It’s safe to say that the majority of agents will be glad to see the end of the past two years. Tax changes, the stamp duty surcharge and the phasing out of mortgage tax relief, have all taken their toll.
There are significant signs that amateur landlords are leaving Britain’s £1.4 trillion private rented housing market, putting more and more pressure on agents to compete to retain and attract landlords.
This year, the speculation ends as we get to see the outcome of Brexit and the Tenant Fees Bill and how they’ll both impact the housing market.
While we can’t be certain of the outcome, we do know that changes will undoubtedly put a strain on letting agents; their admin chores and how they operate.
Agents can minimise impact by being prepared. As we enter the new year, there’s no better time to review business practices, putting into place more effective administration and management tools.
To compete in an ever-challenging environment requires smart preparation. Here are just a few tools to help agents make good New Year Resolutions in 2019...
GetRentr tracks and maps property licensing regulations in local authorities across the UK to help letting agents and landlords easily comply with the rules and expose rogue operators. The company has developed an automated compliance monitor that reviews property portfolios in real-time, so agents and landlords can cut costs, avoid fines and ensure that their tenants live in safe homes.
London startup Goodlord aims to improve the ways that renters, estate agents and landlords transact through a suite of tools on its cloud-based technology platform. Goodlord exists to modernise a number of the stages along the chain of a renting a property, starting with putting down money, signing contracts and referencing, all processes that still tend to need to be done in branch and on paper.
They offer their own e-signing capability for contracts and using Stripe and GoCardless to facilitate payments. In theory this means that rental properties could come off the market very quickly as paperwork and deposits could all be done at the viewing itself on an iPad.
Swiftcomplete has developed technology that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automatically create a property description from a postcode, or current location. The PropTech startup has mined 50 different datasets to build up a detailed understanding of an exact location and uses AI to automatically create authentic content for property descriptions.
It’s a handy tool for agents and is particularly useful when it comes to information about distances to nearby amenities.
Sorbet manages property maintenance for the rental market; agents, landlords, tenants and contractors are able to raise and monitor maintenance requests and jobs via the platform.
Sorbet can automatically book contractors when reports and inspections are due, or deal with tenant maintenance requests without the agent having to intervene. Tenants use a dedicated app to report issues and the software automatically selects an agent’s approved contractor to do the work. When a contractor has completed an inspection, they can use a separate app to let the agent and the tenant know.
AskPorter is an AI management platform with a digital assistant called Porter. In essence it’s an AI messaging platform designed to optimise property management, reducing admin for letting agents.
AskPorter was created to free property managers and tenants from the outdated administration and communication processes that exist in the sector. AskPorter removes this friction through automation, and deep-learning artificial intelligence. AskPorter allows property managers to thrive, and even scale without the burden of increased hassle.
Glide Switch has just launched to take the stress and admin out of tenancy changeovers. Aimed at the student rental market, Switch enables Glide to take charge of utility contracts ahead of tenancies starting.
Letting agents avoid having to deal with multiple energy suppliers across their property portfolio; while tenants avoid disputes over summertime billing responsibilities and receive fair equal billing for the duration of their tenancy. Glide was the first company in the UK to offer multi-tenant billing options for students, with over a decade of experience.
With Holoportation on the horizon, if you’re not already using virtual reality, then now is the time. Virtual Viewings offer virtual property tours, viewable on computers, tablets, phones and virtual reality headsets.
It’s reported that VR viewings help to increase profitability by cutting down on hours out at physical viewings whilst attracting more business by offering people the opportunity to view properties from anywhere in the world.
*Richard Price is Sales Director at Glide