Colin Napper

I am a co-founder of www.rentview.com. Previously I worked in real estate agency for 10 years renting and managing properties throughout Dublin.

About Colin Napper

I am a co-founder of www.rentview.com. Previously I worked in real estate agency for 10 years renting and managing properties throughout Dublin.

Why vendors will choose your Estate Agency over a competitor

Understand the strategies which will make you stand out above the competition

Real Estate is a booming business. With investors both locally internationally searching online and offline, the competition has never been more intense than it is now.  Because of this, real estate agencies need to re-evaluate their methodologies and strategies for bringing in new potential vendors as well as revisit some of the fundamentals of business which will ensure that you have a greater chance of being chosen.

In this post we look at the fundamental reasons vendors choose one estate agency over another.

1. The Property Valuation – How much can you sell my property for ?

Most vendors will have researched the local market to see what other houses are selling for in their area. Some will have already got a valuation from a different agent so they will always have a fair idea of what their home is worth.

A tactic most commonly used by some estate agents to win new instructions is to value properties above what they think they can achieve just to win the business.

This does a few things, it leaves an unrealistic expectation on what the vendor thinks he/she will get for the property.

It may also mean the property will lie on the market for a longer period not getting many enquiries or viewings.

If an when it does sell it will sell maybe at a reduced priced leaving the vendor with a bad service meaning you are unlikely to ever get a referral from the vendor.

In saying all this money does talk and an agent who convinces a vendor that they will achieve a better sale price because they recently sold a property in the town may well end up with the keys.

apt

2. How much does an agent charge for Selling

Most estate agents charge similar fees either from 1% -3% depending on the sale price of a property. If an agent has a 1% charge on all sales and a vendors property is only valued at £70K then charging £700 won’t be enough to cover the estate agents business costs.

Most agents will have a ceiling on their rates and in this case it may well be that they need at least 3% to cover their business costs.

Agencies need to give realistic but competitive estimations as to what they can achieve for the property. Fees need to be set in realistic terms. Where you may charge a 1 to 3% fee, you need to convert this in to a fixed price estimation for the client.

For example: if you sell for £100,000 with a 2% fee and a £500 Marketing fee, than you need to give the client an estimated fee of £2,500. In the end most vendors chose an estate agency upon their professionalism as well as their valuation of the property and fees. 

3. What are the upfront Marketing fees

Marketing costs help estate agents promote a vendors property both offline and online to new buyers or investors looking for good yielding investments.

A vendor may well be swayed to choose one agency over another if their fees are the same but the marketing fee is too high.

I know a vendor who recently got two local estate agents out to value his home with a view to selling it. Both where well-known local agents with the same fee but one charged £300 for marketing and the other £800.

Now my guess is that the estate agent with the £800 marketing spend didn’t sit down with the vendor and point out what the marketing spend will be used for and how it helps portray his home to a wider audience and get more viewings and potential offers bidding.

The vendor simply opted for the cheaper upfront agent because he didn’t have £800 floating around his bank account and this is what swayed his decision. In fact I would love to find out what the different marketing channels each agent is using. We will save that for another post.

BTW the house has only received 3 viewings in one month since listing and it is the cheapest 2 bed house in this area.

Where does the Property marketing budget go.

  4.  Does your Brand stand out from the competition

How is your agency portrayed visually? It may seem a bit redundant, but the visuals of your company greatly determine your priority position in a potential vendor’s line of agencies.

For sale signs have an impact on vendors as they follow the crowd.  Here are a few considerations that an agency needs to consider about their signs and branding in order to obtain more vendors.

  • Are you well invested in the area where the potential vendor is? If you have only one property in the area while your competitor has multiple properties listed in the area, the odds are not in your favor. Either get more properties or a larger sign. The more recognizable and memorable your sign, the higher the odds are that you will be the chosen agency.

 

  • Do you have a sign that says you are a modern company or are you using the same logos and fonts that were popular 30 years ago? Vendors want to choose a company which they feel is on the verge of modern trends and technologies. If your colors and fonts portray that you are outdated, than the vendor will go with a more trendy company. True, you want to show that you are well established, but at the same time you do not want to give off the vibe of being archaic.

 

  • How are you marketing your agency? If your agency is only putting out signs in yards and hoping for the best then you will be disappointed. A successful agency will not only have signs in yards, but also local printed marketing, a SEO saturated website, social integrations (be that a Facebook business page, YouTube videos, or the like), as well as business cards and car magnets and advertisements.

 

  • Who is the face of your company? Every agency has someone who is seen as the “face” of the company. Your agency needs to determine the face of the company. If the person is older, than pair the person with a younger agent. If the agent is young than pair the person with an older agent. Why? By pairing up in this manner you cater to the stereotypes of the industry. Older individuals are considered to be knowledgeable and more seasoned in the business. Younger individuals are considered to have the upper edge on technology and modern trends. Where this may or may not be the actual truth, the perceptions remain.

    5. Can your estate agency get Referrals

This should be the biggest engine growth for your estate agency. If you have done a good job of selling a property the vendor will have no problem recommending your agency to people for years to come.

If the vendor happens to be an investor with 10 properties then he is like the golden goose your estate agent needs. He has ten properties + 5 investor friends who are in the game for rental return or capital appreciation.

At some stage they will want to sell their properties and by doing a good job you have a good chance of selling all of the investor’s properties and getting an intro to his buddies.

Estate agency referral challenge.

If you take a step back from your business for a bit and ask your secretary to list all the properties you have sold and listed over the last 12 months and put them onto an excel sheet. Write down how you got that property on to your books.

  • Referral
  • Call in to office
  • Vendor walked in to office
  • Repeat client, investor or landlord.

If you don’t see referral mentioned at least 30% of the time then you need to address this fast. You are either not recording it correctly, your staff may not been doing such a wonderful job or you are not asking for a referral from the vendor.

If anything this exercise should be able to give you a clearer idea as to how you are getting your listings and where to spend your estate agency marketing budget.

 6. Do you promote your Buyers database to new vendors?

profiles dash

When reaching out to new vendors a lot of estate agents would use the old tactic of ‘Properties required for buyers on our books’ and use it on their website, marketing material and newspaper ads.

A lot of estate agents use this tactic by producing a flyer targeting the local area they just sold the home, with the aim of winning a new instruction in that area.

I am not sure if estate agents use this tactic at the valuation stage but I would strongly recommend it. Most estate agents have access to an IPAD and most of their technology is cloud based and can be accessed over an internet connection.

Simply add in the vendors property with a guide price of what you think you can achieve and you can demonstrate to the vendor the contacts and connections in your database.

Now considering the estate agent who lost the listing by charging £800 for marketing, if they could have demonstrated to the vendor on an IPAD or tablet the current database of leads which they can reach out to straight away they may have tipped it winning the instruction in their favour and won that £3000 – £4000 worth of business.

Conclusion

Potential vendors are looking for the best sale price, quickest sale, competitive fees and the most professional agencies to do so. Ensuring that your company has a spotless reputation, great branding both digitally as well as in printed and local advertisement, competitive rates, and a portfolio of success will greatly maximize the chances that you will become the chosen agency for potential vendors.

How estate agents win new vendor Instructions

Can Marketing Letters increase your estate agents portfolio ?

Marketing letters are becoming more prominent in the real estate profession. These simple printed letters have a great impact on potential clients, especially those which have a targeted area in which they want to acquire properties.

Yet, for a great deal of real estate agent which implements marketing letters, they find that their campaign does not yield the results that they want. Why is this? In most cases it is a matter of content and creativity.

Here are a few strategies which will help you have a great letter which conveys the proper information to your potential clientele.

marketing flyer

Marketing Flyer real estate agents

The packaging is everything

When you are sending a marketing letter, you have to make it look different from all other junk mail. One great strategy is to have your letter delivered in a greeting card format.

Ensure that you have the card in a card envelope with a hand written (or at least in a printed font that looks like it was hand written) address. Avoid using “current resident” as this has been shown to make people apprehensive to your content.

Another way to get people’s attention is to write a handwritten letter with no envelope attached as it will look like it was written specifically for the owner of the property. This should ensure you letter gets opened an viewed by the vendor.

Personalise your letter on a branded letter head

Once the letter has been opened, the potential client needs to see something which will jump out to them. If you sold a house recently just down the road from them, then you should include a large photo of the house with a Sale Agreed Sign. This should definitely get their attention to read more about your offer.

You should highlight your extensive database of buyers you current have looking for similar homes you might just get a new vendor interested in your services.

On the reverse of the letter you could also include the following

  • Main message such as Properties Sold by Emerald estates in your area.
  • Recent photo and addresses of houses sold locally
  • Include your fee if it is a good selling point
  • Picture of your office
  • Recent testimonials from clients
  • Contact details + out of office contact number

 

Highlight the recent sales prices achieved in the neighborhood

Potential clients which want to sell but unsure of the market may need a little bit of a nudge to get them interested. It is paramount that you put actual recent sale prices in your marketing letter.

However, this must be done tactfully. It is advised that you also include the number of potential buyers you already have to your potential vendors. Here is an example:

Dear Mrs. Robinson,

The housing market in your area is on the rise. Recently, houses on Green St. and Thompson St. sold for an average of £275,000. We currently have 3 more families looking to purchase homes within your area. If you or someone you know is looking to sell, please contact us.

Note that the market is specific to the area. You do not want to go too narrow or too large. If you are looking for a potential vendor in a highly populated city (such as London) you would want to narrow down the data to a few blocks. However, if you are aiming at a potential vendor in a smaller town (such as Donabate, Co Dublin) you would want to include the entire town or county.

By stating the number of potential buyers that you have, you are maximizing your potential for multiple vendors.

Alternatively, if a potential vendor does not want to sell but knows of people who want to buy, your margin for potential buyers which work with your company is expanded.

Offer a referrer fee

Where you may have a targeted campaign area with a great deal of potential vendors, you may find that those people are less apt to refer another person without some incentive, especially if your competitors are offering some form of compensation.

One useful strategy is to offer a monetary reward upon the sale of a property by a referred neighbor.

Most people in a neighborhood know one another and they might have an idea that their neighbor is planning on selling their home. This will most likely mean they will do a split on the referral fee but that means you have locked down the business.

Add a get to know you section

If you have current properties within the potential vendor’s area, offer a meet the agent section on your letter. Schedule a time PRIOR to your open house time to meet other potential vendors. This will work to your favour on multiple levels

  • By offering to meet you prior to an open house, you can show your potential vendors the quality and asking price of an actual home in the targeted area.
  • By offering a meet the agent you are putting a face with the name. This greatly increases that you will be chosen should the potential vendor decide to sell.

If you are selling 5 properties per month you have the capacity to replace these five properties within the areas you just sold in. Most agents hope the Sale Agreed Sign in the garden will help yield a potential lead from a vendor but I strongly think this tactic if implemented correctly will help estate agents win new instructions.

Don’t get so carried away that you forget the basics

Finally, ensure that you have the basics covered. I have seen it happen over and over again. A greatly constructed letter is made but lacking the basic contact information. Sure, the real estate’s name is mentioned, but there is no phone number or an address.

Potential vendors need to have this information.  If you really want to go the extra mile with your potential vendors add a personal phone number for out of office contacts.

This adds to the personal touch and lets the potential client know that you are serious about hearing from them.

Conclusion

Marketing letters are a growing strategy in the real estate profession. Ensuring that your letters do not look like junk mail, catering to the neighborhood in which the potential vendors are located, adding personal touches, and packaging the letter so that it is visually appealing as well as contextually sound will result in having a more responsive potential clientele base.

Keep an eye out for our next blog on Winning new instructions Online.

Business sales strategies for Estate Agents

Techniques which will maximize your business and fees

Managers and senior level professionals in the real estate business should spend a great deal of their time acquiring properties which to sell. The process is constant and the clients always want the lowest rates and the highest appraisal.

Unfortunately, more often than not a real estate executive will be told that their valuation of the property is too low and that the expected fees are too high.

By following the below formula, Estate Agents can present a more solid valuation to their potential clients, acquire properties which are worth the agencies resources (as marketing and advertisement of the property costs money), and maximize your profitability.

map old

  1. Know the local property Market

It may sound a bit redundant, but valuation of a potential property is most likely to be based upon the properties in the vicinity.

Where the overall market of a town or county may be in the 220s, a particular area may have homes that sell no more than 178k.

Simple research as to what properties actually sell for will provide you with a solid material to present to a potential client. Property portals such as Rightmove , Zoopla or Daft allow you to view recently sold properties or if you have an account with them they can provide you details of recent sale agreed.

It is a lot harder for a potential to claim that the valuation of the property is too low if you have the valuation of the nearby properties readily available.

The scope of your radius should be based upon the amount of properties within the area. The scarcer the homes are in a potential area the wider the radius needs to be.

  1. Do not jump straight into evaluating the property

Even if a property is ideal, you do not want to let the potential client know that you are excited that they want to be your client. An overzealous estate agent may quickly find that their fees are being negotiated and that they are taking fewer profits.

Instead, when you arrive at the property introduce yourself and ask for a place to sit and discuss the procedures for your particular agency. This does a few things:

  • It allows for the buyer and the client to take a step back and evaluate the realities of the potential client relationship.
  • Should your procedures be beyond the expectations of the client, you can move on to another potential client without losing precious productivity time.
  • By talking with the client prior to looking at the house, YOU keep the control

Think about this, an agent that visits a house and wants to immediately start looking at the house has flipped the roles of the real estate agent. The potential client will step in and start acting like a surrogate real estate agent in order to get you excited about representing the property.

In many cases they will show you the “best” qualities of a property with the hopes of raising the valuation of that property. Remember this rule listen 65% of the time and talk 35% of the time.

Be sure to use open ended questions while talking to your potential client such as “what key amenities do you see in your property which would help in the listing?”

Your mission in talking with the potential client is to ensure them that you are there to list the property, not to give an appraisal or for them to shop around. You want to seal the deal with the client. A great way to end a conversation would be to ask “When would you want me to list your property for you?”

http://colbertandco.ie/listings

Hawthorn Hill, Ballymaloe, Midleton, Cork

  1. The preliminary price assessment

Once the procedures have been discussed you will need to present the vicinity information to the potential client. This should be done with tact. Do not simply push a brochure to the client and say “These are some other properties which have sold in the area”.

Instead, look directly at the client and state that “Where the properties in the local town have been selling in the 220s, this particular neighborhood has had a max selling cap of 178k for the past 3 years.”

When you present the vicinity price information to the client you want to ensure that you are looking directly at that person. The reason is that you are looking for indicators. When you mention the price does your client’s face show surprise, disappointment, or excitement?

A face that shows excitement means that the client has probably greatly underestimated the value of his/her property and is excited about the potential to make more than what they anticipated. Of course, if your client shows disappointment or disgust, then they have probably overestimated the property.

At this point, you are ready to take a tour of the home. However, before you begin your tour you need to ask your client what their asking price is of the home.

Most potential clients have a set price in mind as to what they will sell the property for. Assure your client that you will work to get a price that they are comfortable with. Reiterate the vicinity prices stating that it will serve as a guide when determining a price for their property.

  1. Getting a tour from the vendor

The tour of the property is NOT for you to gain marketing pictures, take notes, or get the property ready for listing. You will do that all later. What you are looking to do is to get the potential client to agree with your assessment of the house.

Start at the top and work your way down. Each room should be addressed with comments such as “I love the natural lighting in this room”. Bring a measuring tape with you and measure smaller rooms.

Make comments which will assure your client that the property will sell. For example “This room would be a tight fit for a queen size bed, but it would be perfect for a kid’s room as they usually have full or twin size beds.” Again, you are looking for the potential client to agree with your comments.

Once you have toured the entire property including all connecting structures, garages, storage houses, etc., go back to where you first started. Ask again to sit down and talk with the potential client.

  1. Setting a price for the property

You need to assure your client that you can sell the property. You should not be idealistic in your approach, but address the highlights and the negatives of the property.

It is best that when addressing the positives and the negatives of a property that you state the best qualities such as “I really think that the spaciousness of the master bathroom will be something that potential buyers will enjoy”.

Let the client tell you the negatives by asking “are there any negative attributes that you think would affect the listing price?”

When dealing with the negatives of the property, let your client know that not all clients will see the negative in a negative light. Be careful with these assurances as there are some negatives that are just negative.

For example you can state “Not all families require a two car garage, first time home buyers often like the smaller space of a single garage” but you should not state “I do not think that the roots from the oak tree in the back yard will affect the foundation of the garden house.”

Once all of the positives and negatives have been addressed, it is time to give your gut price. This is you best guess on what the listing price should be. For example: “Based upon what I have seen and from the vicinity averages, my gut is saying that your home can sell for 175k.

We will still need to have a plan of action before we put your house on the market, and we will work diligently to get your house sold for the price that is closest to your desired listing price”

  1. Seal the deal and show the client your active database of buyers

One of the best ways to demonstrate your knowledge of the local property market is by knowing what budget buyers have for similar properties. If you have recently listed a property in this town you will have received emails and calls from buyers giving you a database of potential buyers to reach out to.

To demonstrate this to a vendor simply  bring an IPAD  or Tablet which is connected to your live database of buyers. You can upload the vendor’s property with the guide price and show all the matching buyers you have on your books.

If you tweak the valuation of the property you should get a varying amount of leads in your database depending on the buyer’s budget range. This shows the vendor that you can immediately begin to prospect potential leads to a viewing and help you win the new instruction.

 

So what other variables count

As you are a senior or an executive in the real estate business, you should know by now that the listing price is usually not the closing price. It is paramount that you relate this to your clients.

Tell your client “We have determined that you want to list your house for 175k. However, we need to discuss a few more details about the home.”

At this point explain to your client that usually there are one to two price drops offered on a property.

Your top price, or listing price, should not have a variable from the second drop price of more than 5k. You can present these drops to your client as what if variables. These questions can be:

  • What if no one asks about your listing within the first 15 days?
  • What if we get a great amount of lower bids, what would you be comfortable with?

From these two questions, you can generate three pricing options for the property. First, you will have the listing price.

If no one goes to see the property or asks about the listing then the price drops. This is the medium between the list price and the lower price. Since the margin will not be more than 5k, the drop will be 2.5k. Should the price reduction cause for a great deal of lower offers, the third and final drop can be given.

  1. How much do you charge for selling the property

If you get to this point in your pitch, than the client wants your services (or at minimum is greatly considering your services). You should let your client know definitively what your fees will be.

Do not expect to get a great smile and quick acceptance. More than likely the client will state that a competitor offers lower fees. Here are some guidelines for presenting your fees:

  • Offer a price amount and NOT a percentage. “I will sell your property for 3.5k” and not “I take a 1.5% fee from the sale of the property”
  • If and when the client offers you the competitor’s rates, specifically state what you will do for their money (not your money or your fees.)
  • Clearly break down what the Marketing budget fee will be spent on.
  • Explain what other extras will be required such an Energy rating certificate and the cost.

When all questions have been addressed, then you are ready to seal the deal. As if there are any more questions and then ask “Are we ready to go to market?”

Considerations

You are trying to acquire a contract; therefore you should have

  • The proper marketing and advertisement material available.
  • Use digital and social media as well as other strategies to help with the listing.
  • Bring an IPAD to the viewing and demonstrate your live database of leads.
  • Do a video tour of the property if you have the equipment with you or outsource to a professional video company.
  • If a client has objections about signing a contract then you need to think of creative but definitive ways to respond to any objections. Do not take no for an answer but do not be too zealous either.

Your professionalism will play a critical role in gaining your contract. By adhering to the steps above, you are more apt to have clients that are comfortable with signing a contract for your services.

By also addressing the vicinity properties, you can offer a higher listing and therefore collect greater fees.

Does your real estate agency do Property Video Tours?

micro drone

How property video tours are reshaping the real estate business.

With the growing number of people turning to digital media as their primary source of information, real estate agents are finding it more and more difficult to compete with mobile media marketing. Agencies which have implemented new technologies and methodologies into their business are more likely to have success with securing properties than those which do not.

One way in which real estate agents are moving forward in the social media age is through digital Property video tours. I believe that it is essential that any real estate business have some form of a virtual property video tour and here is why:

Digital Tours expand the potential clientele base indefinitely

In the past, agents greatly relied upon open houses and physical property showings in order to secure the interests of potential clientele. The problem with such methods in real estate marketing is that the potential clients are few, restricted by the demographics of the area in which the property is located. However, with a property video tour, the amounts of potential clients are limitless.

Due to the fact that the internet is a global community, your real estate business may see interests in the property from as close as the next town over or as far away as another country.

Once interest has been secured for the property, then the real estate agent can schedule a physical viewing of the property.

Digital Property Video Tours increase productivity and profitability

Real estate agents who use digital property video tours have to spend less time and money in promoting the property. Costs which are usually allocated to the print marketing can be re-focused to other aspects of the business.  Because the cost of producing a property video tour is relatively low, a real estate agent can use the extra money for point targeting in their marketing.

Real estate agents who use property video tours will also see an increase in productivity. The less time that an agent is required to spend on a property; the more properties the real estate agent can focus his or her attention on. By offering potential clients more properties, the margin for sales is increased the therefore your profitability will see increases.

How do property video tours work?

When creating a property video tour, a real estate agent should use the same techniques which he or she uses when showing the property physically. Ensure that you give ample time to each room, explaining the qualities which make the property worth investing in. As you will be showing the property physically later, do not focus too much on the negativities of the property. Such can be addressed on the physical showing. However, do not make a fixer upper sound like the Caesar’s palace.

Remember when you create your property video tour, the video will be offered worldwide once it is put on the internet. Try not to use terminology that limits your client base.

What a real estate agent should include in the property video tour?

Real estate agents should ensure that certain information is related to the potential buyer. Alongside the home, a real estate agent should:

  • Open and Close with the company’s name and contact information
  • Introduce him/herself at the beginning of the film and close with a thank you and by identifying him/herself.
  • State the city and town only. DO NOT give a physical street address. This is a safety issue. Promoting that a house is empty and ready to sell may promote vandalism and theft on the property. Those serious in investing in the property will be more than happy to talk about the details when they contact your agency.
  • Constantly present a contact number or email in which to contact your agency as a call to action for the buyer or renter.

Why should I make property video tours for my agency’s properties?

Making property video tours is a great marketing tool, but it is up to each agency as to whether or not this form or marketing would be best for their practice. However, here are a few statistics which should sway any agency to strongly consider producing a video tour for their properties.

Facebook reports that one out of every 7 internet users has an account. Videos can be shared easily and are daily shared through this platform. This is free advertisement.

YouTube has over 100,000 videos upload/downloaded daily. Again this maximizes your viewer base.

Unless really engaged in a television program, a television viewer will change the channel after 10 seconds from a commercial segment starting and return to the channel only after they feel that the commercials are over.

Posting a video tour cost only your time, print marketing materials can quickly get into the hundreds of pounds depending upon the marketing campaign.

The world has fused itself to the mobile and digital world. Agencies which recognize this fusion and change their practices and policies to best target potential clients within the digital world will see that their properties sell faster.

 What technology should I use to conduct my video tours?

canon camera iphone
canon camera iphone

Most of the time you can use your existing technology to conduct a video tour. A lot of agents have the latest smartphone such as the IPhone 6 which comes with the 8MP ISight camera which can be used to conduct a video tour of a property. A good investment for an estate agent is to purchase a more professional camera such as the Nikon D3200 which is £235 on amazon.

When editing your video when using an IPhone you can download IMovie from the app store which gives you all the functionality to edit a video without the knowledge required to produce a good video tour. Also check out the blog Using Imovie to Market Your Property. If you are more serious about learning the basics of video editing, I would recommend getting an account setup with adobe premier pro cc which is a brilliant tool for video editing.

I know for some agents it will be daunting to have to learn some new technology to edit their videos professionally but you can learn at your own pace with the online learning site lynda.com. There is some great tutors here who can show you how to use the premier pro cc video editing tool.

Technology used to produce, edit and host your video.

–          IPhone

–          Samsung

–          Nikon D3200 

–          Canon 700d

–          Editing tool

–          Drones

–          YouTube or Vimeo

What about drones should we use them to conduct video tours ?

I think drones technology is going to be used by most real estate agents in the not to distance future. I already know of a couple of agents who are trialing this technology on some of their more expensive properties. There are some things you may need to know about using drones in Ireland and the UK and you may need to check out with the aviation authority before you decide to purchase a drone and begin to fly it around the neighborhood. To give you an idea on drone technology check out this new drone getting developed by a UK Company who are building the Micro drone 3.0. 

 What hosting platform do I need to use and how does it work.

When you think of video you immediately type into google ‘YouTube’ which has become the de facto hosting platform used by a couple of billion people worldwide to view videos. It’s free and it’s also a great way to get SEO for your estate agency as they are owned by Google.

Another great platform for video is Vimeo which is a bit more professional and way better designed. You can sign up for a pro account which gives you lots of advantages and it is something you should check out if you are serious about conducting video tours.

So where is the current marketing budget spent?

Most estate agents charge vendors an upfront marketing fee with prices varying from £300 to £1500 depending on the Marketing plan for the property. Most of the time this is a key factor for the vendor in choosing your agency over your competitor. Now imagine explaining to the vendor that you will organise a professional video tour which is accessible online to hundreds of potential buyers who are can view the video rather than scrolling through the listings on the property portals.

Some of the Marketing budget spend:

–          Property portals advertising such as Daft.ie, Rightmove.co.uk and Zoopla.co.uk

–          Local newspapers

–          Full color flyers

–          Custom built websites

–          360 tours

–          Window ads

–          For sale signs

–          Industry magazines

So will your real estate agency embrace all the new technology available and reap the benefits of using property video tours.

How to find landlords for your letting agency

How to find landlords for your letting agency

“How to find Landlords?” is perhaps the most frequently asked question for all Letting Agents. It is such an important question because new Landlords/property listings are vital to the Letting Agent surviving in today’s competitive market as well as ensuring the business grows.

how to find landlords

The answer to this question is not just one simple solution; there are many tools which the Letting Agent can use to find new landlords.  Some of these tools have been around for many years and very popular while other tools such as SEO marketing, while in existence for some time have not been embraced by the masses yet within the lettings industry.  Today’s Letting Agent needs to embrace all of the tools at his/her disposal; otherwise opportunities for new business are unnecessarily missed.  Give yourself the best chance – don’t limit yourself or your business by not using the following tools:

How to find landlords using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

With the explosion of Smartphone use and better broadband connection speed over the last couple of years, we are increasingly connected to the internet. With Google being the no 1 search engine to find local based letting agents you need to be found under the keywords your landlords are typing. When thinking about how to find landlords, you must think about how landlords find you in searches.

For instance, if you were based in Manchester and looking to be found under ‘Letting agents Manchester’ you would need do some search engine optimisation on your website for this term in order to direct traffic to your site. This is a very competitive term with 720 searches per month for “Letting agents Manchester”. To put things in perspective for your business; if just 10 of these landlords found your website and only 5 of these 10 landlords signed up for your management fee this could result in over £6000+ in revenue per annum from fees. Optimising is worth the effort.

Adding your business to Google Places for business will help your search engine ranking too! To find out how, click here.

how to find landlords for your agency seo

How to find landlords using pay per click advertising on Google

Google adwords allows you to advertise your Letting/ Estate Agency directly to landlords who are looking for Letting Agents using specific search terms. The reason Google is so successful for business is because the user who is typing is usually very close to the point of sale. When a landlord types in a long tail keyword term they are usually really specific about what they are looking for. An example of a long tail keyword is ‘letting agents Birmingham’.

When you are setting up your pay per click Google campaign you should research the keywords you would like to be found under. Google will request you join Google adwords which is free but you may need to sync a credit card with the account. You can then use the google keyword tool planner to see which keywords are being currently used in searches and you can then tailor your campaign around these keywords.

how to find landlords using seo

What Google keyword planner looks like

How to find landlords using Referrals

Receiving a referral from your existing landlords should be an easy process if you have proven your excellent Letting or Management Service to your Landlord. Build on this good working relationship with your landlord by picking up the phone or emailing and checking in with your landlords – don’t be afraid to ask if there are other landlords they may know who would be interested in the same service. Most landlords will know at least one landlord or friend who has a rental property; if you can secure their contact number and reference back the landlord, that’s brilliant.

Offer a deduction on future Lettings or Property Management for landlords who refer you on to other landlords, this is a great way to keep existing business with your current landlords and leverage them for a referral to your existing database. Make sure any deal is in writing and last for a specified period i.e. 1% reductions on management fees for a 12 month term.

How to find landlords using Local Free Newspapers

Local Free Newspapers have a wide readership and are a great way to reach Landlords in your chosen area. These have proven successful for local letting agents for many years but their impact may be on the wane. The Letting Agent can advertise in these papers by

  • Firstly paying for a banner advertisement.
  • Secondly the Letting Agent can list the current property listings in the newspaper, although uploading your property to property portals may have replaced this revenue stream for the local newspapers.
  • Finally the Letting Agent could negotiate with the local paper to do an editorial/advertising feature on the Letting Agency itself.

Letting agency software

An editorial gives you the opportunity to showcase the services on offer and also presents the Letting Agency staff to the Landlord, which is the first step in building a relationship with potential Landlords.

How to find landlords using leaflet drop in recent or newly built development

Leaflet drops in new or recent developments can be effective in sourcing new Landlords.  With new developments come new Landlords and opportunities for new business. The letting potential for new developments is normally quite good as the properties are usually high spec and will rent quickly to quality tenants. However the cost associated with the leaflet drop should be measured against the return on investment. The leaflet itself be attractive and stimulate interest in the reader. It should contain at least the following:

  • the company logo & contact details
  • a picture of the staff or letting agent
  • outline of services offered
  • Landlord testimonials
  • Motivation to take immediate action by highlighting limited special offers

How to find landlords using Property Exhibitions and Work Abroad Exhibitions

Property exhibitions are really relevant to Letting Agents when trying to find new Landlords as the majority of the attendees are property investors keeping up with latest legislation or networking with other property professionals. There are a couple of these show held around the UK each year and would definitely be worth visiting or exhibiting if held close to your market.

Work Abroad Exhibitions although not directly related to the property rental industry are also a good place to engage with potential landlords.  With the economic downturn and migration more popular than ever, a portion of the people emigrating are property owners and will have to rent out their UK property whilst they are abroad.  These new landlords will not only need a letting service but also a management service.  This is another great opportunity for you, the Letting Agent to secure new letting and management clients.

Property manager tasks

Do you need a task management system to deal with them?

Rentview have developed a complete property management task manager which is designed to allow letting agents, property managers, brokers and admin staff to manage multiple task management, in one easy to use property management software.

Letting Agency Administrators

With the Rentview task manager an office administrator who is manning the phone and generic email addresses can simply upload tasks which need attention to the correct property manager. By centralising all tasks within one system letting agencies will remove the chance of having tasks lost or forgotten about.

All property manager tasks are view able in either pipeline view or list view, allowing users to quickly track and complete property management tasks more efficiently.

Pipeline View

The pipeline view allows the user to see tasks assigned to themselves or to other property managers within the office. It also allows them to view the status of the task from ‘in progress’ to ‘complete’. Our drag and drop feature makes task management more interactive and is designed to lessen the time it takes property managers to complete tasks. Property manager tasks can be dragged from the ‘in progress’ status to ‘complete’ with ease.

List View

The list view will show all tasks assigned to property managers showing the address of the property, date due and status of the task. We have built some really cool alert buttons which illustrate to users the priority levels of each task with red illustrating late, orange; due today, white; due soon and green; complete.

And lastly, you can also see a list of all historic tasks associated with a property giving you better reports on which properties you are working harder on.

Property Manager Tasks

Property manager tasks can take up the majority of a letting agent’s day, but by using the task manager software from Rentview you can dramatically improve your your efficiency.

How to show a property in 5 simple steps

show a property One question a letting agent or landlord may ask themselves is how to show property successfully. In an ideal world, the letting agent would simply open the door to a rental property and the features of the property would speak for themselves, thus leading to a successful letting.

However in reality, the letting market is flooded with properties, all with perceived positives and negatives. In short, the letting agent must put the ground work in to set the property on view apart from the competition!

I have listed below five key rules on how to show a property. These will ensure the tenant gets the best impression of the property, and also of the professional service the letting agent provides. Please read the rules below and put them into practice because as the great Roy Keane says, “fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”

1. Be punctual for the viewing – arrive early!

When you are showing your rental property it is important that you arrive early for the viewing to make sure the place is presentable and to allow you to find your bearings in the property. There is nothing worse than arriving at the same time as the prospective tenant or worse, arriving late for an appointment.

If you are conducting viewings in the colder months, try to arrive a little early to put the heating and lights on so they are coming into a cosy well-lit property. Meet and greet your prospective tenants in a calm friendly manner, as this will put the tenants at ease when viewing. You may be under pressure for time, but remain calm! Remember first impressions last!

2. Clean and tidy property is essential!

Make sure the property is clean and tidy as first impressions of the property will most likely sway your tenant’s decision. Your prospective tenant must be able to visualise living in the property and with clutter lying around, it won’t feel like a blank canvas for the tenant to make their mark.

A good cleaning company can provide a deep clean of the property which is something your tenants will expect before moving in so get this sorted before you conduct your viewings to maximise the letting potential.

how to show a property

3. Know your property inside out!

It is so important to know the property inside out. Would you buy a car off a garage if the salesperson couldn’t tell you what size engine the car had, or what fuel it uses? All too often agents don’t familiarise themselves with the property leading to poor communication of the features and benefits.

Your tenants will have lots of different questions and if you are well prepared, you will be able to answer them there and then. This could be the difference between the tenant renting your property or the next one on their list.

Some questions tenants will ask:

  •  Is the cooker electric or gas operated?
  • What type of TV connection is available and can I bring my own satellite dish?
  • How much is the average electricity and gas bill?
  • What is the energy rating for the property?
  • How much for water charges, waste collection and council taxes?
  • Is the shower an electric shower and what is the pressure like?

4. Know the area  – local amenities

Some letting agents or landlords may not live in the locality or be too familiar with the local area. It is good practice to familiarise yourself with the local amenities including local schools, shops, sports and social clubs, transport routes or motorways etc.

Depending on the age group of the tenants, you can tailor your pitch to the relevant resources they may be interested in, e.g. information relevant to families would be schools and local clubs.

5. Have important documents at hand

Make sure you have all the relevant documents at hand for your prospective tenants to read or take away with them. This will speed up the decision of the potential applicant and prompt the tenant to accept your property as their new home.

Relevant Documents

  • Deposit receipt book
  • Application form
  • Copy of house rules (If the property is in an apartment complex)
  • Terms of rental and additional charges
  • Copy of Inventory

This blog is from my experience within the letting industry of how to show a property, from conducting thousands of showings. I hope you find it useful. This is the best way, in my opinion, of how to show a property. Please let me know if it makes your life easier!

 

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Tenancy agreement software

One of the most important tasks in renting a property which needs to be completed is the signing of a legally binding contract between the landlord and tenant.  This is known as the “tenancy agreement”, “letting agreement” or “lease”. The objective of the contract is to highlight the rights and responsibilities of all parties – landlord, tenant and letting agent.

As a letting agent or property manager, generating a tenancy agreement is normally quite routine, yet time-consuming. The majority of the tenancy agreement remains the same,with the first couple of pages tailored to that of the property and majority of terms or clauses set in stone according to local law. 

Tenancy agreement software

Tenancy agreement software created here; at Rentview we have looked at how to save time for you, the letting agent, by streamlining the whole administration process around the letting of a property. Not only will the auto generation of the tenancy agreement save you time, but now all your documents can be stored securely online. Being cloud-based, your data is backed up every hour on multi-site servers, so your data is kept secure and up to date at all times. The tenancy agreement can be shared online with both landlord and tenant.

Through our letting agency software, each process within the cycle is streamlined to save you time when you arrive at your next task along the cycle. Take a look at the overview video on our tenancy agreement software to see exactly how easy Rentview makes this process.

tenancy agreement software rentview

 

If at this time you prefer not to use the tenancy agreement software and want to continue generating your own tenancy agreements, that is fine. Below we have provided a link to free blank tenancy agreements.

Tenancy agreement UK – AST Blank lease

Tenancy agreement Scotland – AT5 Blank lease

& Tenant information pack Scotland

Tenancy agreement Ireland –   Fixed Term blank residential lease

 

by Rentview

Tenancy agreement software

New feature roll outs

As always, the development team are busy at Rentview pushing out new feature roll outs and improvements on our property management software. As always, our users have a big part to play in our feature updates as it is our customers that request them.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwgwOb6yT6o?rel=0

Feature Updates

1) Deposit Receipts – are now generated and downloadable from the schedule and they can now also be downloaded when tenants login to access their account.

2) Agency Base Rate – will automatically be used to calculate the management fee when you are adding a new property or starting a new lease. This defaults to a % but can be changed to a figure. Each new property can have a different rate than the base rate.

3) Editing the Rent – if you need to change the rent amount during a lease you can do this now, select ‘Lease’, amend the rent amount, and all future rents will be updated on the remaining unpaid rents.

4) Editing the Management Fee –this change will also apply if you need to change the landlord’s management fee, Select ‘Lease’, amend the rent amount, and all future management fees will be updated on the statement.

5) Tenants’ details – we have also tidied up the tenant’s view page to our new bootstrap style and we will be rolling out a delete option next week here.

6) Total Properties – when checking out your property portfolio we now allow you to see how many properties you have under Management, Let-only or inactive. We also now display how much you charge for your management fee on each property and we will be developing better reports so you can forecast recurring fees.

7) Lease Terms – lastly in this update, when you are starting a lease, the end date will automatically calculate if you select the start date and term.

If there is something you would like to see on the platform, please let us know!

by Rentview