“Networking events for landlords used to be very much about building your profile, building your wealth, growing your portfolio," says Julie Ford. “But once those landlords actually got the keys in their hands, there was no support for how to be a good landlord."
Julie, who will be discussing property management in a Goodlord webinar, founded the Hemel & St Alban’s Property Network just over a decade ago to pick up where those other events left off. “Landlords can go to those events to learn how to buy a property, but then they can come to me and I'll teach them how to be a good landlord, along with some long-standing and seasoned landlords. They have the time and the experience to sit down with newbies or people that are going through issues with their properties and talk to them on a ‘been there, done it’ basis.”
She has a wealth of experience in the private rented sector - she worked as the Head of Property and Asset management for a large City firm, managing properties for a-list clients, before setting up her own Lettings and Property Management company, where she built up a portfolio of more than 500 properties. Now, she works in the charitable sector, advising on housing and homelessness, in addition to building a holiday let business in France.
Property management has always been a particular interest for Julie, and she says a good property manager is “pivotal” to a business. “In a very busy property management department, it's quite possible that you will speak to 100 different people that day and each one of those people needs to be dealt with very differently,” she says. “You need to know the legislation and you need to have the people skills, while being completely unflappable - you have to be very able to adapt to any situation.”
She thinks the biggest challenge in the industry is accidental landlords who choose to self-manage because “they’re going in blind”. “The mistakes can be monumental,” she says. Educating these landlords is vital, says Julie, who has started a YouTube channel to share her experiences and the mistakes she has seen. “That seems to resonate with landlords who go, ‘Oh yeah, I've got that problem. I didn't realise I had to do that’ or even ‘I didn't know I wasn't doing that.’”
But, at the end of the day she’s a firm believer that every landlord should be using a letting agent (and a property manager) - “as long as they’re a good one”. “All those people do all day every day is property. They know it, they're up to speed with what’s happening in the industry.”
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