We asked our Head of Lettings, Benjamin Willmore, a few questions that any perspective landlords might be pondering…
Hi Ben, thank you for agreeing to answers a few questions for us. How long have you been in the property and lettings industry?
I have worked within the Property Industry since 1999 covering many aspects from Sales, Property Development, Acquisitions and Auction Trading, although my greatest love of all for the last 16 years has been in Lettings.
What is the biggest reason you’ve found in your experience that drives people to make the decision to become a Landlord?
The key reason is that it’s the better form of making a sound investment. Cash sitting in banks is not earning the same as it used to, investing in stocks and commodities carries a much greater risk than ever before. While property isn’t risk free it certainly keeps your money secured in the bricks and mortar, you can get a healthy return on it whilst your mortgage is covered by the rental payments. No matter what has happened in the industry over the years, property has been one of the key drivers for creating a second income and also ensuring the UK millionaire population keeps growing. The question I always ask is why aren’t you a landlord?
Is there a type of property you’ve found is the best for a first time landlord?
The main thing for any first time landlord is not the property, it’s making sure the numbers work. You have to make sure that you know what your budget is for the purchase, it needs to be affordable. The location is vital, do your research on the area, checking schools, transport and amenities as these are important factors for family and private professional tenants. The best people to give local information are the agents themselves as they will know their market place and what prospective tenant demands are.
What are the 3 most important things a landlord can do to make their property attractive to potential tenants?
The most important factor of all is the condition. Many landlords leave their property in a below average condition, if the landlord doesn’t show their investment any care or attention is a tenant likely too?
Decoration, a no brainer but the more recent your property has been decorated the quicker it lets. Painting the property in neutral colours, white ceilings, Satinwood for any wood work and a new on trend colour, Tatting (matt) for the walls is the best combination. These paints are easily sourced and don’t take much to touch up after a tenancy has ended.
Cleanliness, applicants when viewing will want to see the property in its best form, making sure that it is clean and tidy whilst smelling fresh really does help when making that decision to take a property. Remember what you go through when you want to buy something, perception and what our eyes see instructs the brain to commit or not.
The Right Agent, instructing the wrong agent can actually cause a major negative for your property. The right Agent will profile their applicants accurately, matching their needs to your property, making sure that they understand their applicant’s decision process. Too many agents on one property shows desperation, the best quality of tenant does not make a decision based on desperation, it actually puts them off.
A great key to remember is the emotional states we all go through when making a decision - Glad, Mad, Scared and Sad. We commit when we are in a glad mood, a competent agent needs to ensure that they understand this and most of all make their applicants feel glad about your property they are about to rent.
How long on average does it take to let a property? Does the type of property affect it a lot?
The best agencies work with Speed of Let in mind. Time and time again agents will spend all their energy on getting your property onto their books, hounding you with marketing, dropping fees and over promising, trouble is they have run out of energy once it’s instructed, straight away their enthusiasm has depleted.
Looking through the portals it’s clear to see that there is an abundance of stock available that has been sitting empty for many weeks, quite a few for several months! This is testimony to the common agency battle of the best, competitors tend to think that if you have the stock available then you are the number 1 agent… Landlords will want to use you if you have the most amount of stock on your books… Is that really the case?
One of the reasons why we have enhanced the setup of Chase Buchanan is based on Speed of Let, it’s our biggest niche. Our enthusiasm reaches new heights after the instruction, no one earns from properties sitting there, our guys earn their money once the let has been agreed. My best advice when selecting an agent is simple, don’t be blindsided by the amount of stock they have, look at the agents that have more let agreed and less available. At Chase Buchanan we put this to the test, we are that confident in our Speed of Let that we even incentivise our landlords to take us up on it, if not let then it might just be on the house!
Jasmine House is a great example, on the market with many high competitors, vacant for months. Chase Buchanan let the property at £10,000.00 PCM in 5 weeks.
What, in your opinion, are the 3 most important things that Chase Buchanan offer new landlords?
Actually I’ll say the best thing that we offer to any landlord is Peace of Mind. This covers a diverse range of added benefits.
No agent can guarantee that the tenant they have is the best, unfortunate circumstances can always crop up unexpectedly so to cover our landlords, we provide Legal Expenses cover to the tune of £50,000.00, this is on any service level and comes free of charge. We are so confident in the level of our checks that should a tenant not be upstanding we will cover the legal expenses.
Speed of Let, our guys are incentivised to let your property in the quickest time frame, this is why we enjoy putting our money on the line, ask our Lettings Managers more about this.
Finally, rather than me ending this with a sales based response, I’d rather end with honesty. What happens when things go wrong, this can always happen. At Chase Buchanan we don’t shy away from difficulties, we embrace them, taking a negative, turning that into a positive really does give peace of mind.
If you have any questions or you need advice then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, please feel free to contact any of our local Lettings offices.
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