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How to sign up more landlords

Christopher Watkin explains his approach to recruiting landlords and growing a portfolio of rental properties.

Property Drum
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How to sign up more landlords

Most lettings agents will say, “Just get a landlord sat in front of me, let me talk to them and I will get their business”. If you want a landlord to talk to you, the first hurdle is to find those landlords, but nobody walks around with a badge that says ‘I’m a landlord’. The only landlords that walk through the door of your agency are those who have had their property on the market for six weeks, the tenant moved out in the fourth week and they have an overpriced, void property that three agents in the town have already tried to let. So how do you sign up more landlords?

THE CHALLENGE

The challenge gets worse. When was the last time a landlord of yours swapped agents whilst there was a tenant in the property? Precisely… not many. As there is a tenant in the property 95 per cent of the time, the landlord is unable (without incurring withdrawal fees and hassle) to swap agents 95 per cent of the time.

The only time a landlord can swap agents, without incurring those withdrawal fees or hassle, is when the tenant hands in their notice. But how many of your landlords, when you informed them the tenant had handed in their notice, said, ‘Don’t put my rental property back on the market for a few days, I am going to see if there are any new/ better letting agents in town’. Not many.

The problem is, unless the landlord has really fallen out with their agent, 99 per cent of the time the rental property goes straight back on the market. The landlord has better things to do with their life than take time off work to see if there are any new or better letting agents in town and anyway – all you letting agents are the same, aren’t you?

RELATIONSHIPS

I believe the relationship that most landlords have with their letting agent is the same sort of relationship that people have with their own bank. People don’t love their bank, in fact most people don’t even like their bank, it’s just they can’t be bothered to swap banks, be it apathy, too much hassle etc. Most landlords feel the same about their letting agent – you are all the same and it’s too much hassle to swap anyway.

Unless a landlord really falls out with an agent, they stay!

However, what if I could show you to sign up more landlords by making them come and talk to you, not when their tenant handed in their notice, that is too late; but speak to you before the tenant handed in their notice?

Do you believe that lettings is a ‘people business’ and ‘people buy people’? If so, then over those months, between them meeting you and the tenant handing in their notice, you built a relationship with that landlord.

You never asked for business, always interested in them as a person but more importantly, you as the letting agent were one of the most interesting people in the eyes of the landlord, there would come a point where that landlord would say, to themselves, ‘Do you know, I like that guy Bob, he is always very helpful .. next time my tenant hands in their notice, I’Il try him.”

WINNING

You will never get a landlord’s interest until you get their attention and you will never get a landlord to take action until they make a decision. So how do you do get a landlord to decide they want to come and talk you before their tenant hands in their notice? Getting the attention of the landlord is easy, but its the obtaining and keeping of the landlords interest that’s the make or break issue here.

There is nothing more interesting to a landlord than if you talk about the local property market; a landlord in Uxbridge only cares about Uxbridge property, a landlord in Bournemouth only cares about the Bournemouth market.

For example, why have yields in Bournemouth gone up to 5.5 per cent whilst in next door Poole they dropped to four per cent? Why have property values increased by 32 per cent in Uxbridge over the last 5 years whilst values in neighbouring Hayes have only increased by 21 per cent?

Deliver this sort of information to people who are more likely to be local landlords, tell a story, make it interesting and those landlords will beat a path to your door.

Does it work? In the offices I helped last year, who adopted my methods, they than doubled (some almost tripled) rental market appraisals within nine months. Rising from a consistent six rental appraisals per month to a consistent 15 to 18 appraisals per month at one office, and, in another, grew from a consistent four appraisals per month to consistent 14 per month.

Christopher Watkin is the author of the How to get more landlords to use your lettings agency blog and helps letting agents get more landlords and rental properties.
www.christopherwatkin.com
email: [email protected]

March 2, 2014

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