This post originally appeared on Property Industry Eye on August 31.
There’s no debate that the lettings industry is in a state of flux, with new legislation and increasing regulation challenging the traditional business models of many agencies. Like Andy Halstead, we agree this changing market will also offer agencies new opportunities, but we believe that technology will be essential for those who want to derive the most benefit from these opportunities.
We agree that not all PropTech has been proven to offer tangible value for agents and it certainly isn’t a ‘silver bullet’. However, some PropTech solutions do solve real world problems such as allowing agencies to cut costs and automate manual administrative tasks so they can focus instead on generating revenue or providing better customer service –things that are going to be essential in the changing lettings market.
Technology can also make it even easier for agencies to offer additional services to their landlords and tenants and therefore, drive even more revenue. So why wouldn’t agencies want to maximise the current opportunities before them by harnessing the power of technology?
£5 referencing is real
Agencies’ concerns shouldn’t be “How much is company X making from my reference?”. It should be “What’s the lowest price I can pay for a comprehensive reference?”. The priority of agents should be on securing reliable and responsible tenants for their landlords in the quickest and most cost efficient way. Our customers asked us if we could reduce the cost of referencing – while still maintaining the quality of service – and providing the functionality and opportunities to increase their revenues elsewhere, so we did. We created a holistic and tech-powered agent offering that matched the needs of our customers in a turbulent industry – and allowed us to charge our customers only £5 for a comprehensive reference.
The Tenant Fee Ban
The Tenant Fee Ban is going to have a significant impact on agencies’ revenues – this isn’t in doubt. We believe the best way to combat the potential loss is by offering a combination of additional services to both your tenants and your landlords while looking for a solution to automate time consuming tasks and streamline the customer journey.
Revenue can be generated from areas such as insurances or utility and media switching, but the way in which these services are presented to customers is crucial in increasing take-up rates – which is why frictionless routes to the best services in the market need to be in place. For example, whilst GDPR has increased complexity, platforms that digitise the lettings process can provide tenants with a GDPR-friendly journey. Importantly, this also provides agents with a shop front to easily and efficiently offer additional services that can be purchased with the click of a button at the optimal time, increasing conversion rates and ultimately revenue.
Protecting your landlords
We agree it’s important to protect landlords against losses to income from unpaid rent or void periods, which also protects your relationship with the landlord if a problem were to arise. Offering and fulfilling rent protection insurance with a single click, as part of a digital customer journey, makes it much easier for agents to suggest and landlords to take rent protection. This ultimately increases take-up, ensuring that agents are protecting their landlord’s best interests whilst creating more recurring revenue for their agency, with no additional work.
Valuing your tenants
We agree it is important for agents to see tenants as a valued customer. There is an opportunity to generate more business from tenants in light of the revenue loss from the fee ban by adding move-in services and insurances, while at the same time, providing an enjoyable experience that results in a positive review online. This means letting agents need to be meeting their tenants expectations for customer service in the digital age – which means offering a streamlined, mobile-friendly experience that allows tenants to complete their renting journey whenever and wherever they want to. It’s important to note there are significant differences between selling to tenants and selling to landlords –when you’re selling to tenants, you need to make it as easy as possible for them take up offers of additional services while they’re in the move-in mindset.
Harness the power of PropTech
Agencies do need to take action in the face of increasing challenges. The imminent Tenant Fee Ban means agents must start thinking about how they will win more instructions, create more revenue from their growing portfolios, and manage the increased administration that will result from letting more properties than ever. We believe the best approach to these challenges isn’t only about generating new revenue streams – it’s about harnessing the power of technology simultaneously in order to improve internal efficiencies, enhance the customer experience and ultimately, ensure agents are turning the current moment to their advantage.