Using iMovie to market your property

Marketing a property with iMovie

Recently I have been speaking with more and more agents who have asked me did our website support and allow agents to upload iMovie. As somebody who tries to keep ahead of the technology curve for property managers I was somewhat embarrassed to say “tell me more about iMovie” rather than say “whats iMovie”. And after finding out what iMovie was I scrambled to get the development team to implement iMovies into the websites we create for letting and estate agents. Now you can use iMovie to market your property with Rentview websites.

What is iMovie?

iMovie is an app available on the app store for iPhone and iPad at a cost of €4.99 and for those of you with a Mac its a little more costly at €14. The app allows you to easily create a professional looking movie (marketing video for property) from photos, video clip and audio clips through your device quickly and easily.

Using Video means

-you are 53 times more likely to appear on the 1st page of Google

-40% Higher click thorugh rate on search results

-Visitors stay three times longer on your website

-Expect to receive 5-7% of visitors coverting to leads

Dont believe me check this out

Here is a marketing iMovie I made on my first attempt
Why use video to market a property

I have covered this topic a number of times in previous blogs and here is a quick analysis;

Rental Property Marketing Strategy– by using video your tenant applicant enquiries are more qualified. This will decrease enquiries but increase the number of qualified viewers i.e they like location, price and property lay out.  

Video Content Marketing – By using keywords within your video title and descriptive text you can increase your agencies presence online through tenants search.    This is an excellent way to showcase your property on the first page of Google.

How to create a property marketing video using iMovie

I would recommend taking the pictures of the property prior to making your marketing iMovie. Once you do that the whole process for a beginner should take no longer then 30 minutes for your first marketing video. Once you become a little more comfortable with the app it can take only 15 minutes or less (and this is on an iPhone so I would imagine using the iPad is a lot quicker).

Creating an iMovie in 10 Steps

Step 1. Download the app from the app store

Step 2. Select a “New Project” and select “Movie”

Step 3. Select the Movie theme from the 8 themes and press create movie, I find modern and bright the best.

Step 4. Simply add your photos one by one as if you were walking through the property presenting it to a tenant.

Step 5. Once you add each photo from start to finish you can pinch the photo and decrease or increase its showing time within the clip. (it defaults at 6 seconds per image )

How to use iMovie to market a property editing your iMovie Rental marketing iMovie

Step 6. Insert text within the images, you can do this on any number of the images and its a great way to give information to your audience i.e price, location , features, agency branding etc. The text can be centered at the bottom of the screen and you can even edit its presentation.

Step 7. You can include audio clips and or backing music from the pre installed music or as you become more familiar with iMovie you can add it from your own iTunes library.

Step 8. Review and tweak, watch and edit any changes which need to be altered to the video. Once complete you simply click the back button on the top left hand side.

Step 9. Edit the movie title and Upload it to your email or directly to YouTube, Facebook , Vimeo etc

Step 10. Optimise your video for SEO if you upload it too Youtube or Vimeo

Step 11. Insert the url of your marketing movie into your website page that lists the corresponding property. This is only for agents who can list YouTube clips into their website or portal. This is an excellent way to increase traffic and SEO for your website if you can insert the clip. If you cant insert a video clip into your website and would like to we can certainly help with our property management website design.

iMovie to market your property

How to use Google Keyword Planner for your property management company

Google Keyword planner for your property management company

Using Google keyword planner is an excellent way to start off your SEO strategy. Google Keyword planner allows you to see what search terms are being searched for on a monthly average. You can be very specific and break this down by regions such as country and county.

Generic property management Keywords

Image credit Michael Wolf
Who is your target market

The very first step in your SEO or SEM plan is to understand who your target market is.

If you are like most letting agents or property managers in any town or city you are most likely struggling to find new landlords and rental properties and have ample tenants on your tenant database. So if this is the case your target market should be landlords. Your content marketing within the site should be aimed at landlords

What are the search terms that landlords use?

Put yourself in the landlord’s shoes and type into Google what you think they would search for in order to employ a letting agency or property management company. As you do this make sure to localise it to a particular market so for example use “property Management London”, this is the type of term that a landlord would normally only search for. These search terms are called long tail keywords search terms and by using these within your site you are more likely to attract your target market.

Examples of Search terms

Below is a graph which illustrates search terms.

Property = 165,000 monthly searches. High volume monthly searches which can generate non qualified visitors. While this will look good on your Google analytics it wont look good when it comes to converting traffic to customers.

Property Management = 60,500 monthly searches. The visitor should be more interested in your service but if the visitor has a property in Newcastle and you operate in London then its not so good

Property Management London = 720 monthly searches. The visitor is most likely looking for a property management company in London and if this is the area you cover your visitor can convert into a customer.

Long tail property management keywords

 Examples of long tail keywords landlords use
  • Property management company in London
  • Management agent in London

If you wish to receive a full list of landlord search terms for your area please email andreas@rentview.com

TIP

In  a previous blog post I discussed writing content for your pocket not your ego, what I mean by this is do not try to write content just because it gets 165,000 searches a month.

Google Keyword Planner

Using Google keyword planner is an excellent way to start off your SEO strategy. Google Keyword planner allows you to monthly search volume of specific search terms. You can be very specific and break this down by regions such as country city, town etc.

Multiply Keywords

A really nice feature I am very fond of using is the multiply keywords section, here you can insert multiple keywords and include multiple areas. Google will then give you a return of average monthly search history assorted by volume, by having this detail you can then plan what content your property management or letting agency website should have in order to attract your target market.

Google Keyword planner

So if you are like most property management companies and letting agencies looking to make their letting agency website convert more landlords from visitors look at your long tail keywords.

 

Property Management Blogs

Successful Property Management Blogs

So your looking to build more traffic to your property management website and you want to show your knowledge in property management industry. The best way to do this is through property management blogging in my opinion.

property management blogs

Let me tell you a little story

I recently started to work with a couple of clients who are doing a really great job in putting out some good property management blogs. The topics are relevant for landlords and the blog titles get decent monthly searches so as a result they are starting to build new traffic to the site. Great they thought…

Fast forward three months

So lets now fast forward a few months.. The property management blogs have attracted over 1400 unique visitors to the sites in three months and from looking at the Google Analytics everything looks great. However none of the blog visitors have converted from being a visitor to being a customer.

Now I know it takes time to build your audience and trust within a blog before you have conversions i.e a website visitor turning into a customer. But that’s not the problem here the problem is the blog titles and content. You see there is two types of blog posts, one designed to get lots of traffic which is not targeted and then there is the targeted blog posts which deliver qualified traffic.

Two types of blogs in my opinion

High volume blog titles which are designed to land you lots of traffic.

While it sounds like a great idea searching Google keyword planner for long tail keywords with high monthly volume its normally not going to put leads in your inbox. Some property management companies and letting agents make mistakes in writing property management blogs with titles such as “Renting yields

While it gets a high volume of 1400 monthly searches what’s the likelihood of these visitors being in your market, and what I mean by that is having a rental property in your market. It is fine for a nationwide agency, service provider or software company as they are not looking for a client in a particular area.

property website traffic

Image credit VCU UNS

Targeted Blog titles which send you qualified visitors

Now I know writing blogs can be time consuming and once written you want to see lots of traffic but ask yourself a simple question “are you writing a blog for your ego or for your pocket”?

And if your reading this blog post your most likely looking to write a blog post for your pocket.

So lets say I am a Letting agency in London by looking at a blog title such as “Renting yields” and localising it to my location “Renting yields in london” I can then write a blog post which increases the chance of being read by my target market which is a property investor or landlord looking at rental yields in London.

It only gets 50 searches a month which is just over 3% of the first blog title but these are targeted blog titles for the property management industry in a particular location which should result in leads.

We all suffer from writers block and creativity problems but once you convert your first customer through a blog it becomes all worth it.

Here are some ideas for blogging for your agency and here is 10 blog topics for your letting agency.

 property management blogging

 Image credit Nina Matthews

Writing content to convert traffic

So once you have started to write specific content in your property management blogs which will land you qualified traffic your next step is to convert them. The best way to convert your traffic is to use easy CTA’s (Call to actions) within each page of your website.  If you dont have these you should look at our property management website design which now includes a blog.

 

Trust me I know what I am saying as I had to start writing before I started to see the real benefits / customers. If you are looking at other ways of increasing your inbound traffic to your website check out this post on property management marketing.

 

Landlord Marketing

Landlord Marketing with email drip campaigns

What percentage of your landlord website visitors today will contact you asking for information on your services? If you are not sure about a % I will make it simple how many landlords contact you daily looking for advice or inquiring about your services?

If the answer is 0% or more like 1 enquiry every couple of weeks you need to continue reading.

In my previous blog post on property management marketing trends I discussed how by blogging and educating your target market you can increase traffic to your site.

I discussed two types of visitors, landlords who want to educated themselves and landlords who want to employ your service.

landlord marketing

Thanks for the image ell-r-brown
The first landlord is the researcher

The majority of these visitors want education they are not YET looking to employ your services. In order to capture there contact information we need to give them something and as they are currently educating themselves the best thing I have learnt to give them so far is more educational resources. Much like you are on my blog now educating yourself on landlord marketing, landlords will hopefully be on your site educating themselves on the rental property industry.

The Second landlord is the employer

The other visitors to your website are most likely either researching companies to use now or in the future to let and or manage their property. You should already have call to actions within the site to capture there contact details. However some landlords may just browse now and come back later when they are ready to employ your services. This is a problem as in an ideal world you do not want to let any landlord leave without getting there details. So once again as above lets give them some free education on the property industry to confirm you are the agent to use and allowing you capture there contact details to market to them.

Email Drip Campaigns

Unsure what an email drip campaign is? Well you most likely have read it here first, drip email campaigns are a fabulous way to build trust with you or your agency. Drip marketing is a communication strategy that sends, or “drips,” a pre-written set of messages to customers or prospects over time.

If you look to the bottom right hand side of this page you will see my own email drip campaign which gathers 6% of all my website visitors.  If you want to see what happens once you sign up put in your email address 😉

Go on I guarantee you will be happy with what you get.

Your Website Stats

Look at your website stats and calculate if you converted 6% of your website visitors how many new landlords would that be weekly?

Lets say you get 100 landlords visiting your website weekly and you got 6% of them. That is 300 new landlords contact details in your landlord marketing funnel annually. If you only got 20% of them into a customer that’s 60 new properties on per year.

 

More Landlords = More Revenue

100 visitors a week -> 6% Sign up to Campaign -> x 52 weeks -> 312 New landlords in your marketing funnel -> Convert 20% as a customer ->62 new units -> Average fee £500 -> £31,000 New annual Revenue.

Benefits of Drip Campaigns

Marketing to landlords is a very targeted market and it’s difficult at times to market directly to them.

There is all the standard ways to conduct landlord marketing through direct marketing, cold calling landlords, email marketing to landlords, leaflet drops, landlord shows, property exhibitions, property auctions etc.

So are you still thinking of where to market to landlords?

If I can help in any way on setting up your landlord marketing email drip campaign please let me know as this is a service we provide.

Tenants Fees in Ireland

Tenants Fees

Do you charge your tenants fees or administration fees? That is the question I asked letting agents across Ireland over the last couple of weeks. 

So why did I ask it?

With the rental industry seeing huge demand at the moment most letting agents cannot get enough properties to let out. Most letting agents I’m speaking with on a daily basis are seeing increased costs in running their letting agency both legally and professionally. So with a reduced amount of vacant rental stock to let and increased overheads some letting agents are starting to struggle financially.

 

Letting Agents Survey Results-

Tenants fees survey

 

 

Is it Legal to charge tenants fees in Ireland?

Well if you look at Section 90 of the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 it is not-
90.—(1) Subject to subsection (2), any provision (whether express
or implied) in an agreement in respect of the sale or letting of land
whereby the purchaser or tenant, as the case may be, is required to
pay or otherwise bear the cost of the licensee’s fees or expenses in
respect of the sale or letting, as the case may be, shall be void, and
any moneys paid pursuant to such a provision shall be recoverable
as a simple contract debt in a court of competent jurisdiction.

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) shall affect the liability of a person
to pay fees or expenses to a licensee in respect of the acquisition of
any land where the licensee has been retained by the person to
acquire such land and does not also act, in respect of such acquisition,
on behalf of the person from whom the land is acquired.

 

So from reading the relevant sections in the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 charging a tenant an administration fee would be illegal.

Property services regulator authority logo

Prospects not Tenants

It however does not state if charging a potential tenant would be illegal i.e a person who views a property but fails to proceed into a lease.

A PSR representative quotes As you may know, the interpretation of the law is a matter for the Courts. I am not aware of any Court action in relation to alleged contraventions of section 90 of the Act so cannot give you references to same. Section 90 refers to tenants (not prospective tenants) and it would be a matter for the Courts to interpret if prospective tenants should have the same rights.”

 

Charging tenants to view a property

You currently show potential tenants a lot of property with only a small percentage converting into becoming a tenant. Depending on your location some tenants may only view one property with you, so why would a tenant pay to view a property? Unless they are desperate I cannot see this ever happening and would see it as a disastrous business decision.

Receiving an Offer

This is an area where I personally feel along with other agents that there is the ability to charge an administration fee. This is how it works in other markets such as in the UK. If at any stage the tenant pulls out or has given misleading or false information about his/her references that the administration fee is charged. However if the tenant proceeds to sign a lease the fee be refunded in full.

Agent’s comments on this

“I think the fee could be refunded to the tenant if he/she takes a property from the agent. If however he/she is looking through various apartments with several agents then the fee should be retained for administration charges”

“In some respects it is a business crime not to charge tenants fees, especially if they walk away for he deal before signing, as can happen. Absolutely the norm in the UK for the tenants to be charged admin/credit check fees. Also very interesting that many tenants coming into Dublin from overseas expect they will be charged? I’m asked the question regularly! Would love to see it become standard industry practice.”

 

Tenants administration fee

Charging Prospects

There is also the argument that by charging a tenant you are double charging the landlord.

Agent’s comments on this

“The landlord is king and pays a fee to find a tenant, charging a tenant could be the difference between an empty property or an occupied property as some tenant may avoid the agency solely because of this if I was the paying landlord I would not be happy and would seek another agency.”

“I feel that we get our fees from the Landlord so there is no reason to charge tenants as well. There are enough charges without adding“

Mid lease expenses

When managing some properties having fees in place will help with the overall costs associated with managing the property. These fees can be avoided however for example where a tenant consistently lodges rent in cash into an office or bank then a charge is incurred. Most banks charge approx .5% on all cash deposits so for the average agent this is 10% of your fee gone on bank charges.

Agent’s comments on this

“The reason we started was because Bank Charges are crazy and tenants even though they are asked to never transfer the funds but bring in the deposits/rents into office. This is causing higher bank charges and we have passed it on as we cannot afford to carry this cost. It is a small cost €30 for them to bare and to this date we have never received a negative comment.”

Check out these blogs on rent collection “costs of lodging rents” & “How to collect rent

“I do have in my lease a 300.00 charge held from the deposit should the tenant break their lease which is very effective. It covers re letting costs as well as PRTB charge etc.”

Tenants membership fee
Membership Fees

Even though the wording of the act states that you cannot pass on any fees to tenants some agencies charge fees. These agents call these fees “membership fees

Agents Comments on this

“We charge this for each tenancy and at the renewal stages also now. It is an administration charge or a membership charge as such. This is only charged to residential tenants. These charges pay for reference checks, changing utilities, bank fees etc all the way to providing a character reference at the end of the tenancy.”

The Results 

Well its clear to see there is a huge appetite from agents to start to charge tenants fees. 69% of letting agents who answered this survey are either planning to or willing to if other agents start to charge.

Analysis

So by charging prospective tenants at any point prior to them actually becoming a tenant is from my understanding the only way to work inside the act. Charging tenants for optional expenses incurred though out the lease term once highlighted within the lease may be the only other option as highlighted with banking fees above.

I am only opening the debate on whether letting agents should charge a fee or not, I am not in a position to legally advise any letting agent. If you are looking to increase your revenue but not looking to charge tenants fees here is a list of 30 free ways to market to landlords

Your Thoughts

What is your thoughts on tenants fees in Ireland. Are you a letting agent, landlord or a tenant who would like to share your opinion and open a discussion on this important subject.

 

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.

Rental Property Inventory – Compile inspection reports & save hours of time

Why is it important to carry out Rental Property Inventories?

When managing a rental property, it is imperative to conduct a full condition property inventory report on the property rather than just writing down the items in the property. Previously, letting agents would conduct inventory reports at the property with a note pad; writing down each item in the room, itemising each item and taking photographs of the condition of the property.

property inventory

Modern technology has allowed letting agents, landlords and inventory clerks to do things quicker and more efficiently, helping reduce time, costs and potential disputes.

Most letting agents’ letting & management services will include a check-in rental property inventory report and optional check-out property inventory report (depending on the service which the Landlord opts for – an interim inspection may be required).

3 common solutions used by Letting agents and landlords when conducting the rental property inventory reports:

1. The mighty pen and paper and photo taking

Before the digital age and probably still common now, is the use of pen and paper and a trusted camera. Some letting agents will still use this method to conduct their property inventories, mainly because they are not aware of a better way of conducting a property inventory report or because they are stuck in their ways.

The agent or landlord will go through each room and inventory of items, writing down the quantity and condition of the item while taking some photographs. Armed with all this data it is back to the office to compile the report which is something a letting agent won’t be looking forward to. Out comes Microsoft word to start re-writing the property inventory report for the second time, resizing images and compiling the property inventory report.

Time is money and re-writing property inventory reports takes too long. The fact is, the pen and paper method takes too much time and taking a photograph with a camera, resizing the images and creating your own report will take even more time – up to three hours in some cases. I am sure there is better ways to utilise your time if you are a letting agent or landlord!

  • 90 minutes compiling the report with pen, paper and camera
  • 90 minutes preparing the final property inventory report when you return to the office

2. Hiring a professional Inventory Clerk or Company to compile the rental inventory report

Inventory clerks are professional companies or individuals who conduct an independent inventory report on a rental property. Some of these companies are members of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks and adhere to the member’s Code of Practice. The clerk will conduct a thorough check of the property items and condition producing a detailed report of the exact condition of each item, rooms and outside spaces.

Inventory Clerk – How much does it cost?

Like most industries, you can find a more cost effective service provider and the inventory clerk or company is no different. A quick search on www.google.co.uk for a property inventory clerk will yield hundreds of results for different services and associations. With prices starting from £50 for check in’s and up to £150.00 for check outs (depending on the size of the property).

Fee price from http://www.smart-inventory.co.uk/fee-rates/

 Inventory & Check In

 Unfurnished

Furnished

One Bedroom

£90

£100

Two Bedrooms

£100

£110

Three Bedrooms

£110

£120

Four Bedrooms

£120

£130

Five Bedrooms

£130

£140

 

Check Out

Unfurnished

Furnished

One Bedroom

£70

£90

Two Bedrooms

£80

£90

Three Bedrooms

£90

£100

Four Bedrooms

£100

£110

Five Bedrooms

£110

£120

 

3. Digital Inventory software 

Using rental inventory software from your Smartphone or Tablet

With the emergence of the Smartphone and tablet there is a new way for Letting Agents and Landlords to conduct their Rental Property Inventory Reports. With most people now owning a Smartphone anyone with access to a credit card and the right lettings knowledge and experience can produce an inventory report.

A quick search on the app store will bring up 7 results for ‘inventory rental’. Our own easy to use Inventory app ‘Rentview Inventory’ is available for download for free from the App store.

Once downloaded to your Smartphone or tablet, you quickly sync the  Rentview Inventory app to your Rentview account. Any data collected will be published to your online account for editing.

Users start collecting data by following the simple steps below:

  • Inputting the rental property address
  • Select a pre-defined template such as a one bed template
  • Select the rooms of the property + outside spaces
  • Take photos of the Floors, Ceilings, Walls, Windows, Furniture, Inventory
  • Use the voice notes to dictate the condition of the property. (notes transcribed 4hrs later)
  • Click ‘done’ and your report will be ready shortly fully branded to your agency

check out the video demonstration on the Rentview youtube channel

The most important benefit of using the Rentview Inventory app is the time saved conducting and generating the report with an average of two man hours shaved off the old process. The cost benefits versus employing an inventory clerk are plain to see below.

Admin time for a rental portfolio of 50 properties for a start-up letting agency

Porperty inventory Saving time

Comparison of your time and money

Inventory Method Time £
DIY Pen & paper 3 Hours 0
Outsourced Inventory clerk 0 50 to 150
DIY Digital inventory app 45 mins £5

Thankfully for both Landlords and Tenants as well as Industry Professionals, there is code of practice in place for all licensed estate agents who are responsible for ensuring any inventory inspection is carried (be it check-in, interim and final check-out). I have listed below a summary of the code relating to inspection inventory reports.  The provision in the code of practice protects both Landlord and Tenant and helps avoid any potential dispute in the future.

Code of practice for licensed estate agents from the NAEA

Drawing attention to the benefits of a properly prepared Property Inventory

2h: You must draw to a potential client’s attention the necessity and benefit of a properly prepared full Inventory/Schedule of Condition.

You must outline to the applicant any potential fee or charges

6f: Prior to an applicant’s offer being formally accepted, you must set out in written form any significant pre-conditions for the letting, including the circumstances in which the applicant may have any potential financial liability for fees, charges or penalties relevant to:

–          The processing of his/her application to rent the property

–          His/Her withdrawal, at any stage of their application for the tenancy or the clients rejection of it

–          The initial settling up of the tenancy including Inventory / Check in costs

–          Any ongoing or future liability for fees or charges payable to you for the applicant to extend, renew or terminate the proposed tenancy including Inventory Check-out costs

Make sure that you have a fully detailed and up to date property inventory report

8c: You should take care, upon appropriate instructions from the client, that – at the start of a tenancy – any Inventory/Schedule of Condition prepared for the client by you, or an appointed sub-contractor, is sufficiently detailed and up to date to allow it to be used as a fair measure at the end of the tenancy

You must give the tenants enough time to read and comment on the check-in report

8j: The tenant must be given sufficient time to read and comment upon the check-in report and inventory. The tenant should also be asked to sign a copy, which you should hold on file and the tenant must be given a copy to retain. You must make it clear to the tenant that their failure to sign and return the inventory can be taken as their agreement that it is accurate.

Property inventory check out report or end of tenancy reports

12b: The checkout should be done thoroughly and a sufficiently detailed report or summary prepared with specific reference back to the Inventory/Schedule of Condition prepared prior to the tenancy.

Click here to check out the full NAEA code of practice

How do you create your property inventories?

Non-resident landlord scheme UK

The Non-resident landlord scheme in the UK

The Non-resident Landlord Scheme is something you’ll need to be aware of if you are dealing with non-resident landlord accounts in the UK.  There is great potential for letting agents to increase their portfolio with non-resident landlords, however a working knowledge of the legalities is needed. Below is a quick summary of some of the key points about this scheme.

What is the non-resident landlord scheme?

A simple definition:

According to Revenue and Customs in the UK, “The Non-resident Landlord (NRL) Scheme is a scheme for taxing the UK rental income of persons whose ‘usual place of abode’ is outside the UK” non-resident-landlord-scheme

A more detailed definition:

According to Revenue and Customs in the UK: “The Non-Resident Landlord’s (NRL) Scheme is a scheme for taxing the UK rental income of non-resident landlords. The scheme requires UK letting agents to deduct basic rate tax from any rent they collect for non-resident landlords. When working out the amount to tax, the letting agent can take off deductible expenses. Letting agents and/or tenants don’t have to deduct tax if HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) tells them not to. HMRC will tell an agent/tenant not to deduct tax if non-resident landlords have successfully applied for approval to receive rents with no tax deducted. But even though the rent may be paid with no tax deducted, it remains liable to UK tax. So non-resident landlords must include it in any tax return HMRC sends them.”

 Letting agent’s obligations regarding the non-resident landlord scheme

“Letting agents of a non-resident landlord must:

• deduct tax from the landlord’s UK rental income; and

• pay the tax to HMRC’s Accounts Office, Shipley.”

 Further details

Revenue and Customs provide a guide to the scheme. Guide notes can be found here. Key points from the guide are to:

  • Deduct tax at the basic rate (% for 2013) from the rent, after first taking off any deductible expenses.
  • Calculate the tax at the time you receive the rent, not when you pay it to the landlord.
  • Pay the tax to the Inland Revenue’s Accounts Office at Cumbernauld using a form NRLQ within 30 days of the end of the quarter it relates to. The quarters end on 30 June, 30 September, 31 December and 31 March.

Letting agents must include the following details on the return form:

• the total amount of tax due in respect of all their non-resident landlords for that quarter; or

• where there is no tax due in the quarter but the letting agent is due a repayment, the amount of the repayment claimed. Also “Letting agents who have to operate the NRL Scheme must register with HMRC PT International within 30 days of the date on which they are first required to operate the scheme.” non-resident-landlord-scheme-guide

Letting agents’ obligations

Letting agents who have to operate the Non-resident Landlords (NRL) Scheme must:

• register with PTI;

• account quarterly for any tax to HMRC Accounts Office, Shipley;

• complete an annual information return;

• where they are required to account for tax, provide their non-resident landlords with a certificate each year; and

• keep sufficient records to show that they have complied with the requirements of the Scheme.”

 Also of note

Applications by non-resident landlords for approval to receive rent with no tax deducted “Non-resident landlords who are eligible can apply at any time for approval to receive their UK rental income with no tax deducted. This includes applying before they have left the UK or before the letting has started.”

Conditions

Conditions for applying to HMRC for approval to receive rental income with no tax deducted Non-resident landlords can apply to receive their rent with no tax deducted on the basis that either:

  • their UK tax affairs are up to date
  • they have not had any UK tax obligations before they applied
  • they do not expect to be liable to UK Income Tax for the year in which they apply
  • they are not liable to pay UK tax because they are sovereign immunes (these are generally foreign Heads of State, Governments or Government departments)

Useful links regarding the non-resident landlord scheme:

For landlords – FAQ

Important information on tax returns – relevant for those dealing with the non-resident landlord scheme.

Non-resident landlord – potential for letting agents in UK

Non-resident landlord in the UK

A property having a non-resident landlord is increasingly common, what this means for letting agents is that there is a potential untapped market out there.  If you think about it, there is far more profit to be made from a client who requires more than a let-only service.

non-resident-landlord-keys

What kind of services does a non-resident landlord require?

Most likely, they will need a full property management service, along with someone to find new tenants. They will need to feel that they can trust the letting agent with their property; remember, they can’t just check up on the property if they are abroad. Without a doubt, accountability and transparency are the key here. Lack of communication between letting agent and landlord may cause the landlord to change letting agent – they do not want any extra stress.

It’s just a matter of finding the landlords, or making it easier for them to find you. Attracting a landlord via the internet is therefore vital. That’s where a non-resident landlord will go if they are looking for someone to manage their property.

Is there really much potential with a non-resident landlord?

Short answer – yes!

It is estimated by UK Revenue and Customs that approximately 5 per cent of the 1,930,000 landlords who answered ‘yes’ to q4 of the SA100 tax return form in 2010-2011 since only 5 per cent reported a non-UK address. Question 4 is ‘Did you receive any income from UK property (including rents and other UK income from land you own or lease out)?’  This means that around 96,500 potential non-resident landlords could be looking for your business in the UK.

non-resident landlord

Google searches are another thing that must be taken into account. There are currently at least 3500 searches per month relating to property management and letting agents in the UK, made from outside of the UK.

For example:

There are 1,450 searches per month

made outside the UK

through Google and Google search partners (This would include YouTube, which is owned by Google now)

for these terms: letting agents london, property management london, letting agency london, letting agent london, rental agency london, property manager london, rental agent london

Now granted, some of these searches may be from future tenants looking for somewhere to live before moving to London, however a great deal could be from property owners. This is something we have no way of knowing yet but

This means that within the London area alone, there are potentially 1,450 non-resident landlords per month looking for a letting agent to let and/or manage their property.

non-resident-landlord-globe

Where are these searches coming from?

Well as you’d expect, there are strong numbers from countries where English is spoken and there are strong migration patterns to and from the UK.

Searches came from:

US 250

India 170

Canada 130

Australia 90

Ireland 80

New Zealand 70

South Africa 60

Where are they searching from?

Now to market to those landlords!