Sitting in traffic in Elephant and Castle with two tepid Starbucks may not be the opportune time to write a blog, but for us, the start to this year has been so busy it's hard to find the time.
We're on our way to visit two new blocks in South London which we will be taking on fully-managed. It's a great start to 2017, and as we sit in traffic discussing the business and our new year resolutions, we look back on last year and bring to you...
...Eleven things we learnt in 2016:
- The economy and the rental market are unpredictable - We don't think anyone saw the vote for Brexit coming, and no one successfully predicted the impact it would have on our industry. It taught us we need to be fluid and ready to adapt to any unexpected conditions.
- Applicant demand has increased - there is definitely a difference in more serious, qualified applicants coming to the market. We need to ensure we have the stock to match.
- Two or three key individuals in a team is not enough. Everyone should be great and bring a variety of skills. This is a balance we worked hard to achieve last year.
- Our market is now 24/7 - this year ended with 30% of our landlords residing overseas - we need to work around that time difference. We predict this year this will increase further, along with more applicants taking properties from overseas ahead of job moves.
- The legislation is tougher than ever - this year saw the introduction of another bucket load of legislation. Landlords and tenants are not educated enough on this - do they fully understand their obligations and why these are in place? How can we help with this?
- The proposed removal of tenant fees was surprising yet inevitable following Scotland's lead. It further reinforces the public view that we are untrustworthy and money grabbing - fantastic! As a transparent agency, in 2017 we hope to take the change in our stride and demonstrate the integrity with which most agents work.
- Reliable contractors have been our saving grace this year. Our in-house team this year surpassed our expectations of customer service and left many tenants issues resolved within the hour.
- The introduction of the mentality of instant response. The shift from just some of the team hot on their keyboards, to everyone; so we can keep up with the growing expectations of tenants and landlords. We are now working in an instantaneous society.
- Clarity on our customer journey. Ensuring a smooth transition for all clients as they navigate through from lettings to compliance to management. No more 'I am not sure who I should be dealing with...'
- With the average tenant staying longer than ever in properties, the standard '12 month' tenancy no longer exists. Odd length tenancies may seem strange, but tenants are keen to secure longer terms whilst landlords should always be mindful of ending a tenancy in peak periods (ie. avoiding Christmas). This works for both parties and minimises void periods and potential maintenance for landlords.
- Spencer Lawrence will chase you for a blog until it's written. There's nowhere to hide :|
Wishing you all a fantastic new year, and hope you are excited for 2017 as we are :)
Reagan Bradley & Dexter Franklin Beck