try and maximise your income when renting or selling your property and a more ‘hands on’ approach to marketing and managing costs can reap financial rewards. So, despite an estate agent on every corner in West Hampstead, here’s some alternatives I’ve come across while in the process of renting my flat.

1. Emulate the copywriting professionals. Look on Zoopla and Rightmove to see how similar homes are described and see what ideas you can adapt to market your own. For example, a small home might be described as ‘cosy’ and a home with a loft might highlight the opportunity to convert it into an extra bedroom. Also accentuate the positives of living in West Hampstead, like the fantastic transport, shopping facilities, parks and culture – and a great local website – for people new to the area.

2. Take high quality photos. Make sure that the room is as bright as possible. Take photos during the daytime with open curtains and switch all the lights on. Take photos 1.5 meters from the ground and from the corner to capture as much of the room as possible, being particularly careful to include any key room features.

3. Use the major property portals. For £49, offers the opportunity to upload your photos and description of your rental flat to the major property portals including Rightmove (where you can find my flat), Zoopla and Prime Location. You also get an advertising board and phone number to put outside your West Hampstead property. The price also includes a tenancy agreement, deposit collection, and tenant referencing, which I think makes it excellent value.

4. Launch your own online advertising campaign. Google Adwords are the adverts you see on the right hand side of Google search results. They work by you selecting the words/phrases you want to bid on; for example, “rent two bedroom flat in West Hampstead”. You then draft a short advert with a link to your property listing. Your advert is then displayed when someone searches for the words or terms you chose and you pay Google a small fee (I pay on average 12p) every time someone clicks on your advert. By clicking on this link you can get a free £75 credit for GoogleAdwords when you spend £25.

5. Promote your property through social networks. Share your online property listing via your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts with your connections, and ask them to share it with their friends too. This immediately opens your network. Also look for opportunities on online local community sites such as Camden Netmums, to direct people to your property listing.

Of course, many people do turn to estate agents. An estate agent should complement, not duplicate, your own marketing efforts as they can access customers you can’t. They have shop fronts, databases of people looking to move to West Hampstead and may have relationships with corporate clients. As you don’t pay an agent until they find you a tenant, spread your bets, compare the offers that come in and then choose the option with the best financial return (after deducting any agent fees.)