To Vet or not to Vet….stupid question?

The process in which you vet a prospective tenant, if you vet, has an impact on your business, your vendors and the speed of letting.

I don’t presume to tell any agent how to run their business, but if I could put an idea out there into the ether to be accepted or rejected according to that agents view.

Running a successful viewings service company now for four years to agents across the UK has taught me that everyone will run their own business in different ways, often according to their personalities or experiences. This includes deciding to Vet a tenant or buyer or not and to what extent.

Vetting has become almost a taboo among many agents as the opinion on this matter seems to vary so much that it may be being overlooked as a tool to improve the business regardless of the agents model.

Dictionary definition of vetting:
Collins Dictionary: “the act of making a prior examination and critical appraisal of (a person, document, scheme, etc)”

My definition of vetting for our sector:
To establish the viability and means of a prospect being able to take on the responsibility of letting or buying a property.

By vetting I do not mean credit checking. I mean asking appropriate questions and gaining a minimum level of evidence to warrant whether that person can become a ‘finalist’ candidate as the new tenant or buyer for your vendors property.

So we know that vetting is checking the ability of an interested party to be able to handle the cost and responsibilities of a property. This being the case when do you think that an agent should perform this check?

I believe the answer is at the earliest point of interest possible. This is where a key problem can occur, as many agents see this as a restrictive practice.

Why can early vetting be deemed restrictive by the agent?
⁃ It adds administration to the process regardless of the tenants potential to buy or let
⁃ It takes time from the office staff, therefore
⁃ It costs the agent money
⁃ Then the big one. Telling the vendor that there were (potentially) less viewings for their property.

I think the last one is the stand out issue for agents in an ever competitive market. Explaining this point to the vendor could become a USP though with a simple rephrase…

“We’ll only send you viewers that are able to buy/let the property. That means no tyre kickers for you, no extra time wasted preparing the house on Friday nights and Saturday mornings, and no having to stay away from your home for unnecessary viewings!”

When do agents vet tenants? The agents we speak to vet at different times but here are the range of stages:
⁃ Pre-Viewing
⁃ Pre-Application
⁃ Pre-Acceptance
⁃ Post-Acceptance

Everyone will have their own opinion on this but I believe that vetting pre-viewings offers the best outcome overall for the agent.

Here’s why:
⁃ It means less viewings,
⁃ Less cost over the marketing period (credit checking and admin further along in the process is more costly overall),
⁃ More control over applicants,
⁃ Less time wasters for the vendor and the agent,
⁃ and it puts the vendors interests first.

The return, in my eyes, is that the agent saves themselves money (increases their bottom line), does less work overall but improves the service provided for the Vendor.

When do you think prospects should be checked on their ‘procedability’? Add your comments below.

Written by Jim Johnston:

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