Make 2017 the year you actually increase letting fee income

It’s about now when property experts start looking into their crystal ball to predict what might happen in the coming year. While speculation makes for entertaining reading, it’s planning – not star gazing – that should form the last few weeks of 2016 and into 2017.

It’s possible that the proposed ban on letting agent fees to tenants will taken effect by 2018 and that’s what letting agents should be focused on right now. There might be a few of you pinning your hopes on a Government u-turn but it’s prudent to assume that your fee income will be reduced in some way in the near future.

Or will it? While fees to tenants may evaporate, the year ahead presents a chance to strengthen – and even increase – your lettings income. The value lies in professional property management.

Forward-looking business plans should focus on turning as many ‘let only’ landlords into clients taking on a full property management service, as well as ensuring all new landlords coming to you take out your top level package.

It shouldn’t be a hard sell. We know that demand for rental properties is rising. We also know that tenants increasingly want to avoid ‘rogue’ landlords in favour of a respectable, professional outfit. That’s where a dedicated property manager steps in.

Landlords should find your hassle-free, legally compliant full management service irresistible – especially in a lettings sector that is more rigorously structured than ever before. Tenants should feel reassured that by choosing a professionally-managed let, they will enjoy a smooth tenancy with a property ‘guardian’ at their disposal.

The above isn’t rocket science – you know this already but do your clients? Your message moving forwards should be an education for landlords and tenants on the benefits of a professional management service. Compelling literature, marketing campaigns and a strong online emphasis will help get the message across and, in turn, prompt an increase in clients requesting professional management.

You can choose to bundle up pre-tenancy administration in your full management package and charge a fee that mitigates what you might lose on tenant fees in the coming months. You may even end up increasing your profit margin by winning more expensive full management work. What is guaranteed that my majoring in important issues like compliance, transparency and accountability, you’ll help your brand stand out in a slightly beleaguered lettings sector.

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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