7 places to find inspiration and information in lettings
Legislation and marketing are the two top priorities for letting agents, so here are Neil Baldock's tips on where to look for inspiration and the right information.
Legislation and marketing are the two top priorities for letting agents. There are around 170 pieces of legislation in the private rented sector - and you have to know it all to keep your landlords' properties compliant.
Then you have to attract new landlords and market their properties to get them the best price in the shortest possible time. Keeping on top of it all can be a lot - so here are some tips on where to look for the right information and inspiration to stay ahead.
1. Sign up to alerts from the government
The government website is a great tool, particularly if you want to read the exact wording of legislation. You can sign up directly to notifications from the government site and, more specifically, from the Department of Levelling Up.
They send out a lot of updates, but it means that the latest information will come directly to you - you don't have to continuously look for it. You can simply filter through what may be relevant to you and your landlords.
2. Use Google to find potential answers to legislative questions - then check with a solicitor
Letting agents have got a friend in Google that can help you deal with any anomalies that you may come across in legislation.
At Charles David Casson, we use it to find what seems to be the repetitive answer, and then we'd check that with the solicitor's firm that we work with. You may not need to pay for that advice because quite often they want a relationship with you.
If you have to evict someone in the future, for example, you might give them that business. It's therefore in their best interest to establish that connection.
3. Speak to your suppliers
When you're having conversations with suppliers, agents often forget that the people working for our suppliers often have a property background.
hey've transferred into this new field backed by their property experience. I've had loads of snippets of information from suppliers, so you just need to get talking.
Goodlord, for instance, has a lot of expertise in its ranks, as well as content that you can sign up to receive. It sends out updates, such as when the How to rent guide is going to be updated or there's new legislation.
Looking at your suppliers to see what free content they offer is a wise thing to do too.
4. Gather people in one space to encourage conversation
You can create something simple, like a WhatsApp group, for agents. All of a sudden agents are talking to each other. If they've got a problem, they ask the question and someone's got the answer to it. It's really simple but effective.
We also hold from time to time a landlord seminar. You offer them some free content and you get to speak with them all. What other way can you get 30 to 50 potential clients in a room?
5. Be active on social media to see what's best practise in the industry
There are various Facebook groups and forums, where you can join to ask and answer questions. Then you should also get on LinkedIn, connect with as many estate agents and letting agents as possible.
Following every letting agent and every estate agent in the country is a valuable exercise. You'll start seeing what other people are doing and then you realise, that looks fantastic, I want to do that too.
6. Look for ideas in property listings
Go on your online portals and look at the difference between listings. Of course, I deal with HMOs and marketing for those has changed over the years.
Some of the rooms look like hotel rooms - that's the level people are starting to expect. Look out for that type of trend to understand what you need to know to get to that same level - or what you can do to stand out.
7. Learn from scenarios to strengthen your position in the future
It's important to run internal training sessions, because sometimes a lot of training is quite generic. I like scenario-based training, to understand how to deal with any given situation according to our company's philosophy and approach.
This can be based on real life too. For any given scenario in your own agency, go and find the right information, a definitive answer, so that, the next time that situation presents itself, you can categorically say that you know the right way to do things.