It would be pointless for us to visit a property, unless we knew the landlord would consider pets. Yet, we have agents trying to get us to look on the basis that the landlord may change their minds. Yes, sometimes that happens; however, in a highly competitive market, another tenant without a pet is more appealing. Most properties in the current climate have numerous offers.
Issues when dealing with estate agents
- Take it or leave it attitude
- Many do not respond to emails and calls. Colleagues don’t call back
- With on-line agencies, they take time to respond and the property is gone
- When dealing with private landlords, quite often they don’t respond and then you get an email saying it has been let
- Not being taken seriously Solutions to dealing with estate agents
- Don’t feel embarrassed to chase and call a few times
- If you love locally, walk into the office
- When you speak to an agent, take their name and they are your person to chase
- Be proactive, keep asking what is coming and push to get through the door early when a property comes on
- When you like a property. Offer quickly. Be serious, do not dither
It is becoming increasingly frustrating dealing with letting agents as it is getting more difficult to talk to someone, especially with the rise of on-line based agencies. You just want to know the answer to a simple question; ‘my client has a house cat, would the landlord be okay with that?’.
Yet, before I can get to that stage, I need to fill in my clients salary, position and with one big agency, you cannot proceed until you have uploaded an Experian report! How can I do that on behalf of a client? You try and call the agency, no response and the message asks you to fill in the same form and the link is texted to you.
You just end up going round in circles and then the property has been let. I know that with changes in legislation, agencies want to collate as much information in advance to make sure the potential tenant has good references and can afford the rent, but has it not gone too far the other way? A simple yes or not to pets would be great. Nobody wants to waste anyone’s time.
Is technology taking over the bricks and mortar process?
Buying or renting a home are two of the biggest expenses in people’s lives. Before you put pen (digital or actual) to paper, you want to have all your questions answered. A solicitor should do that for a purchase, but who helps you with a rental agreement? For pet owners, without a pets clause inserted into a tenancy agreement, you have no legal standing to be in the property with a pet. Many people do not know that; the agent is pushing to get all signed off and there are people waiting in the ‘wings’ to take the property.
Who can you talk to for advice, especially if you are from overseas and don’t know how the system works. Some agents and agencies are great; they do advise and know what they are talking about. Others, just see it as a ‘conveyor belt’, all about the ‘deal pipeline’. Any issues afterwards talk to the management department or the landlord, by which time it is too late and you are tied into a rental agreement.
This latest article from Estate Agent Today, talks about AI technology replacing or taking over more from property portals. Technology in the property world can help, but only to a certain point. Can it answer questions such as lease issues, forthcoming works to a building, what are the neighbours like, and can I bring my small dog or cat? The answer is very unlikely. Property pictures don’t tell the ‘whole story’; many times, it is very different when you see the property in person and can be disappointing.
Good old-fashioned talking on the phone or going by the office
Sometimes the good old-fashioned way is the best way. Face to face contact or talk to someone who is knowledgeable about said property.
Sometimes talking to an agent opens up other opportunities as they understand more what you are after. Many a time we speak to agents and they will say; ‘we actually have a house/ flat coming on next week which would work better for your client and that landlord likes pets, I’ll get you booked in to see it’. Also when agents meet you, you stick in their minds more, they know you are serious and they better understand your requirements.
Becoming more of a numbers game
Even with a lack of rental properties on the market, it is still a numbers game. This article clearly explains why there is a rental property shortage. Get the property agreed and move on. Advise the landlord on which tenant to choose, commitment with holding deposit then references, paperwork, full funds in, hand over keys, all done.
With demand outstripping supply, you don’t need to pick up the phone, emails and calls come to you. The modern agent is more reactive rather than proactive. Let’s get all the information up front. Don’t want to fill in the form, fine as others will. We have come across a very much ’take it or leave it attitude’ with some agents. Property is now let, so don’t need your details.
I find it quite shocking as many years ago I was an estate agent. As negotiators, we were encouraged to get as much information out of people to understand what they were looking for. Why, because, when a new property came on, we knew who to call immediately and get them in. Nowadays, just wait for the enquiries to come in and work on those.
You spoke to the agent the other day, explained what you are after, your timescales and they said they would get in touch if anything comes up. Two days later, you look on a portal and see the ideal property, within budget and can move in asap. Brilliant. You notice it is on with the same agent and nobody has called you and they have already had a couple of offers. Naturally you feel what is the point of speaking to an agent.
As agents you were always told to be proactive and not reactive. Know your best buyers/ tenants. Basically, have them on ‘speed dial’. However, markets change. We have been on a run of demand outstripping supply. One agent the other day from a large agency, mentioned that letting is slightly slowing down. Agreed, the frenzy of places going in hours has slightly calmed down. You notice the odd property which has been on for 5 days to a week, which was unheard of.
When the market calms down and levels out, agents will need to pick up the phone and learn the art of calling people and talking them into viewings properties. Only then will some agents be easier to contact and talk to as they will value each lead. As it currently stands, the attitude is more ‘take it or leave it’.
This article was written by Russell Hunt, Founder of Pets Lets, a UK pet friendly property portal offering properties where landlords consider pets as well as a pet friendly relocation and buying service. Prior to setting up Pets Lets, Russell was a London property search consultant for over 25 years for clients looking to buy and rent in the Capital.
Click here to see useful pet cv’s and pets clauses, as well as other pet friendly rental tools on the Pets Lets Portal.