How letting agents should use Facebook

Many letting agents and property management companies use Facebook but they do not use it correctly in my opinion. In a previous blog post on how letting agents should not use Facebook I discussed this and there reach. So now lets look at how letting agents should use Facebook.

Facebook Reach

To quickly summorise what Facebook reach is ” The total number of unique people who saw your content in their News Feed, ticker or on your Page” , this is really important for your account because lets face it your posting content to be seen.

Here are 5 ways how letting agents should use Facebook

1. Engage with your tenants.

I must admit I love how the guys over at Walton Robinson engage with tenants on their Facebook page. They take a picture of new tenants who collect keys for a property with their company logo and then tag them in the image. They are actually building their audience through their new tenants by asking them to like them. Then once they are tagged their friends congratulate them on the move etc. It appears their main tenant market is students, so by the students friends viewing the image they can see that the agency are student rental friendly.


Including tenants in your facebook pag

 2. Engage with your landlords

There is a couple of ways to do this and there is many companies that are good at it, I haven’t come across many letting agencies that do it great. (if your agency is on Facebook why not like our page and I can check you guys out) One company which I am a fan of is The City Bin Company.  They post testimonials on their website which promotes their main message as having excellent customer service. My opinion on this is that it encourages others to send similar positive messages. As more people like the posts the higher the reach of the post will become which feeds to more testimonials etc… Nice trend going 😉 Top Marks

Facebook testimonials letting agents

There is also a star rating widget that Facebook allow page visitors to rank. As your page fans or customers rank you with stars you get to show off your star ranking… Aim for 5 Stars.

Testimonials left from landlords on your Facebook page for your letting agency is a great way to build your portfolio.

Letting agents facebook stars

3. Engage through comedy

Facebook posts which hold an image is much more likely to get a thumbs up in the form of a like, a share or a comment etc and guess what this builds your reach. I must admit the guys over at The City Bin Co do this really well.

This particular post had over 100 shares and 150 likes so you could imagine what the reach is. Any coincidence they have over 7,000 fans.. I think not

funny property management facebook post

4. Ask questions through postings

Rather then just posting a status update and expect a like, post a question and expect a comment. By doing this you are engaging with your fans and opening up the possibility to conversation. Remember its called social media so make sure your social. If you want to bring the possibility of engagement up further include an image and post a question, this really works well once its original. Many property companies and portals post unusual and luxury images with a question to open engagement. Below is an image from the UK’s property portal NeedAProperty facebook page, as you can see this simple question got over 200 likes, over 20 shares and multiple comments.

Engaging letting agent Facebook comments

NB. Its very important to be creative here and looking up “luxury properties” on Google and posting them to your Facebook is not the most creative so don’t expect miracles.

TIP. I would highly recommend that once you are out taking marketing snaps of a property look for something quirky, unique or luxurious at your property. Take a picture, think of a witty comment along with a question and post it. This way you are opening engagement and listing a property.

Remember don’t just list every property you are marketing as your fans wont engage and your post reach will reduce.

5. Engage with other local businesses

If your in property your more then likely dealing with a specific locality, within this locality are a lot of other businesses. A high percentage of this population at some point will either be personally looking or have a close friend who is looking to rent or rent out a property. By engaging with other businesses in your locality your brand will start to be recognized by the community in your locality.

your letting community

NB. So its quite simple the more of a contributor you are to social media the more you will get from social media.

TIP. Look for other local businesses with a Facebook page, like the page and start engaging.

PLEASE don’t spam as its the quickest way your community will hesitate in connecting with you.

Facebook and social media should be part of your overall marketing strategy. Dont expect to receive a flood of calls over night but do expect if you things correctly to do more business in the near future.

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.


Television Licence

Your Television Licence – what do you have to pay?

A television licence is a certificate that states that you have paid the appropriate fee to the government and contributed to the cost of public service broadcasting in Ireland. Your television licence is issued for 1 year in general. If you have a Television you must have a TV Licence. A TV licence In the Republic of Ireland costs €160.


New Television Licence Regulation

However, what if you don’t watch television? Well a new regulation will mean that you have to pay a television license whether you watch it or not.  According to the Independent, “Nobody will be able to refuse to pay the new broadcasting charge on the basis they don’t have a TV as it will be legally binding on all homes regardless of what devices they own.”

The Government is hoping to have this regulation fully in place by January 1, 2015. The cost increase to €160 is to combat the current 18% evasion rate.  The increase in laptops, tablets and PCs is likely to be a cause of people “not watching” television, as they are no longer watching on a television set. However,the definition of a Television set is (Section 140 (1) of the Broadcasting Act 2009):

“television set” means any electronic apparatus capable of receiving and exhibiting television broadcasting services broadcast for general reception ( whether or not its use for that purpose is dependent on the use of anything else in conjunction with it ) and any software or assembly comprising such apparatus and other apparatus.

Despite the digital switchover in 2012, analogue televisions are still required to have a television licence too. All premises at which a TV is located require a TV Licence regardless of its use, therefore businesses need television licences too, even if they only use their television for training purposes.

Do you need a television licence for each television you have?

If the equipment capable of receiving a television signal (for example a television set or a laptop) is held in a household (an apartment, flat or a house), then one television licence will cover multiple pieces of equipment. If you have a television set in your  kitchen and another in your living room, one television licence covers both sets.

Tenants, Landlords  and Letting Agents should take note however that if the building in which the equipment is kept is sub-divided into flats or apartments or other separate living quarters, then a separate television licence must be held for each of these quarters. This means that an individual licence must be held for each separate flat, apartment or other dwelling.

Owners of holiday homes also need separate television licenses for each household.

Who should pay the television licence in rented accommodation?

This is something the landlord and tenant must work out between them. If you are a tenant living in rented accommodation with a television you must have a television licence. This applies irrespective of who owns the television (whether the television belongs to you or the landlord). The law states that anyone resident on a premises in possession of a television set must have a television licence. Most good residential lettings agreements will stipulate who is responsible for the TV licence

According to An Post:

You can buy a television licence in the following ways:

To renew your television licence at the post Office, you’ll need your current TV reference number, which is on the reminder notice sent from the TV Licence section. To avoid delays in Post Offices it is important to bring your reminder notice with you as the notice is scanned at the counter.

Some other things to note:

  • You should receive your TV Licence within 10 working days.
  • If you purchase a TV Licence through the call centre, it will be posted to your address 10 to 14 days after the licence was purchased.
  •  A new 17 digit TV reference number and PIN are generated each year and supplied with your TV Licence reminder notice.
  • First reminders are posted 2 weeks before your TV Licence expires.
  • If you are moving house, it is possible and highly advisable to have your television licence transferred to your new address. Simply bring your existing licence to your nearest Post Office, together with evidence of your new address (that is a household utility bill or a bank statement). Staff in your Post Office will then amend the details on your record and your licence will be updated and re-issued to you. This service is free.
  • If you are aged over 66, are receiving a social welfare pension and nobody in your household is employed or receiving Unemployment Benefit or Unemployment Assistance, you may be entitled to a free television licence.
  • If you believe you may be entitled to a free television licence, you should contact the Department of Social Protection  at LoCall 1890500000 to get an application form for the Households Benefits Package. Fill this in and return it to the Department, Free Schemes Section, Pension Services Office, Freepost, College Rd., Sligo. They will issue the free licence to you.
  • “An inspector is sent to premises if a licence is more than six weeks out of date, if a new record is added to the database which doesn’t have a current licence, and where there are unlicensed addresses.”” (
  • Be sure to print off a receipt of payment if you have paid your Television Licence fee online to show to the TV Licence inspector if you have an inspection prior to receiving your TV Licence in the post. You will also receive an email with a text version of the Transaction Summary (if you have supplied an email address).

People give many reasons for not paying their licence, but they won’t work. And the repercussions can be serious; over 272 people were jailed for not paying the charge in 2012. Some excuses are downright ridiculous

So don’t get caught out!

If you have a query you should contact your local TV Licence Records Office.

Further information can be found at An Post and Citizens Information.

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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How to market rental property

What is your strategy  in “How To Market rental property”?

Learning how to market rental property successfully is vital for letting agents and landlords. This skill is even more important than ever before, as the highest amount of tenants ever are looking for private rental property, and the internet is the most common place for them to look.

What strategy do you use to market rental property?

Most letting agents use a strategy to market rental property. I have outlined 3 strategies below that agents use to market to tenants. Each strategy attracts a lead quality.

Property listed with no photos or only an external photo


From my experience, this strategy is often used to market rental property that is not in great condition or below the listed value. Personally, I would feel that by doing this you could be wasting a lot of time in showing the property as people coming to view the property may not be interested in the property at all, but came to view of it because of its location. I think the main strategy behind this is playing “the number game” by getting enough tenants in to view it will eventually interest somebody.  The benefit here is the potential to attract a large volume of tenants, depending on price. The negative here is that time is money and you can end up doing multiple showings to a lot of tenants.

Tenant Qualification – The tenant is happy with the location and price.

Property listed with ample photos

This strategy is favoured by most agents who list the property with photos of every or nearly every room. The potential tenants who come to view are qualified* and whilst the volume of tenants may not be as high, they are interested in seeing more than just the interior photos. This is when you market rental property as it saves you a significant amount of time.

Tenant Qualification* –The tenant is happy with the location, price, property and interior.

Property listed with a walk through video


This is a very targeted strategy.  It brings SEO benefits to your letting agency brand if done correctly. This may take longer for you as a letting agent to advertise, but it really is a great way to list and market rental property. Any potential tenant who has viewed the marketing video and arranged a viewing are as qualified as they come.

Tenant Qualification –The tenant is happy with the location, price, property, interior and layout.

It does not require you to have professional recording equipment and in fact most smart phones now with a 5 mega pixel + camera providing excellent footage. They can be quickly uploaded directly from your smart phone to a YouTube or Vimeo account through their app. In our next blog we will look at creating your youtube channel.

You may also be interested in reading Why use youtube for marketing?

In a previous blog on Marketing to landlords in 5 steps I discussed how important it is to always market a property as professionally as possible. One of the reasons being is that it is a great way to market to landlords looking for an agent who has property in the same area as their own rental unit.

Here are a couple of links of different marketing strategies used by a estate and a letting agent:

Using humour in your marketing to attract viewers “Up tight Tribute to Honest Agent”

I am not sure if this letting agency  was having a bad day when they decided to market this rental property or if the letting agent is a PR genius. I am sure that if they are reading they will go with the latter after all they got mentioned in national press, social media and even on our blog ha ha!


I would love to hear your feedback on the strategy you find best and or perhaps a strategy that I have not mentioned.

by Andreas Riha

Lettings Management Industry- a PEST Analysis

Some of you will have read the article last week on business strategy for letting and estate agents in the Lettings Management Industry, which received a good response, so I am continuing in a similar theme this week. Obviously we discussed what strategies agencies can take to the market, but before you get anywhere close to deciding on your strategy towards achieving a competitive advantage, you have to first do some analysis. Analysing the situation you are in as an agency will involve:

  1.  internal analysis (factors unique to the agency like routines, capabilities, strengths and weaknesses) and
  2. external analysis which is where I am going to start today.


So external analysis involves factors outside of the agency’s control and common tools business analysts use are; PEST analysis (political, economic , social and technology factors), Driving forces, Key success factors, Industry Life Cycle and Industry forces. One of the most prominent and more important tool is the PEST analysis, which many of you will be already familiar with. So here we go:

Political: This is where business activity in the industry is restricted due to either laws or interest groups. The first thing that comes to mind is the new property services regulatory authority. In a previous blog, we learned that several Irish agencies had to re-apply for their licences after failing to have the correct information prepared for the body. There is also new regulation set to be brought in next year on the monitoring of monies in client accounts.

Economic: These factors are mainly to do with the purchasing power and spending patterns in the market. The question a company usually asks themselves here is are people willing to spend on the services provided in the industry. In Ireland this, in my opinion, is a ‘no’ to the vast majority of landlords, tenants, home-sellers and any other customers of letting or estate agents. This is down to one simple factor of people not having as much money to spend anymore. The one area I might say the consumer is willing to spend on is the sale of a home, as it may be urgent or important to get the highest price obviously.


What every agency in the Lettings Management Industry wants, a bunch of happy tenants, landlords & homeowners.

Social : Social factors affecting the industry include the population trends, family size, diversity and education. So thanks to, I gathered some stats on some of the key trends I think are effecting the industry currently. Things are good and bad, our population is still rising and currently stands at 4.72 Million, up from 4.67 last year. Net Migration rate is down from 4.5 to 1.6 per thousand. This means there is less and less people coming to Ireland. And lastly the birth rate is 15.8/1000 which again is down from 16.5 in 2010. In my opinion, these stats are not good for the industry.

Technological :  Technology is the final piece to this puzzle we have been trying to solve. Currently I would think technology is actually affecting areas of the property services industry such as management, sales and lettings, marketing and customer relations. As we become more and more fond of our devices and technologies, agencies must adapt to suit their market. This may involve having a digital strategy in marketing their services or a C.R.M system to manage their clients.

This analysis applies to the Lettings Management Industry specifically, but it can be applied to any business.

That’s it for this week’s business strategy blog. Thanks for reading!

by Rentview

Opening an Account with an Energy Provider


The rules on changing Energy Provider

Recent changes introduced by the Commission for Energy Regulation mean that the process of switching accounts from one energy provider to another can no longer be carried out by a letting agency. The energy provider will only allow the agency to change account into new tenant’s name if they already provide energy to that property. For example; a property in Inchicore, Dublin 8 has an account with Bord Gáis. The new tenants also have an account with Bord Gáis. The agency can switch the account names without any great difficulty.

If the tenant wants to move into a property which has a different energy provider to the one (s)he currently holds an account with and (s)he wants to keep the same provider, (s)he will have to contact the current provider, instead of the agent, to complete the process. Taking the previous example, the Inchicore property has a Bord Gáis account. The new tenant has an Electric Ireland account and wants to stay with Electric Ireland. The agency can no longer switch the Bord Gáis account to Electric Ireland, the tenant must do so. Essentially, switching by the agency is only allowed when the two accounts are with the same energy provider. With different providers, the closing and opening of accounts by the tenant is the only way.

These changes make life more difficult for agents. They have to spend time explaining the process to both the tenants and landlords  and why they can and can’t do certain things. If agents need to discuss or clarify details with the energy provider, they may not be able to as some providers refuse to speak with anyone other the account holder under data protection rules. The agent has to rely on the tenant to do it, which may mean chasing tenants for confirmation and not being able to move on until you know it’s definitely been done. If the tenant refuses to pay a bill, the agency might have to step in and pay it, as there’s an agreement with the landlord that utility accounts will be managed by the agency.

Figures from the regulator show that during the period January 2010 to December 2011, Electric Ireland lost 345,412 customers, with Airtricity and Bord Gáis gaining 257,151 and 77,793 customers respectively. Price competition would be the obvious explanation for the differences.

How to open,  switch or close an account with an energy provider:


To switch (change account name):

-You need the name, address, account number, MPRN/GPRN of the home, move in date, electricity/gas meter readings, date of birth and contact details of the tenant. You’ll need to call Electric Ireland to arrange the switch. If everything is in order, the account will be switched straight away.

To close an account:Contact Electric Ireland with the name, account number, the moving out date, the final meters reading, forwarding address and the new tenant’s name and phone number.

To open an account: Contact Electric Ireland with the name and address, move in date, MPRN/GPRN number, meter readings on move in date, date of birth and account number of previous address.If the tenant is a new customer (s)he must sign up for a direct debit or pay a security deposit if €300.


To switch, open or close an account: you need contact Bord Gáis with the tenant name, old and new addresses, meter readings, MPRN/GPRN numbers and bank details.


To open and close accounts: you need to contact Airtricity with tenant names, old and new addresses, meter readings from move out/move in days, MPRN/GPRN numbers and bank details.

The process of switching or opening and closing accounts varies from provider to provider, as shown above. Further details can be found on,, and

Landlord Costs – Costs of Renting out a Property


 Landlord Costs

Landlords, just like tenants, face a number of costs when renting out their property. If using a property management agency to rent the property, there will be letting, management and services charges. Companies will usually offer a discounted rate for a letting and management package. Shopping around is always a good idea and choosing an agency that use good letting agency software is a super starting point.

Landlord costs in Ireland: Non-Principal Private Residence Tax

Also referred to as the second property tax (NPPR), this is a charge of €200 on any residence that is not your primary living one, i.e. if you live in Dublin but own a property in Kildare, then you must pay tax on the Kildare property but not the Dublin home. It must be paid within two months of March 31st (liability date), although there is a month’s grace period. After that a late fee of €20 per month is charged. Applications and payments can be made online at

 Landlord costs in Ireland: The Household Charge

 The Household Charge came into effect on January 1st of this year. It’s a precursor to the full property tax agreed as one of the terms of the EU/IMF bailout and will be used to pay for local services such as libraries, fire brigade services, street cleaning etc. that had been paid by the Exchequer up until now. All residential property owners must pay €100 for each property they own. This does not just mean the physical building, but the number of residential units e.g. a building split into 3 bedsits will require 3 lots of the charge. As with the NPPR, payment must be paid before March 31st or penalties of 10%, 20% or 30% will be charged. Payments can be made through and more information found at and can be paid in total or in installments.

 Landlord costs in Ireland:Income Tax

Rental income is subject to tax, just like any other income. There are some expenses that can reduce your income tax liability such as management fees, insurance premiums, accountants’ fees for preparing rental accounts and cost of repairs. Details on calculating and paying this tax can be found on Consulting an accountant on tax returns available is advised as it can be a complicated process.

Landlord costs in Ireland:PRTB Registration

All residential properties must be registered with the Private Residential Tenancies Board, as must all changes in tenancies and tenants who have been renting for over 4 years must be re-registered. To register, an application form must be completed (found online at or through a letting agency) and a fee of €90 has to be paid. If the registration is made after one month of the tenancy has passed, a late fee of €180 will be charged. Be sure to check the website for further details.

Landlord costs in Ireland:Water Charges

While not upon us yet, Minister of State Fergus O’Dowd has confirmed that water charges will be introduced from 2014. Details about how much the charge will be and payment methods etc. are unclear at the moment.

With all of these costs to face, do you still want to be a landlord in Ireland? Can you think of ways to improve a landlord’s prospects?



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