A couple of weeks ago I was chatting to a new landlord of mine who was considering selling one of his properties. “Aren’t you tempted to expand into property sales?” he asked me.
I setup CRJ Lettings to do just that…lettings. As a landlord myself, it’s what I know and over the years I have systemised the process from finding tenants to managing the maintenance and tenancy. With a record of no rental arrears and no ‘trashed properties’, along with an average satisfaction rating of 9.8/10 from tenants who have moved out, I decided it was what I was good at and hence, what I should stick to.
Many agents inevitably get distracted by the higher upfront commissions of the sales business and I think landlords and tenants suffer as a result. In the past six months, three agents in Chichester who were previously lettings only have expanded into sales. This leaves CRJ Lettings as one of just a few agents in Chichester who focus solely on letting and managing property.
In the market slowdown of 2008, whereby only 900,000 properties sold in the U.K compared to 1,613,000 the year before (a drop of 44%!), many estate agents ventured into lettings, if they weren’t already doing so, to create some much-needed revenue.
Therein lies the problem; many did it for business reasons rather than a passion or eagerness to provide great service. I believe this has led to landlords and tenants being poorly served and I wished to change this.
To me, lettings is a completely different process to sales and not one I feel should be entered into so lightly without first understanding all the legislation and considering the level of service you can provide.
As it happens, I also take great pride in offering my free advice and opinion as to what rental property would best suit a new investor.
As I’m not selling property I can remain completely impartial in this regard, as opposed to being tempted to divert a landlord to a property I happen to have for sale in my own shop window. Instead I can look through the whole of the market, like I do each Monday, adding a ‘buy-to-let deal of the week’ to my blog (www.chipropertynews.co.uk).
I’ve made a conscious decision not to be all things to all people but to specialise in what I know best and what I practice and enjoy every day: letting and managing rental properties whilst also being able to give truly impartial advice to investors.
If you would like some free advice from a local lettings specialist or wonder whether you might be able to receive a better lettings service than with your current agent, please get in touch.
Clive Janes, CRJ Lettings – www.crjlettings.co.uk