The PRS in 2018 and beyond.
What a year 2017 was, in now for one I was personally glad to be seeing out!
I would like to believe that 2018, is going to be a much more peaceful settled year for the Private Rented Sector, but I somehow think I may be dreaming…
Last year we saw the further regulatory changes within our already highly legislative environment for us all to contend with, changes like the Criminalisation of certain Immigration Act offences, the tenant fee ban draft bill announced, more councils opting for selective licensing and Article 4, The Private Housing (Tenancies)(Scotland) Act 2016 in Scotland which completely changing the housing law as they know it and the changes in Wales from Rent Smart Wales really starting to cause mayhem, to name just a few…
This year we are likely to see the Tenant Fee Ban come into force, or be very close to being so, we will see the EPC regulations kick in in April, maybe CMP & Electrical Certification rules coming into play and the effects of the new banning orders starting to take effect, moving forward further discussion will no doubt take place over the introduction of longer tenancies for tenants, maybe even more regulation and the possibility of a requirement for agents and landlords to be licensed in England too…
So as Letting Agents we have our work cut out, as we try to deliver a great service to our end user customers, our landlords and tenants, we are now having to work on redesigning our fee structure, promote and market our business to compete against the ever increasing level of competition from the traditional and non-traditional agents out there and still make profit.
So what’s the KEY things for agents to look at this year:
Re-examine your fee structure, what you do for your fee, how much and who you charge, and how you compare with the competition to remain profitable
Re-engage and add MORE value to your existing customers even more important now with GDPR looming, but also because the old way of relying on referrals and recommendations doesn’t work anymore because the new agents are getting to your old customers before you do, meaning a loss of business, more
Know your Numbers
Focus on the numbers that make your business work… How many leads do you need, how much of x marketing do you need to generate them, what conversion rate are you expecting, how much per deal do you make etc. go back to your business plan and create one anew, and set goals, give training, tell your team of your expectations and restart afresh
Right now, customers need a reason to use YOU, and that isn’t because of (insert in here a list of all your accreditations and awards) it needs to be because you offer something other agents don’t, what is that? Revisit your USP, what makes you stand out and be different again.
Work WITH your team to GROW your business, EVERYONE should see themselves as part of your sales team, give them incentives, motivational perks, and more importantly a WHY and watch the results pour in, from a highly motivated, inspired and reinvigorated team.
With the high level of regulatory changes affecting our market, this now needs to be a constant task, of checking, monitoring and re-visiting the compliance of each and every process of your business, unfortunately for agents, the Devil is in the DETAIL and where each and every one of us need to focus to keep our businesses safe.
Cutting Costs is at the forefront of everyone’s mind right now, and this means that it is a great time to explore tech options and see what’s NEW out there, but there is so much you can do also, to help you cut costs and grow income too, I recently wrote a guide on beating the ban with 67 ways to beat the ban in your agency, which you can download from the ARLA website HERE http://www.arla.co.uk/lobbying/letting-agent-fees.aspx
So in summary, I believe 2018, is going to be a year of change for all of us, both in the way we work, the service we provide, the legal landscape in which we operate and much more, I believe lots of new people will enter the market and see these changes as opportunity to grab the market and make a difference, we certainly are in the time of adversity, and all of us at Arbon House, feel this to be the case more than ever, certainly in the political arena, defending our sector.
But remember, in times like these, I find comfort in the famous quote that says “Fortune favour’s the brave”, so with that in mind, let’s all dig in, fight on and win this battle.