Agents beware: the need for speed could derail your rent

While a home mover would once be looking for an indoors toilet, central heating and perhaps double glazing as ‘must-haves’ on the moving list, today’s requirements are a little different. A swift commute and a quick broadband connection are two of today’s essentials but the speed at which both of these are executed are increasingly coming under scrutiny.

This July saw comment from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) published in The Telegraph, warning home owners that the continuing poor performance of Southern Rail could wipe thousands off the value of properties along the route. It is feared the 250+ cancelled trains per day are leading to an untenable commute for travelers, with a faltering desire for places between Central London and the South coast, through East and West Sussex, Surrey, and parts of Kent and Hampshire. The NAEA say the regular days of 30 minutes or more may prompt potential homes mover to move further away but where there are more reliable rail networks (and cheaper house prices). 

While the comment was focusing on sales, the sentiment can be applied to lettings too, as a frustrated commuter is just as likely to be a tenant as an owner occupier.

Speed (or the lack of it) was also the focal point earlier in 2016 when the editor of broadband comparison website, Broadband Genie, wrote about how poor broadband can affect rental values and house prices. Estimates claim a slow connection could lower values as much as 20% and with many property search facilities now giving people the option to see the broadband speed at a property they’re interested in, the connection is crucial.

Agents need to be aware of both of these points, addressing areas of concern and highlighting the positives. There’s not much that can be done at agency level to improve commuting times but when marketing a property, it’s worth highlighting alternative transport links, and flagging up an planned improvements to the public transport and road network. The broadband is something agents can influence – perhaps after a quick chat with the landlord. It’s worth getting the broadband speed tested and equipment updated before exploring other options, such and cable, fibre optic, receiver and satellite broadband.

Summer is the perfect time to conduct some research to ensure every home you market is portrayed in the most positive light. Don’t be slow off the mark or let your lack of speed have a detrimental effect on your success.

ARPM

Simon Duce is the Founder and Managing Director of ARPM Outsourced Lettings Support - a business designed to help small and start-up letting agents/property managers offer a full suite of property management and tenancy administration services through outsourcing.

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