This may seem initially like an absurd premise but with the popularity of property websites like Right Move, Zoopla and SpareRoom.com where could be better to start your career in finding people homes than in your slippers and PJs in your own house.
Starting your own digital letting agency from the comfort of your own home allows you to take all of the advantages of the antiquated piece of A4 paper in a shop front window technique and combine it with the best bits of the newer slightly cold and desolate web of property websites. Doing this, we end up with a user experience that is more accessible, tailored to the individual customer but remains in the 21st century.
Now that you understand the benefits of this new-fangled business venture. Let me take you on a guided tour of what you need to set up a top- class Letting Agency.
What is a Letting Agent
We’d best cover this for the really ambitious of the bunch, who have decided they want to start a career path without knowing what it is. A letting agent.
A letting agent facilitates the agreements between landlords and tenants for the rental of a residential property.
Often the professions of letting agent and estate agent are seen as interchangeable, however if you want to get really picky -and I do- a letting agent deals with rented accommodation and an estate agent traditionally deals with selling properties.
A letting Agency is the collective noun used to ascribe a business of Letting agents.
Good job. Next Step.
Use your experience
To become a letting agent you do not require any prior accreditation, qualification, certification or experience. However, the latter would be advisable.
In an ideal world you have already been a letting agent and a good one at that. However, if that’s not the case there’s still hope. Perhaps you have already worked in a similar sales role, or have experiencing managing staff in a retail environment. If you have any form of formal business degree of qualification, now would be the time to use it.
With enough research and experience, it is perfectly possible to graduate to step three. However if you’re still insecure about your ability I would recommend either doing work experience or seeking out a specialist qualification, like ProperyMarks qualification in Property Management. It’s important that you have an awareness of the laws and regulations that go into working in property.
Write a Decent Business Plan
Before you go running off to companies house you need to sit down and outline a business plan, especially if you are planning on co-owning a company. A business plan should be a concise and compelling document justifying the existence of your company. What makes it special? What are its strengths and weaknesses? What’s your target demographic? Don’t be afraid to put in a graph or two and present it nicely. As your business grows a clear business plan that you and your partner are both onboard with and can pitch to potential investors will be an asset.
The most important thing is that it’ll give you a sense of direction for your business.
Where is your business
Obviously, you don’t have a shop, your shop is on the web, but you need to know the area you’re planning on managing property in. You need to know the following things.
· Can you get easily around the area? Do you have a car?
· Do you hold legitimacy with the locals of that area?
· Are the houses in that area an attractive proposition for your business?
· Do you the selling points of the neighbourhood? How easily could you point your perspective tenants to the nearest corner shop, sports centre or train station?
The freedom of not having a shop might make you feel like you can let property anywhere, and why you might be able to exchange your range a little, be realistic about which areas you are already familiar with and what the expense of travelling further out will be.
You need to find a way to catch people’s attention and tell them you’re the ones to come to for help with their accommodation needs. Branding is key for this.
Sadly in this day and age consumers don’t have time to learn how great a service is and do huge amounts of research to get the best deals. We rely on our intuition, which is why you need to choose a name that is attractive, trustworthy and reflects what makes your letting agency special.
And once you have your branding you need to put it places where people can find it.
The first step is getting a domain name so that you have a location people can go to find all of the information about your business the website needs to be professional and user friendly. Make sure that you have testimonials visible from happy tenants and landlords and try your best to take advantage of search engine optimisation where possible.
It’s possible to do a lot in the way of engaging with the public through social media without spending a penny. By manipulating Instagram, Facebook and Twitter’s algorithms you can drive more traffic to your posts and ultimately to your website whilst strengthening your brand.
Once you’ve tapped all of those resources, buying advertising space is a great way to reach a bigger audience.
Registering as a business
In the UK to open a business you need to be registered with certain national institutions.
· Companies House
This requires some research and paperwork. Both these institutions require annual accounts, Companies House also requires a few additional documents. Since 2012 a letting agency must also be part of a redress scheme in accordance with Consumer Protection Regulation. These are bodies that uphold safe and fair practice In the property market. You get to choose which one you join though.