New Agent; setting-up Residential Letting Agency

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    New Agent; setting-up Residential Letting Agency

    Hi
    I know this question can sound like how long is a piece of string or who laid the egg first?
    But I am sort of stuck with getting new Landlords on my books.
    I don't have a shop front, so no landlords are going to come rushing in or even strolling in.
    I began in the end of Aprilof this year.

    I bought a package from a firm that is well mentioned on your forum............no need to give them a free plug again.
    They are very helpful and informative except in the most important thing obtaining landlords which after all is the main thing in getting a Letting Agency going.No landlords no business................end of!!!!!!!!!!

    I have been told how to approach landlords.................I've done small classified ads....boxed ads in all local papers and magazines.........radio ads.. but it seems in my kneck of the woods maybe there so may letting agents the landlords prefer to go to the established ones... as opposed to someone ringing them up out of the blue...........which I quite understand.......................however in the litterature that I received it certainly sounded a lot easier than in reality.........in fact its very hard.
    If it wasn't for the fact that I am a landlord also , my business would be zilch and when you spend .............which is to me quite a lot of money..to get the business up and started .......... buyingt he booklet and paperwork..............which I was told a bargain..............well ofcourse it is if it works.... plus some software was included............then add the extras not supplied and which as a non letting agent I wouldn't know about such as insurances,data protection,filling cabinet,stationary,web site name & host,advertising,fax machine etc .It does work out a fair sum of money.
    Okay it may sound like sour grapes but I am wondering how many people who actually bought this particular package actually do have some experience already in some sort of property or estate selling in the trade.
    Where ,I am sure you don't need to guessI have no experince as a Letting Agency at all.
    I know we all have to start from scratch and I am very happy to put in 100 and 50 percent effort................I have run successful businesses before......... but when I am not getting any landlords contacting me , where am I going wrong?
    Its all very well saying I charge no VAT but in my area so do quite a few.
    Are we all in the same boat..by this I mean if you have no experience in this business looking for landlords is a 100 times harder.
    I find it very soul destroying as I have put not just the money but the time and effort to make a go of it.
    So come on you experts................
    WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?????????
    Wonderwoman.....................wondering what's shes doing wrong?????????

    #2
    Well, I hate to say it, but did you consider what the demand for your services would be before deciding to set up as an agent?
    By your own admission, there are plenty of established agents in your locality, some of whom can offer a service free of VAT, so what did you decide you could offer that nobody else could? It takes a long time to build up a successful agency, particularly when you have got a lot of competition and your best advert is word of mouth. Fortunately you are a landlord yourself so, hopefully you may know some other landlords. When you hear of another one moving away then you get in there and offer your services with regard to his rental properties. Have you any friends who are thinking of retiring or working abroad? This, I suggest is where you can get your first toehold, and if you do a good job for the right money, word of mouth will get you more. At least by reading this board, you will learn what tricks bad agents get up to so you can avoid them, but when you look through the problems, it is often that the agent is strapped for cash for the same reasons that you cannot get a toehold in the business!

    P.P.
    Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

    Comment


      #3
      Homework

      No >>>I agree I didn't do enough homework..................unfortunately due to an accident at work last year , I had to rethink my life and of course my income and this did seem to be the most interesting career move and one that would be of use to my husband.
      I appreciate your answer and taking the time to reply to my enquiry as it appears most people on here do not welcome giving advice to newcomers even if probably most of them don't live any where near my business.
      As for being a bad Letting Agent.............I do have my own principles and I don't get satisfaction from ripping people off.On the other hand tenants who try it on,will be dealt accordingly to the letter of the law.
      Still I will be here next year and who knows replying to someone like myself.

      Comment


        #4
        From time to time most Estate Agents get asked by their clients if they deal in lettings, if they don’t they have to refer the client elsewhere. Establish a rapport with the local agents that don’t do Lettings and ask them to recommend you. You will need to come to a mutual arrangement about their incentive for doing so.

        Comment


          #5
          What you have to ask yourself is, as you are also a landlord, would you put your property with an agent who by your own admission is inexperienced in this field, has no shop front in which to advertise properties, and is operating in a competitive market. To be successful you must offer something none of your competitors does, the only thing you can offer, from what i read in your posting's is maybe the personal touch. You say "however in the literature that I received it certainly sounded a lot easier than in reality" yes the company is selling you a product, they obviously are going to hype it as much as they can .Good luck but its going to be tough.
          Opinions given are mine, They are not necessarily correct, as the more I learn the less I know, You should always seek professional help.

          Comment


            #6
            No Shop Front

            Actually having no shop doesn't bother me that much as I started a very successful curtain making business from home in the late 70s and then had a shop in Brighton employing staff both in the shop and outworkers:for nearly 10 years ...............if we hadn't have had the reccession..........I may even have had a fleet of shops who knows.
            But I thank you in your kind interest and encouragement.

            Comment


              #7
              Try taking the NAEA Technical Award in Residential Lettings & Management which is a formal NVQ level 3 qualification. There are few agents who bother to obtain this and with the tenancy deposit scheme coming in next year it should give you a market advantage. I teach it at college locally in Warwickshire.

              Where are you located?
              The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

              Comment


                #8
                First of I will reply to Paul.I definately would like to take some sort of exam.
                I am based by Brighton but can easliy travel across Sussex if needs be.
                My next reply may sound as if I'm fudging but in my "franchise" I am told not let to students(which is a shame as Sussex and Brighton Universities are local) until I have more experience.I guess as I haven't maybe for now this makes sense.I shall certainly look into the space in an estate agents idea.
                Thanks guys!:

                Comment


                  #9
                  I was in the same boat as you. I started in October 2003. Getting properties was the biggest problem, soul destroying, and I nearly jacked it all in. It took 3 months to get 1 property on my books.
                  However, it's now starting to show signs of success, we rent an office within a business centre, have a big advertising budjet and have just stuck with it. Now we've been going nearly 3 years, the company name is recognised in the locality, we could always do with more properties, they seem to be coming in at a slow trickle - more of a drip really!
                  Although it's great to know that in the 3 yars we've not lost 1 landlord to another agency, and some of our new proeprties are through reccommendation
                  I think to see success you have to offer a great service and stick with it
                  Good Luck

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Well, Ziggy's statement is proof of what I said earlier! However Paul F's suggestion is a really good one and getting some appropriate letters after your name can only do but good. Have you booked onto his one day course in Southampton by any chance? If you haven't, then I should because alhough you will learn a lot I'm sure, you will also have the opportunity to meet Paul F himself as well an a number of like minded people from elsewhere in the country. This will certainly help with the networking no end and on meeting him personally, Uncle Paul may may well be able to make more valuable suggestions than he has the time to post here. It will also show your committment to becoming a good, reliable, honourable, fairly priced property agent which is what all us landlords want!

                    P.P.
                    Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Learnlets
                      LEARNLETS

                      Please be advised we have managed to source 'Paul F': Mr Paul Farndon BSc (Hons) FNAEA, CLRM to carry out a training day in Southampton on July 13th.

                      The day will consist of two sessions (am and pm):

                      Session 1 (Essential Letting Practice) covering:
                      • The Importance of Terms of Business with the Landlord, and the necessary components.
                      • Types of Tenancy – Assured Shorthold & Non-Housing Act Tenancies
                      • Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations


                      Session 2 (Referencing, Inventories and Serving Notice) covering:
                      • Dealing with and referencing the applicant
                      • The need for a good inventory and how to prepare one
                      • The Section 21 Notice
                      • Grounds for Possession in accordance to: The Housing Act 1988


                      To reserve a place for either session or the full day please email: info@learnlets.co.uk with 'Reserve Soton' in the subject line, and provide us with names, address and telephone numbers and the necessary paperwork will be sent out by return.

                      The cost for the day is only £125.00 (No VAT applicable), or alternatively just the am or pm session can be attended at £75.00 (no VAT applicable).

                      Any queries, please feel free to email or telephone 01962 777697.
                      The information you require is not very far away, but for your convenience, I have cut and pasted it so that you can read the telephone number from your own thread!

                      P.P.
                      Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Thank you

                        I have applied to do half the course .Hopefully I will hear about where the venue in Southampton is etc soon.
                        Thanks for informing me.
                        Wonderwoman

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I have to wonder woman...

                          I have to wonder, Wonderwoman, why have you not called our Telephone Support Line to discuss the problems you are having, and to ask the questions you have asked here?
                          I don't manage to get here often, but it has kindly been brought to my attention that your postings are showing our Southcourt Complete Business Package in a bad light, and I would like to take this opportunity to correct things. You may be anonymous, but we are not.

                          I'm sorry to hear that things are not taking off very quickly for you with regard to taking on landlords' properties. I can assure you that this is not the case with the vast majority of our Business Package customers. We do however make it clear that your success ultimately depends on 2 key factors - 1) the activity of your local private rental market, and 2) your own motivation and abilities. Look more closely at those factors before publicly criticising our product.

                          1) You say: They are very helpful and informative except in the most important thing obtaining landlords which after all is the main thing in getting a Letting Agency going.

                          Wrong. We provide all possible guidance and advice on obtaining landlords' instructions, which when carried out as instructed, invariably provide results.

                          Rooftile has kindly provided a sensible suggestion to you as follows: From time to time most Estate Agents get asked by their clients if they deal in lettings, if they don’t they have to refer the client elsewhere. Establish a rapport with the local agents that don’t do Lettings and ask them to recommend you. You will need to come to a mutual arrangement about their
                          incentive for doing so.

                          And you say: Thank you! I shall certainly add that to my list of gaining Landlords.

                          But if you check out page 54 (or Section 2 if you have the old version) of our manual you will find a comprehensive paragraph on this particular approach, which starts as follows:

                          Some estate agents do not deal with lettings at all, especially the older established independents. Once you have business cards printed, work through your local telephone directory/ies, calling each local estate agent to ascertain whether or not they offer a letting service. Visit those which do not, and introduce yourself to the branch manager. Explain that you sometimes have tenants who are moving........


                          2) You say: ...in my "franchise" I am told not let to students(which is a shame as Sussex and Brighton Universities are local) until I have more experience.

                          You seem to be confused again. We explain that students are fine. It is housing benefit tenants we recommend you avoid until you have gained experience.

                          3) You have just started another thread entitled Visiting tenants where you ask:

                          Do I have to give my Tenants in writing or a phone call when I am coming to view my property to see how they are looking after it?
                          Or can I just turn up unannouced?
                          Also what is considered the minimum of time before I can do this?


                          You are not really doing yourself, or us any favours at all are you?

                          Why not go to page 125 of our training/operating manual (or Section 6 of the old version)? -- where we have devoted almost an entire page to the important subject of Inspection Visits -- including this:

                          The landlord or his agent has a legal right to enter the property at reasonable times during the daytime for these purposes, and also to carry out any repairs for which the landlord is responsible. This right is enshrined in most tenancy agreements including the AST provided. However you cannot simply turn up, nor enter without the tenant's express permission. You must make an appointment with the tenant by giving at least 24 hours notice in writing..........


                          Your questions and responses in this forum clearly show that you have not studied our material nor prepared adequately to launch your new business as we recommend. I further suspect that this unprepared, half-hearted and unprofessional attitude may have some bearing on your failure to obtain your first landlord instructions.

                          Instead of asking basic questions on this forum and making both yourself and us look stupid and incompetent, may I suggest that you go back to the beginning and start again? Read the training/operating manual -- thoroughly this time. Do our 20 multipart question examination in the Appendix to test you competency (as we suggest, if your pass mark is below 75% revise your weak subjects and try again). Carry out your local research and other preparations, raise any queries on our Support Line, check out our Members Area for updated information, then launch your business with our 'Boost Start Plan'.


                          By way of encouragement to you, I reproduce below, word for word, an email received only yesterday from one of our numerous successful start-ups. He doesn't seem to be having any difficulty in finding landlord clients. (If you want his contact details then phone and ask -- we'll have to get permission first but I don't expect he will mind). We receive similar positive feedback the whole time:

                          "Well, I finally bit the bullet and launched XXXX Property Management, which resulted in my first holding deposit today. I also have a further 4 properties on my books with the promise of 2 others from one landlord when they become available for reletting later in the year. Makes you feel kind of good doesn't it? I still have loads to do, of course, with new enquiries practically every day and I'd like to thank you for the business package which is first class in my opinion.
                          I've registered with Homelet and as soon as the standing orders start arriving I will be applying to join UKALA.
                          I am still having problems with my website making the forms active, but I've got a guy working on it. So all in all I guess I am ready to join the UK Network."

                          Thanks again to those who drew my attention to this thread.

                          PS: The various responses that have been given to you on this (and your other) thread are excellent, but I have just one further comment to make:

                          Running an agency from home works just fine, and we have many agents successfully doing so. It goes along with our recommended USP of offering a personal and friendly service. (In the US many property professionals work from home, including home inspectors and property managers.) But it is absolutely vital that you present a professional and confident image and that you know what you are talking about.

                          Regards
                          Mike H
                          Southcourt Property
                          --
                          Last edited by Mike H; 24-07-2006, 11:31 AM.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I don't think any course organiser or book publisher can be blamed if the participant clearly fails to study and absorb the information that has been provided.

                            Seems that some the elementary questions Wonderwoman has been asking are indeed covered in your course
                            Last edited by Worldlife; 11-07-2006, 20:26 PM. Reason: Extracts quotes from Mike's post removed to streamline thread and emphasise comment.
                            Vic - wicked landlord
                            Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
                            Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Just ask more.

                              I wonder why people buy these packs and then not bother to read them. I bought one 2 yrs ago and found it hugely useful. I did alot more homework on lettings, found out who is who, what is needed, which quals would be good to get, who to join etc, most of which the pack suggests anyway. So if the business does not go accordingly then the person has gone wrong somewhere and simply needs to call the telephone support line, which is there for that very reason. I found the company more than helpful.
                              As it so happens I now work as an independant inventory clerk, I did the same homework, I know who works nearby and who covers this area from bigger agencies, other prices scales and who own the companies and how they operate. I also had training by 2 different companies to see different ways to present reports. Now business is good. You just need time and effort to reap the rewards. So ask lots of questions and keep asking, but do not blame lack of help for your predicament.
                              Oracle Inventories.

                              Comment

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