Believe it or not, welcome packages for new tenants can be quite a controversial subject. Admittedly, few landlords will ever lose sleep over the debate. Yet, there appears to be a clear dividing line between more experienced landlords and the newer generation of property investors.
On the one hand, more experienced landlords argue that bad tenants will always be bad tenants, irrespective of whether they receive a trifling gift basket or not. Therefore, the provision of welcome packages is not only pointless but financially wasteful. On the other hand, some landlords see property investment as both a profession and a service. Providing welcome packages secure a positive first impression and purchase goodwill from new tenants that will be remembered into the future.
Should You Provide Welcome Packages?
On balance, the risk-reward profile of welcome packages suggest they are worthwhile, especially for landlords who rely on letting agents to manage their properties. Firstly, it pays to treat property as a relationship business. Generally, if tenants view you as an impersonal and distant landlord, it is easier for them to justify not paying rent or overly contesting an issue. Landlords can use welcome packages as an opportunity to personalise the tenancy and immediately create a positive first impression. Humans are reciprocal by nature, favours and thoughtful gestures are more likely to be remembered than not.
Secondly, welcome packages can become even more worthwhile when you manage a property through a letting agent. When using a letting agent, you and the agent can become one and the same, in the mind of the tenant. Highlighting that you and the letting agent are not the same entity can help to differentiate you should the tenant experience any shortcomings with the letting agent. Tenants will view you as a person rather than just assuming the property is run by the lettings company. This can work in your favour should there ever be a breakdown in relations between the letting agent and the tenant.
Finally, the only real downside to welcome packages is the expense. In the grand scheme of things, the cost of a welcome pack is a relatively small cost when compared against a 12-month tenancy agreement. At most, the packs may cost £15 to £20, equivalent to just 3.5% of the average monthly rent for a property in the UK.
What Should You Include in A Welcome Package?
As mentioned, welcome packages should cost no more than £15 to £20. With some astute purchases, it is not difficult to purchase a reasonably substantial welcome pack for this amount. Items you may want to include would be:
- Greetings Card
This is your opportunity to add the personal element. If possible, it is worth handwriting the card and signing it off with your first name. This helps to personalise both the welcome package and the property itself.
- Small Chocolate Selection
Depending on the budget, you can opt for anything from a couple of affordable, large chocolate bars, up to a small gift selection box.
- Welcome Drinks
Whilst a bottle of wine is one of the more traditional ‘new home’ gifts, it may be better to opt for a premium(ish) soft drink like elderflower tonic or a pack of tea. Ideally, you can include local produce as an affordable way of adding thoughtful items.
There are few things quite as frustrating as spending a full day moving in, only to realise you are missing certain necessities. It can be a good idea to include items such as toilet roll, handwash, washing up liquid and general cleaning wipes.
The final element of any good welcome pack is to include a small booklet or some printed pages providing information on both the property and the local area. This is a fantastic opportunity to include information about the bin-days, current utility providers or any other practical property information. For younger or first-time tenants, Hamilton Fraser provide a useful selection of common sense property guide documents which can be printed out and included as part of the pack.
If you really want to provide the premium service, you can highlight local restaurants and takeaways. You don’t necessarily have to even know the area to do this, it only takes a couple of minutes to Google the best rated venues in the area.
Disclaimer: This ‘Landlord Vision’ blog post is produced for general guidance only, and professional advice should be sought before any decision is made. Nothing in this post should be construed as the giving of advice. Individual circumstances can vary and therefore no responsibility can be accepted by the contributors or the publisher, Landlord Vision Ltd, for any action taken, or any decision made to refrain from action, by any readers of this post. All rights reserved. No part of this post may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means. To the fullest extent permitted by law, the contributors and Landlord Vision do not accept liability for any direct, indirect, special, consequential or other losses or damages of whatsoever kind arising from using this post.
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