Published in 2010, the paperback edition and the edition in Kindle format at a very reasonable price from Amazon.
Starting and running a letting agency has been popular over recent years because of the rapid growth of buy-to-let and renting residential property generally. This growth has not only spawned a whole army of new landlords, it’s also resulted in lots of new letting agents.
A common way into this occupation is for landlords who have gained some experience letting properties on their own account migrating into the business of letting and managing properties for others.
The occupation is particularly suited to those landlords who have built-up a large enough portfolio of their own properties to manage full-time, but who also want to supplement their income and cash flow by managing property on behalf of others.
Unlike property investing and buy-to-let, where a whole library of literature has sprung up over recent years, books on running a letting agency are few and far between. In fact I’m aware of only one other such book on the topic that I’ve seen in the last few years.
There’s far more to running a letting agency that many new starters appreciate. If you start off with sparse knowledge of the law and practicalities of the occupation, as many have done, it has to be admitted (and some of these have made a success of the enterprise) then you can be running quite high risks.
Anyone can start a letting agency in England without any prior qualifications. It’s an unregulated occupation which encourages the enterprising and able, but can lead to some shoddy practices. A good knowledge of the law is essential, and tenant management and general property knowledge is also important.
Those starting off in this field face a chicken and egg situation: they are starting off small so don’t always have the resources to cover themselves with professional indemnity insurance or join one of the recognised professional associations, and they rarely undergo the full professional training needed to be members of professional association.
We would certainly never recommend anyone to use an agent who is not a member of a recognised association and who does not carry insurance which covers the risks involved, including the protection of client’s tenancy deposits and rent.
So any new agent starting from scratch has a huge mountain to climb and needs real determination and staying power if they are to build a client base. Having said all that, it’s not impossible to do it, and many have proved this for themselves.
Most established agents would not thank me for encouraging this sort of enterprise as they rightly and jealously guard their occupation, having undergone the professional training and gained the experience over perhaps many years. Most would argue for statutory regulation of the occupation to prevent “cowboy” operators.
However, everyone has to start somewhere, and many landlords with experience have gained enough knowledge and experience to make a good show of letting and managing property on behalf of clients, so long as they do this to a professional standard.
This book will give anyone contemplating such a move, a real head start. Written by an experienced letting agent who has made a success of his letting business, starting from scratch, the book will also be of value to those already in the industry, perhaps new starters, and those contemplating starting as a franchise operation. This book will also prove useful to those landlords who want to improve their letting and management skills.
The book covers the initial processes of setting up a new business generally: the general background to the letting industry, starting out on your own, creating a business plan, marketing, finance, staffing, and the business legal requirements etc.
The specifics of running a lettings business is covered in some detail including the processes of letting and management, accounting for money and generating additional streams of income.
All in, the book is a very useful and quite a comprehensive, though as a 2009/10 edition one or two of the legal provisions, particularly in relation to tenancy deposits are out of date. Nevertheless this is a resource about a topic where otherwise some of this information is very hard to find.
You can get the book here.
Tom Entwistle, Editor.