Next time your local High Street Agent saunters into your rental property, armed with his Blackberry, shiny valuation pack and Mini Cooper parked in the disabled bay outside, I challenge you to ask him or her: ‘why should I use a traditional Letting Agent when I can do it online for a fraction of what you have just quoted me’? I can virtually guarantee the Agent’s automatic response will have something to do with ‘local knowledge’. You could challenge him on this for a bit of fun, and try and find out the depth of his local ‘knowledge’; but he does raise a valid point. How can an Online Agent provide the same service if we are not located in the same vicinity as your property?
I aim to disprove this ‘reason’ to forego Online Lettings with my new blog. Each fortnight I will put the ‘spotlight’ on one area in the UK. This week, I’ve chosen Kensington, London.
Rental prices in London are on the rise; everybody with even the slightest awareness of property knows this. But a quick glance at Rightmove today tells us there have been 847 new listings for properties to rent in Kensington in the last 14 days. That’s 2-3 new properties listed for every hour, of every day. Amending the search to include properties actually let, the figure jumps to…wait for it…860. This means that just 13 of those 860 listings have been let within the first two weeks of marketing. I think therefore it’s safe to say that just because your agent has ‘local knowledge’, does not guarantee he will find you a tenant when you need it. At present supply is by far out doing demand.
Void periods are arguably the most common and costly drain on your profit as a landlord. The average rental price for a Kensington property is currently around £1440.00 per week. So what can you do to increase your chances of being in that 0.1% that successfully find tenants at short notice?
Firstly, make sure the agent’s marketing reaches as many potential tenants as possible. eMoov.co.uk’s listings are able to reach a potential 170 million tenant searches via ALL of the UK’s largest property websites like Prime Location, Zoopla etc. And as 95% of buyers and tenants now look for a new property online, it seems bonkers to pay on average 10% of your annual rental income for what boils down to an 8” by 6” card in a well-lit window.
Secondly, ensure the advert includes as many USPs as possible. Is there free use of a gym included in the rent? How safe is the building and or/street? Are there any large companies nearby that an employee could enjoy a short stroll to from his front door every morning? Can the lady who lunches get to the latest hot restaurant in her new shoes without having to worry about wearing down the heel? Any good Agent should tailor your advert specifically to attract your target market, and thanks to Google Map Street View, this can be done as thoroughly as if you have lived on the street your whole life. Most properties in this area will boast ‘exceptional and luxurious living’, and for the rental figures demanded, tenants will expect no less! The key to getting those enquiries through the door is to look at the advert from the potential tenant’s perspective.
Another option, if you’re property is loitering on Rightmove, constantly being pushed down the summary by those 2-3 an-hour new ‘exceptional and luxurious properties’, is to consider a short-term Let. Whilst this is not by any means a long-term solution, it may just keep your finances ticking over until you can consider an alternative (or continue to market for a long-term let at the same time!).
Add the average £7500.00 Agent’s commission to your void periods, and you could end up with substantial losses even if a tenant is found. So for £99 + VAT, why not give eMoov a go and mitigate your cost?
Rosie Stubbs is Senior Lettings Negotiator at eMoov.co.uk
T: 0333 121 4950