5 ways for your agency to have a positive impact on your local community
Penny Preston, Residential Lettings Manager at Johnsons Property Consultants, shares her insights on why engagement with the local community is so important in lettings.
As estate and letting agents, your local community is everything. It's not only where you can gain new contacts but it's also where you can seek to make a difference. Johnsons Property Consultants aims to be as involved as possible in our local area, so everyone in it can understand our values and know where to find us if they need help moving home. Here's how we do it.
Hire local talent
We're an independent agency, so we're not part of a big chain, and therefore feel like one big family. We're all local people - well, I'm originally from Birmingham, but I've been in Evesham for 30 years so I've been here long enough to be considered a local!
We know the place that we live in, and we're all very happy to share that knowledge. Being a part of the local community ourselves helps us to appreciate the importance of building those connections and relationships as agents.
Support through sponsorship opportunities
An easy way to gain visibility as well as doing a good deed is getting involved in local sports activities. We sponsor the Evesham United Football Club - our name went on the shirts the U10 Colts wear because our sponsorship helps to buy them new kits. We work with a range of ages too, from the U8s to the U15s.
It's a great way to show your commitment and lasting presence in the area when your name features so prominently - and it's very rewarding to support these young players too.
Get involved in local charities
We also support Helping Hands in the Vale - a homeless charity that does a great deal in the community. We often organise a drive where people can drop food off to us and then we help to take it over to the charity, so they can distribute it to people in need.
As well as our longstanding charitable partnerships, we encourage everyone to think outside the box and look for other ways to help. At Christmas, one year we didn't do a secret Santa. We used the money that we would have spent, went out and bought food that we added to emergency hampers to share among the vulnerable in the community.
This year, we'll also participate in children’s trails for Halloween and Christmas, and for Easter 2023 too, getting the children out and about with their families for some fresh air and exercise.
Yet again, although it's good to get your profile out there, it's even better to just give something back.
Help organise community events
I was part of a group of three locals that planned the Vale of Evesham Food & Drink Festival – originally scheduled for May 2020 but delayed until this year. Evesham and the surrounding areas have a thriving market garden community so this event was to showcase all the wonderful local traders, producers, and growers.
We've already booked in to repeat the event over the bank holiday weekend in 2023 as it was such a success with a fantastic turnout. It's all about taking the initiative, to help promote aspects of your local area that the community is proud of and invested in.
Invest time in the right communication and training
We're a big believer in good communication with tenants, landlords, contractors - you name it. You need to be able to talk to everyone - and your staff as well, so that we can come together to be an exceptional company and show that we know what we're talking about.
This is supported by our training and achieving the relevant qualifications - or even going a step further to become a Fellow of the Association of Letting Agents, as I am now.
Communication is important to show that you care and to foster that sense of community. Even for something as simple as viewings. We're getting so many viewings for one property and that means there are a lot of disappointed tenants.
You need to make the effort to communicate with everyone, make sure that they know where they stand. This extra effort is simply an extension of the support and goodwill that agents can show the rest of their local community.