Five ways to grow your letting agency "by 50% overnight" [+ podcast]
Tenant demand is high while stock is low, but there are ways your letting and estate agency can get more properties and landlords onboard while keeping your costs per acquisition low - as Costas Frangeskou, Director of Sales at Goodlord, shares.
Most conversations I have with letting agents are around stock. The next 12 months will be all about handling the volume of tenants beating down the door for that one rental property available. Agents need to turn their attention to growing their landlord and property portfolio to meet that demand - and here are five tips on how you could potentially grow your agency by 50% overnight, while keeping your agency's costs low.
Dive into your pre-existing data and contact list
Rather than burning money and increasing the cost of acquisitions, look at landlords that have used you in the past or landlords that you may not have been able to bring on board the first time round. When you approach them again, there's a huge opportunity for you to engage them better, using data.
Whether information around legislative updates or local market information, a lot of your suppliers, including Goodlord, share information like this, so it won't be as big a job as you may fear. You can compare how your recent deals have performed to the market average, from void periods to rents achieved, to prove how you can help improve your landlords' bottom lines - and improve the success rate of your conversations.
Have deeper conversations in your agency
One of the biggest opportunities I see missed by agents is not syncing sales with lettings, to understand how many people are actually purchasing a property to rent out as an investment. That's a quick and easy win. Even if your sales team doesn't sell the buyer the property, they can ask if the buyer is a landlord or whether they are likely to become a landlord in the future, to create a potential pool of customers for the lettings side of the business.
If your sales team isn't equipped to have those conversations, you can bring a representative from the lettings division in to help you secure that client for the sale, as well as the rental afterwards.
Do you know the full extent of your current customers' portfolio of properties? If a landlord joins your agency to discuss the management of one property, you should, of course, be asking them about the other properties they are currently letting out. But it shouldn't be a one-off conversation - make it a regular check-in, to see if they've added any new properties to their portfolio in the interim.
Ask more questions of your tenants
I've read reports in the past saying that around 15% of tenants in the south of England were also landlords - and that shocked me. I never thought that would be the case, but how many times have you asked your tenants: "do you have a property that you let out?" Especially in today's environment, people are moving for work or downscaling and upscaling - and you may find that you have a tenant that owns more than one property.
Offer your landlords a referral scheme
Finally, don't be afraid to offer referral incentives to your current landlords. Landlords know other landlords, that's the reality of the world we live in. You could halve your acquisition costs and bring on landlords a lot faster simply by offering your existing landlords something meaningful, to incentivise them to pass those leads to your agency.