The letting agent’s guide for finding tenants and landlords

EDITED Property Let Blog iStock_000047914248Large 13 October 2014

According to the latest census figures, the proportion of UK households being rented has increased in the past decade from 31 per cent to 36 per cent. In popular areas such as Westminster, one in every four households is rented! With such a high demand for rental accommodation, estate agencies are making a substantial profit from renting out buy-to-let properties. If you are looking to become successful at renting properties, there are two things you’ll need: tenants and landlords. Here are some top tips for making sure that you have plenty of homes to fill, and plenty of people to fill them!

Put yourself out there
If you’ve decided to work as a letting agent, it’s unlikely that you’re an introvert – just as well because you’re going to need to meet a lot of new people in order to promote your business. It’s a great idea to make yourself known to end of tenancy cleaning companies, mortgage advisors, locksmiths and other tradesmen. These kinds of local business will already be on good terms with landlords, so building business networks by recommending their services will be a great way to put you in touch with landlords who are looking for someone to lease their properties. Property investor meetings are also another good place to establish a presence. Also, do whatever you can to forge relationships with local newspapers – being quoted as an expert in articles regarding property will do big things for your brand image.

Know your territory
Another way to raise your profile is to drop flyers through people’s doors. Flyer printing is relatively inexpensive and it’s easy to employ people to distribute them for you – particularly if you live in a student town! It’s also worth knocking on people’s doors where a rival estate agency has their sign posted. Just because a landlord has employed the services of an agency to try and find a tenant doesn’t mean they won’t be interested in having another one. While most landlords do not live in the property that they are letting, introducing yourself to the current tenant in a friendly way is usually sufficient enough for them to pass over the contact details of their landlord so you can instigate a follow-up conversation.

While the prospect of approaching a stranger with potentially unwanted services can be daunting, there are many reasons why this won’t be the case. For instance, perhaps the property has been up for rent for a while and the landlord is becoming displeased with the other agency’s inability to find a tenant – you won’t know until you ask!  Even if your door knocking initiatives don’t result in signing up another landlord, you’re still likely to receive crucial information about your local area and establish new contacts which may be profitable in the future.

Online presence
While advertising your properties on sites like Rightmove and Prime Location are a must, it’s also worth advertising on directories such as Gumtree, particularly because you can see a list of people who are looking for properties in your local area so you will be able to match their requirements perfectly. A well designed business site is a must, and so is a digital strategy for driving traffic towards it. As with any business, establishing a presence on social media is also important, but in the realm of buy-to-let properties there are numerous possibilities for industry-specific competitions to boost your profile.

One way to go is to host a competition which relates to property; an example of this is Shed retailer Cuprinol’s ‘Rate a Shed’ competition. Readers are encouraged to post pictures of their own fabulous shed, with some contestants choosing to submit extremely humorous entries. Anything to do with interior decoration, gardens, furniture or even something Christmas-related could all be good competition themes for a letting agent. The prize could be a reduced admin fee for your services or some free merchandise.

Rome wasn’t built in a day
These are just a few of the initiatives which you can use to establish yourself as a letting agent. However, while setting up a social media profile and running competitions will be good fun, the real success is going to be the result of slow incremental progress and hard work.  Spending long days networking, striking up deals with landlords and relentlessly canvassing your area are all essential in signing up new properties and getting them filled. There aren’t any shortcuts to hard work, but there are certainly numerous ways to ensure that your hard work counts!

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