The Internet & Estate Agents

Many estate agents will remember the pre-internet era when selling a house involved sticking a three inch photograph onto a type written page, while describing the living room as ‘25’ x 13’, twin aspect, triple power points, double radiator.’

 

Now, it’s all about using phrases like ‘a slice of English history’ and ‘oozing charm and character’ to ensure our properties stand out from the hundreds fighting for an increased click-through rate online.

 

As estate agents, we haven’t been trained in marketing, copy writing or photography – it’s something we’ve had to learn on the job, motivated by the urgency to have our properties seen online and to inspire people to click onto our client’s home.

 

Before the internet was just a glint in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye, marketing a property and your agency involved an advert in the local paper, or a conversation at the nineteenth hole – life was simple. Nowadays marketing has so many different channels; it’s not just social media but website conversion, emails, blogging and more.

 

We need to remember that things are never going to go back to the way they were. Most agents barely use print advertising at all now. And, although direct mail is still effective response rates have not been above 1% for some years, making it expensive and time-consuming.

 

On top of that, when you get the instruction, vendors usually won’t accept the same property details that five years ago would have been the ‘bee’s knees’.  Now, because of the age we are in, they prefer to have glossy, multi-page, designed ‘brochures’ – simply put, something that makes them go wow.

 

What most of us still possess, is the ability to talk to people, understand their needs and concerns and provide the best solutions for them.

 

Many of us have chosen this profession because we want to help people through an experience that can be one of the most stressful events in their life.

 

As estate agents, not only do we enjoy and value being part of the community but we’re fascinated by human nature and have a detailed knowledge of every property transaction in our area since we first uttered the phrase ‘perfect for a first time buyer’.

 

The agent that utilises their pre-existing skills, harnessing them alongside the marketing power of the internet will have an unbeatable recipe for success.

Renting or buying – which do you choose?

There’s always a big debate about which is better – renting or buying and, really when it comes down to the final decision, it’s about personal preference and ultimately what you can afford.

 

A big chuck of your monthly mortgage payments are to cover the interest on the loan itself, which is why it takes a long time to pay off – meaning most people tend to stay in the same house for a number of years. Renting, on the other hand, does give you the extra flexibility if your circumstances were to change and you needed to move.

 

If you have a specific area in mind, then buying a home there may be unaffordable at the present time – so renting may make more sense. Although, paying rent every month doesn’t give you anything back for your investment but if it works for you, then that’s the main thing.

 

However, depending on where you want to live monthly mortgage payments could be cheaper than rent costs in the same area.

 

Over the past few years, house prices and average rent costs have both risen significantly while the cost of mortgages has fallen. The best thing to do would be look at the costs for both options, and then decide what is best for you.

 

Thinking of selling privately?

As a home seller you want to make as much money as you can from the sale of your home; meaning you could be considering selling your property privately to avoid paying estate agent fees.

However, there are many cons to selling without the help of an agent.

So, before you make that decision, we thought you should be aware of some of the negatives that come from selling privately.

1. There might not be as much financial benefit as you imagine

You’re not likely to fetch as high a price for your home as you would if you worked with an agent. An established real estate agent knows how to market your property to the right buyers – negotiation on price is correctly based on true facts.

2. It’s hard work to sell a house

You are going to need to devote a considerable amount of time to selling your house.

Your home needs to be photographed, filmed, listed, shown and more. And, when you do gain interest in your house you will need to be able to show them around, answer their phone calls and negotiate a good price all by yourself.

3. You’ll need to financially qualify the buyer

If you find a buyer on your own, you’ll need to make sure they can afford to buy the property.

One of the problems with selling by yourself is not having the same skills as an estate agent to determine the buyer’s qualifications – there’s a huge difference between being pre-approved for a mortgage vs being pre-qualified.

4. You need to make sure you are legal to sell your property

Every area has its own laws and regulations related to selling a home. It’s important to make sure you read up to see what would be required to do so.

5. Be prepared for the bargain shoppers

Some people could assume you are willing to take less for your house because you do not have to pay an estate agent – just be prepared to deal with such buyers.

Job Vacancy – Lettings Manager

Due to our continued growth we have an exciting position available within our lettings department

Lettings Manager

40 hours per week

Salary £20,000 – £25,000 dependent on experience + benefits

To develop and grow the lettings business through a well-motivated team, give effective leadership and be accountable for results and people, whilst complying with Crucible Sales & Letting’s procedures and policies at all times

Key responsibilities include:
  • To maximise the overall income and profitability of both the Sheffield and Rotherham branches and achieve budgeted income, profit and other targets set by Head Office.
  • Demonstrate the standards required from reporting staff through personal performance and results.
  • Provide on-going coaching, training and development of team.
  • View and take on all property instructions from landlords. Maintain and run an effective follow up system for withdrawn instructions, lost instructions and Market Appraisal’s that have not been instructed.
  • Ensure all offers and conditions are communicated immediately to the landlord.
  • Ensure that terms agreed at the commencement of a tenancy are put in writing to the landlord and applicant.
  • Maintain regular contact with instructing landlords with activity report.
  • Brief staff immediately of any changes in landlord’s instructions.
  • Maintain and update an efficient record of all applicant enquiries through our software system (Jupix)
  • Implement and maintain an advertising / canvassing programme, to be regularly appraised and updated.
  • Ensure on-going and regular liaison with sales staff over potential clients / instructions
  • Communicate regularly with the Property Management Department to ensure issues/problems are dealt with swiftly and effectively providing the highest level of service for our clients.
  • Holding effective daily and more formal weekly team meetings, to include the update of the applicant and landlord registers.
  • Effectively manage the office diary to ensure appropriate cover in branch at all times.
  • Ensure staff compliance with all company administrative procedures and effect additional work systems where necessary.
  • At all times to project a smart, friendly, polite and professional image providing the highest standard of customer care in order to secure recommendations and further business for the Company.
  • To demonstrate by practice a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the Fees and Terms of Business, Tenancy Agreement and associated legislation.
  • To ensure that no tenancy commences without cleared funds and a gas safety record in place and all relevant compliance standards are met.
  • To ensure office banking procedures are adhered to by staff.
  • To ensure that all complaints are dealt with under the Company Complaints Procedure.
  • To ensure that the office and desks are kept clean, tidy and that the overall presentation of the office is maintained to reflect the professional image and profile of the company.
  • To maintain a high standard of written presentation within the office and ensure all promotional material is accurate and consistent with the company image, the Estate Agents Act and the Property Misdescriptions Act (i.e. correspondence, window cards, boards, property particulars, lettings lists, office displays).
  • To ensure that staff are always punctual and that their personal presentation, standard of dress and telephone manner are in accord with the Company’s professional standards
  • Ensure, by at least monthly inspection, that staff cars are kept clean and tidy inside and out, and are maintained in accordance with the Company Car Policy.
  • To maintain an accurate Attendance Diary for holidays and sickness, and arrange cover when staff are on leave or absent.
  • To ensure the proper running of the office at all times.
  • To maintain a Saturday roster and ensure staff are present.
  • To attend and ensure staff attendance of any formal training sessions.
  • To ensure that all office equipment is maintained in good working order.
  • Process landlord payments, contractor payments and tenant refunds in the absence of the Lettings Operations Manager.
  • Ensure that all invoices have been correctly input onto our software system (Jupix).
  • Provide a daily report to the Lettings Operations Manager regarding any queries as requested.
  • Any other duties as directed by the Lettings Operations Manager.
PERSON SPECIFICATION   

Essential

Qualifications    – Grade A – C in G.C.S.E Mathematics & English or equivalent

Experience      

Management experience across a broad range of functions with a successful record of high quality customer care

Successful record of staff management, support and team development

Multi skilled with a track record of achieving objectives and meeting targets

Writing and presenting reports

Knowledge of Health and Safety regulations

A demonstrable record of adding value to the organisation

At least 12 months experience of working in a busy lettings environment

Knowledge      

Ability to understand and improve business systems and support processes

Ability to interpret and apply the legislative and regulatory requirements within a letting agency and to implement systems that ensure these are met

Sound knowledge of housing  legislation, regulation, policies and procedures

Skills    

Evidence of Leadership skills within a working environment

Skilled in organising and prioritising work to deliver against deadlines, often under pressure

Performance management skills  – setting, monitoring and reviewing goals and objectives

Clear ability to analyse and interpret data/information and produce performance and other reports

IT literate and track record of developing internal business systems

Sound working knowledge of MS Office applications and social media in a business environment

Qualities      

Stamina, drive and resilience and a track record of delivering performance improvement

Flexible and adaptable with a positive “can do” attitude and a focus on getting things done

A highly motivated self-starter taking responsibility for own and team training and development

Commitment to Crucible Sales and letting’s values

Appetite and ability to deliver a wide and varied workload in the context of a small business operating environment

To apply

Please email Ben Johnson – b.johnson@cruciblesalesandlettings.co.uk for an application form.
Please note – CV’s won’t be considered. 

 

Landlord licensing scheme

Have you heard about the new landlord licensing scheme?

In an attempt to cleanse the community of rogue landlords the government has implemented a new landlord licensing scheme, which means that landlords who operate in certain areas will need the license to ensure they remain legally compliant.

In Rotherham the designated areas are Eastwood, Masbrough, Dinnington and Maltby South East and came into force on the 1st May this year. Landlords who have properties in these areas will now have to have a five-year license, costing up to £625. However, there is a discount of up to £100 if landlords are accredited, the property has been assessed independently against the Housing Health and Safety Rating system in the last 6 months, and is shown to be free of Category 1 hazards.

The penalties for not obtaining a license can also be pretty steep. In an area subject to selective licensing, all private landlords must obtain a licence and if they fail to do so, or fail to achieve acceptable management standards, the authority can take enforcement action, e.g. issuing a fine of up to £20,000 or in some cases, assuming management control of the property.

According to the council the license will benefit tenants and the wider community in the following ways:

• Reduce the turnover of occupiers in domestic properties
• Ensure private landlords are managing and maintaining the property
• Reduce crime and anti-social behaviour
• Make sure minimum standards for rented housing are met.
• Reduce the number of empty properties

How will it benefit Landlords?
• Selective licensing will create a clear set of rules that all landlords must follow.
• Landlords will also have to give and ask for references for their tenants, hopefully ensuring that the tenants they choose will pay the rent and look after their property.

Let us know your thoughts. Do you feel this is a fair way to monitor landlords and ensure they are looking after their tenants and property?