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 let a property in the summer

The summer season can be a frustrating time for letting agents, as they have a number of prime location properties that become available at the same time.

How to let a property in the summer

So what’s the problem?

In most cases, there are also a number of other prime location properties that come on the market with other agencies and landlords. As students finish up renting for the end of the academic year, their rental properties will normally come back on the rental market. With the exodus of students, the market sees a huge jump in the number of available units.

How to let a property in the summer

Having a property vacant for as little as 1 week will see a reduction of 2% in annual rent, bring that vacant period forward to a month and you are looking at a reduction in rent of 8%. One of a properties USPs is the rental amount and if you market the property at the rental value today and not at its peak you should see the property being let within a lot quicker time period. Another post of interest may be How to market a rental property.

Look at the numbers

Example1. Rent of €1000 per month. Vacant for 6 weeks

= loss of rent of €1385.

12 month lease =€12,000-€1,385 =€10,615

Example 2. Rent of €950 per month. Vacant for 1 week

= loss of rent at €220

12 month lease = Annual Rent €11,400 – €220= €11,180

Results

Renting for a reduced rent equals a saving of €565

Analysis

Reducing the rent by 5% of the peak renting value actually works out at increasing the landlords annual yield by 5% compared to having a void period of 6 weeks. In my opinion, this is how to let a property in the summer.

The main point here is that if you analyse the figures and discuss it, the landlord should not let the concern of a lower rent today impact the result of a higher annual rental yield. 

Going forward

You can try to let the property for a lease term which brings in the property for renewal in August & September in order to increase the yield for your landlord.

By Andreas Riha

Link building strategies

Link Building strategies for your letting agency

Link building for your letting agency website is crucial in order for your site to get listed high on organic search results. In a previous post we discussed the biggest challenge letting agents face today, which was winning new properties to let and manage. We then went on to discuss how to win more landlords with a post on marketing to landlords in 5 Steps.

With so many letting agency websites to compete with it has become essential for you to put an SEO strategy into place.

Link Building strategies

One way search engines rank your website higher against others is by how many times your website gets mentioned on the internet. This term is simply called “inbound links”. The more websites that mention your website the higher search engines rank your own website (Page Rank). Page rank is important as the higher a websites page ranks the higher amount of credibility it gives to its link to you (Link Juice). If you are going to start to build links you need to research link building strategies.

link building strategies

What tools can help you?

A tool you can easily use in your toolbar to see what page rank a website has is available on Google Chrome

A really quick way to find out how many links you currently have going to your site can be found by visiting Alexa. Enter your site url and it will return a link with your number of links. 

A useful exercise is to check up with a number of your competitors and see how they are doing. Through some research you could possibly find some websites that can give you some really strong links.

Further research into link building

Probably one of the best articles I have ever come across with regards to Link building strategies is written by Jon Cooper. If there is ever a document I would recommend reading it is this one… by the way it is free and I did not write it 😉

We would be delighted to hear how you get on with your link building strategies and what worked well for you.

by Andreas Riha

Imagecredits Mark Kens

Rental marketing video


Following on from our previous video blog on creating your Letting Agency Video Channel, here we can see how to publish a property marketing video on your YouTube station. (by Rentviewsoftware)

Process for editing your rental marketing video

Here is 5 steps in uploading your rental marketing video to YouTube. You will need to create an account as outlined in the above link.

Step 1. Upload the video from your computer or device. If you are using a smart phone or tablet you can easily upload the video by just clicking the upload facility.

Step 2. Start to place SEO information relating to your rental marketing video. It is important to use keywords which you hope to rank with in the Title, Description and tags. For example if your property is located on Manchester Ave you may want the title as “Manchester Ave Apartment to rent” this should also appear in the description.

Step 2a. Include the text to appear in your Facebook or Twitter Feed if you have social media connected with your channel.

Step 3. Advanced settings, will allow you enter details such as location and options to include recording date etc.

Step 4. Once you have everything completed press save and now you edit some of the rental makreting video to include on screen texts and links etc.

Step 5. Promote your rental marketing video in order for you to generate traffic and views. The obvious places of promotion are all your social media channels but also on the description of your rental property.

Rental marketing video

Why agencies use rental marketing video

The strategy of using a rental marketing video by letting agents to attract tenants allows them to qualify the tenants to the highest level possible. By offering a rental marketing video any potential tenant viewing your property knows that location, price, layout & interior match their expectations.

By using rental marketing videos you are offering more in your marketing services to landlords. With increased competition within the lettings industry having more USP’s will certainly help you attract more listings.

Read more on Strategy in marketing a rental property – which discusses letting agents’ different marketing strategies.

by Andreas Riha

Finding landlords – Expand your letting agency portfolio in 5 steps

Finding landlords

Finding new landlords is the biggest challenge for letting agents and property managers. For most letting agencies and rental managers, finding tenants in today’s rental market is easier than finding landlords. So how can you increase your marketability as a letting agency to new landlords? Well there are a number of housekeeping procedures that some letting agents fall behind on which we will discuss below. These can improve marketability to new landlords and help in finding landlords to expand an agency’s portfolio.

finding-landlords

1. Advertised properties on portals

A lot of landlords today look through property portals to try and estimate what their property will achieve on the market prior to it being available. They will look at properties in the area, pictures, descriptions etc. So it is very important that your listed properties are looking their best.  Have a detailed property description, mind your typos, make sure your pictures are professional and not taken from a low mega pixel digital camera.  I would also strongly advise against night time photos. Even if the market is busy and you know that if it was listed without pictures you would still get a dozen showings in 48 hours ensure every listing is as professional as possible.  

2. Profile Page about your letting agency

Once again landlords are busy looking through portals and having a profile with 2 lines of text is just lazy. I am not saying list a page full of text but put some thought into what your services are and what makes your rental agency stand out against the busy crowd. If there is possible to upload thumbnails of the staff, do it. This is a service business and that means it’s a people business so let landlords know who you are.

3. About us

This is similar to the above and is also relevant to your website. There are a lot of property websites that I visit and I can’t find out any information on the staff in the agency. Have they experience? Who are they? Have they been working in the industry long? This is all information that potential landlords really love to know.  So why not really sell yourself here?

4. Services

We provide a full letting and property management service. This sometimes is as much information that is on a letting agencies profile or website and it’s not going to get you a large volume of inbound inquiries.  List your services and if there is something that makes you stand out list it. Do you provide Digital Inventories on all your let properties? Do you offer a landlord free online account login on all managed properties? Free energy certs on all rentals? If there is something you can offer or currently offer that makes you stand out let potential landlords know about it.

5. Testimonials

In the information age that we live in there is nothing more appealing than customer testimonials in finding landlords. Now a written testimonial by Jack Smith is good but landlords may think is it genuine? A picture of Jack Smith beside his testimonial is more powerful. You can take this to the next level and include a small video clip of Jack Smith giving a testimonial. One of my favourite types of testimonials I am seeing now is Jack Smith leaving a testimonial on a Facebook page. Extract this and post it on your website and link it to your Facebook page. This way your new landlords can see its genuine and also might Like your Facebook page.

finding-landlords-letting-agent

Following this list can only increase your brand and image as a  excellent and trustworthy letting agent or property manager. I would love for you to tell me what number 6, 7 or even 8 could be on this list so why not comment and let me know? Finding landlords is not easy but I hope this list will allow you find more. 

As always, please feel free to share and ask any questions you may have.

Letting agents software  

by Andreas Riha

How to collect rent

Collect rent

One of the fundamental tasks a letting agent or property manager will undertake when managing a rental portfolio is to effectively manage the rent collection. There is a whole ecosystem working here and if you have a good Rental Management Software system in place, it saves you a lot of time and effort. It also helps if you have managed to secure good quality referenced tenants for your properties, then you can reduce the possibility of the extra work load.

The reality for some letting agencies is that managing the rental payments from tenants is quite a stressful (Full time) job.  If all goes to plan and tenants pay on time via standing order or direct debit then the rent paying eco system flows perfectly. Tenant paying on time means the letting agency receives fees on time and the Landlord / Mortgage is paid on time. Usually what happens here is your landlord has a very good experience dealing with your letting agency and you retain the landlord as a customer.

 collect-rent

When managing rental properties it is important letting agents and property manager’s setup efficient ways to collect the monthly or weekly rent.  Agents who use Property Management Software can reduce admin time. Below I have listed some of the most popular methods.

How to collect rent

Standing order:  The most cost effective way to manage rental payments is by setting up a standing order with your tenants for the rental payments. Make sure if you are managing multiple rental payments you include a reference code to identify the rent payment.

 collect-rent-software

Direct debit: This is a great way to collect rent payments and gives letting agencies great control when administrating rental payments. Similar to a standing order but with better controls, please beware of any cost implications for your letting agency if tenants funds bounce. I recently came across a company who facilitate the collection of funds via direct debit called www.gocardless.com who charge up to £2 per transaction.

Collecting cash:  The oldest method used to collect rent. When managing rental payments, this is the one method I would not recommend you implement if you are managing a mid-size portfolio. There are too many issues with collecting rent via cash from tenants each month.  I hear from too many letting agencies who allow their office to be used as a bank for tenants to lodge cash. It is better to use another method to collect rent. Some of the issues which could arise include:

  • Losing or misplacing cash in office.
  • Leaving your office open to robbery.
  • Fraud issues with staff members administrating cash transactions.
  • Cost of bank charges for cash lodgements can be expensive.
  • Administration time managing cash lodgements.

Bank lodgement: Allowing your tenants lodge funds directly to your bank is another method used by some property managers for their rent management. Agents need to be aware of the bank charges levied for allowing tenants to lodge to your bank account when using this method to collect rent. You will also need to be aware of lodged rental payments which are not referenced and from previous experience managing a rental portfolio, I can tell you that this can be an administration nightmare.

Credit card: With increased access to debit and credit cards this could be a way to collect rent in the future but the costs are just too high at the moment and to get a merchant ID from a provider is sometimes difficult. Would you pay 2.9% or (£14.50) to collect rent of £500 from your tenants?

You may also be interested in this infographic on The Costs of taking Monthly Rental Payments .

Let us know what your experiences are in rent management, or if you have any questions, do get in touch!

by Colin Napper

Letting agents revenue

I recently got a call from a Rentview subscriber who was hoping to maximize her letting agency revenue opportunities from her current portfolio. 

When we got chatting, we went through what percentage of her landlords had taken the letting agencies full property management package against the let-only service  The response was standard enough with approx 1 in every 4 landlords choosing the full property management package.  So that meant that the remaining 75% were choosing the let only service.

letting agents revenue

Letting agents revenue can be restricted by lack of communication

The problem here is that letting agents will not typically contact a let-only landlord during the lease cycle. The majority of letting agents using letting agency software or an organised filing system will only contact the landlord and tenant in the last month of the lease. The result of this can be rewarding for a letting agency, but what if there was greater communication throughout the lease period? The rewards could be even greater.

In a typical letting and management agent’s portfolio, they have let-only landlords who are midway through a lease period and others that have gone by the initial lease period signed.  So for each type of landlord there could be a different approach used.

Methods to increase letting agents revenue

Mid-lease landlord– a landlord who you helped to find tenants but who is not receiving your management services.

One way to deal with this potential repeat customer could be a quick check-up call with the landlord to see how everything is going with the tenancy. Is there anything that you can help the landlord with? Is there any rent outstanding? Is the tenant maintaining the property? Does the landlord need any advice on new regulations?

Being a landlord isn’t easy, and as you are the experienced professional, you can offer your assistance. It is a great reminder of your services and shows the landlord that you are an agency focused on customer service and increasing your letting agency revenue

Expired lease period landlord–  a landlord who had been contacted at the end of the lease term and wanted to renew the lease himself or let the lease roll.

Here you could use a similar approach to the above but it can also be used as a direct revenue opportunity for your letting agency. Why not offer something for free to this landlord, like a quick midterm inspection? A midterm inspection is a quick drop into the property to see how everything is going. This typically won’t take more than 5 minutes inside the rental property with the tenants, followed up with a call to the landlord.

Better still why not offer the landlord a detailed midterm inspection report? This typically would involve pictures along with notes on the property condition, items which may need attention and give the landlord a feel for how is property is being maintained.

increase letting agency revenue

What you can charge will depend on how you deliver the inspection. I know that letting agents using the Digital Inventory reports are charging somewhere around £80 for this service. A digital inventory report includes detailed date-stamped and geo-tagged photos, detailed condition reports and is all accessible on the cloud. Check out how to use the Rental Property Inventory App.

Your portfolio and your clients are your letting agency’s assets and if you don’t take good care of them they will depreciate. Letting agencies that want a better way to manage their property management portfolio may be interested in our Letting Agency Software.

Letting agents’ revenue on let-only clients should not be restricted to an annual letting or renewal fee. By offering additional services and communicating with landlords, letting agents can increase revenue!

by Andreas Riha

 

Letting agency business model changing in Ireland

With fewer properties on the rental market and more Estate Agents offering a letting service, letting agents will need to diversify to retain previous years’ revenues.

Letting agency business model changing

According to the the latest DAFT report issued on the 11th of February, the availability of Rental property in the capital is at a 6 year low and 4 years nationally. In fact there is only a 1/4 of the amount of properties listed today  that were listed back in 2009 in the capital.

letting-agency-business-model-changing

With the average tenancy in place at 19 months the tenancy churn is not there for agents to make fees more regularly. That is unless an agent gets a property to full management where they can take a fee every month. The Rentview team speak with letting agents on a daily basis. These agents are looking at property and rent management as a way of increasing revenue and being able to forecast revenue month on month. Something that they are not able to do in a let-only model.

Currently there are just over 2000 properties marketed in Dublin and a pool of approx 200 agencies. That’s an average of only 10 units per agency. This does not take into effect the number of ghost units being advertised also (units which are let agreed or marketed with a number of agents) … and they say the Taxi industry is overcrowded!

recession-business-model-changing

So what else are letting agents doing to increase revenue? Well they are being creative and flexible as to what their landlords require. Some are offering complete inventories, midterm inspections, lease renewals. In fact, we even came across a few agents who are offering marketing services, to save the landlord the work of marketing properties on online portals. So as we can see, many are offering bespoke services to suit a landlord rather than just a let-only or a let and manage service.

How is your letting agency standing out from the crowd and keeping solid revenue coming in? Is your letting agency business model changing? You may also be interested on our blog posting finding landlords.

by Andreas Riha

Letting Agents Software

Letting agency website design

In our last blog post on letting industry challenges we looked at how winning new landlords was one of the current biggest challenges for letting agents. Apart from providing an excellent service to your landlords and winning referrals, your website is currently your next best marketing tool. The problem is, as we discussed, that many letting agents neglect their website and their letting agency website design.

How to use your strong letting agency website design to build a portfolio

letting agency website design

Image Credit: Jayel Aharem

Letting agency SEO

So let’s start by doing a quick health check on your website to see how people are currently finding you. There are a couple of simple enough ways to get under the hood of your site, I would recommend using Google Analytics (click here for a previous blog on Analytics) or Google webmaster tools. You can access these by simply setting up a free Google account (if you haven’t already got one) and simply searching for them. You will need access to the control panel of your website to install a simple code into your website as a security feature. It’s quite simple but if that is something you are not comfortable doing, just ask who ever looks after your site to install the code.

Analyse your website

If you can’t access either of these a simple way to get some information on your website is to got through Alexa. Here you can get a quick overview of where your website ranks. It also gives you the chance to see keyword queries that bring a high percentage of traffic to a particular URL. So when here, check your own site and then perhaps a competitor who is doing well.

Once you get the site up, you can go through and click onto search analytics to see the top search queries which are driving traffic to your competitor’s website. Compare it with your own.  Is your competitor generating more traffic through search terms? Are the search terms they rank highly in ones which you wish to gain traffic through? If so, they are probably working more effectively on SEO than your own site. Most letting agents are looking at finding landlords through their website SEO.

letting agency website design

How to use your website as a visitor

Search the term that you think a new landlord would search to find a property manager or letting agent in your area, then see who ranks the highest. Now visit their site on Alexa to find out more about them. Learn from their website and implement changes needed to move your website up the search ranking.

Another interesting statistic to find out is how many back links your competitor has. The more back links a site has, the more attractive the website is for search engines to return that site on the first page of a search result (or SERP). A back link is your website’s URL on another website. Below is how a back link looks: 

https://rentview.com/blog/data-backup-for-agencies/ or if hyperlinked in text, the same link might look like this.

If you want to know more about link building strategies this is a great place to start. In order for your website to generate traffic, it is very important to look at your letting agency website design.

Starting a Letting Agency – Letting agency business strategy

So you’re thinking about starting a Letting Agency?

Back again with another business blog, and today I am going to recall some of my global strategic management knowledge to help break down the different letting agent strategies. Starting a Letting Agency involves a good bit planning and strategy. If you know anything of  business strategies, you will have heard of Michael Porter, a leading opinion leader on business strategy and lecturer at the professor at  Harvard Business school.

Image: Michel Porter’s Generic Strategies for Letting Agents

starting-a-letting-agency-strategy-

A popular approach that he believes for any company to take is the generic focus strategy. And what this means is you are either going to try and be the best on the market or you are going to try to be the cheapest (See Image above). On both occasions you are looking to work towards one thing, a competitive advantage in the industry, for the purpose of this blog we are going to discuss the lettings and management industry.

So what I decided to do to show you a quick example of two different letting agents with two opposite strategies is jump on Google and see whats on offer with agents in Ireland. Within a few minutes, I stumbled upon two agents advertising with VERY different approaches, one taking the low-cost strategy and one offering a premium and differentiated service to landlords for lettings.

Agency 1 – Mannix Ryan Estate Agents 

starting-a-letting-agency-case-study-1

Letting agency Strategy Case Study 1

This agency stuck out to me in particular because of their claim to be the only agency doing what they do. This is a clear attempt at gaining a competitive advantage due to their superiority and different offering, compared to every other agent in Ireland. Even comparing their website and the social media tags below the text to others, I have seen that it is clear that this service is based around quality and not price, in fact there is no mention of how much it costs. So the value proposition to the landlord is on innovation through the use of video. Now we look at another agent offering the same service but differently.

Letting agency strategy Case Study 2  

starting-a-letting-agency-case-study2

Now we look at the low-cost letting agent. As you can see from this advertisement, that I came across on Daft.ie , everything about the company and the brand screams low-cost. This is in stark contrast to above where the product offering was describing in detail the excellent service and differentiated marketing ability they offer. A great example of one the biggest companies in the world who has gained and sustained a competitive advantage in their market, based around choosing a focus strategy on costs is Ryanair. On the flip side, a company who has developed a sustainable competitive advantage based on differentiation and innovation/quality is Apple, who charge big bucks for their products.

So there you have some basic business strategy examples for starting a letting agency.  I guess I wanted to find out what agents are doing at the moment and how effective are they finding their business strategy in terms of increasing their landlords, tenants, properties and revenues. Is one strategy better in the other, can we find a balance between the two?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, or if you have any questions, do get in touch!

by Rentview

The following may be of interest:

Letting agent marketing strategy

Why use Youtube for marketing

Rent management software