Low Letting Fees - Too good to be true
The credit crunch is putting pressure on letting agents to become more competitive with their fee structures for landlords and tenants. Find out how this will effect you.
With the huge slow down in house sales the property market is seeing an increase in demand for rental property. Some letting agents are starting to cut their commission charges hoping to increase their property stock of which they can immediately offer to registered tenants. A high turnover of properties will result in much needed revenue flowing into your agency.
Such a de-crease in charges will suit some landlords or investors amidst the credit crunch but long term this could not only damage your reputation as an agent but could put considerable strain on your agency.
Landlords are well aware that a letting agent offering low fees will be cutting operational cost else where which could result in their property not being advertised properly or tenancy agreement not being executed correctly due to a junior member of staff with little experience dealing with the set up.
Most agents will agree that there is a lot more to letting property than simply advertising it in the local paper. A lot of time is spent preparing brochures, conducting viewings, vetting prospective tenants, setting up agreements, conducting inventories and checking in tenants. All this of course costs money to do properly and takes a considerable amount of time & resources.
Landlords will naturally want to keep their costs down and you will always find customers wanting a competitive rate. However, agents offering landlords exceptionally low fees face the risk of lower profit margins, which will make it hard if not impossible to survive the credit crunch. Generally fee cutting tends to prove unprofitable, unsustainable and even costly, which could cause your agency to fold.
When landlords choose an agent they do not base their decision on price alone, but also consider experience, reputation, professionalism, qualifications, marketing budget, to ensure your agency attracts a large number of tenants through its doors and overall service.
If you feel your agency needs a competitive edge try to focus on other areas of service rather than simply price. For example you could consider a sliding fee for landlords that place more than one property with your agency, or you could add value to your charges by offering a service or product that costs your agency little or nothing to set up or provide. You could even consider offering a bundle of useful information to new landlords explaining everything a landlord should know before letting their property.
In the current climate with a number of non experienced home owners renting out single rooms to full houses there is no better time to create a helpful first impression of your agency; in the long run the home owner should return to you to let their property.
To sum up, there is nothing wrong with healthy competition and being competitively priced, if your agency is able to offer a service towards the cheaper end of the market then do so. Bear in mind there are many companies that target high end consumers and make substantial profits. If you're going to cut your prices then do so in moderation and avoid cutting your throat.
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