What a great time to be a letting agent. In decades, never has there been so much change.
As you’re well aware, there have been numerous new pieces of legislation, licencing, additional safety requirements and now the tenant fee ban.
Safety is an obvious need for any property and overcrowding is simply not acceptable, so many of the new pieces of legislation have been understandable, though issues like these should never have required formal intervention to make sure they are adhered to.
For the good guys - the vast majority of landlords and letting agents - these changes have created yet more time consuming and costly admin work that could have been avoided.
In a similar vein, the tenant fee ban could have been avoided if fees had been kept at a reasonable level - not inflated by the minority who felt the need to squeeze every penny out of tenants.
It is not, however, such a bad thing for agents…
In times of change, whether enforced or not, opportunities exist if you look hard enough.
In fact, the tenant fee ban represents one of the biggest opportunities seen within the industry since the buy-to-let boom.
The ban is being introduced with agents forever seeing the landlord as the customer, which, while understandable to a degree, represents a degree of naivety from some businesses.
On average, each of our agency clients has 400 managed or let-only tenants in their portfolio. That’s not just 400 paying customers who are demanding higher service levels, but prospects who have predictable wants and needs in their lives.
Many of our clients have an untapped customer base of over 1,000 individuals. For clever agents, the landlord is the ‘client’ and the tenant is the ‘customer’.
With a growing renting population, if UK agents have a clear understanding of their customers’ wants and needs, they can easily position themselves to service them.
Not only delivering a superior level of service, but critically driving additional revenue to enable business growth.
When we talk about ‘wants’ and ‘needs’, we’re not merely targeting the process of renting a property, we’re also making a customer’s daily life in and outside their property more convenient, more affordable, more fun and more engaging.
There are few industries left with such an untapped customer base. The opportunity for agents is simply huge, they just need to get to know their customers and deliver.
Opportunityisnowhere can be seen as ‘Opportunity is nowhere’ or ‘opportunity is now here’, depending on your outlook.
Over the next few years, forward-thinking agents with the right mindset will thrive. I fear for those who are not so open-minded.
Vaboo is a customer engagement and perks platform designed to give agents a point of difference against the competition, improve their service offering and drive additional revenue opportunities.
*Jonathan Stein is chief executive officer of Vaboo