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Grow your lettings agency by 20% to 30% within a year - there must be a catch?

Why do over 800 letting agents read this blog every week, but only 3% of you have taken up the challenge.  Are you suffering under an assumption that I hadn’t anticipated (or not to such an extent anyway) that “It’s too good to be true.” The headlines  ..... increase your lettings turnover by 20% to 30% within a year are certainly enticing.

So why aren’t more letting agents trying the technique? Yes, you can pay me to write the articles or even for me to teach you the techniques. But I constantly offer in these blog posts to agents who don’t want to pay me a penny, the ability to pick up the phone to me or email me with questions and advice on the technique .. many do, but I can only count them on my fingers and a few toes.

I have given you many testimonials of my system (more of that later).. but come on, if you do this ‘landlord farming’  and do it consistently and patiently, you will succeed. It’s alot of hard work, takes many hours of time and you don’t see any results for months  (and I am not talking a couple of months, I am talking  four, five six months.

So why aren’t letting agents doing it? It could be for a number of reasons, so let’s see which one you fall into Mr(s) letting agent?

The best reason is that hundreds of letting agents were already piloting, creating the foundations for the farming technique, building up the database of the thousands of email addresses of their local landlords, accelerating their advertorials and newsletters, investing in extra staff, writing their blogs, doing a bit (not too much) of social media, all designed to obliterate their letting agent competition. They didn’t call me because they didn’t need to call. They had successfully moved beyond dipping their toes in the water and didn’t need me to give them a gentle nudge (shove). To them, I say: You’re fab, but you still should have called. At the very minimum, I’ll recognise you and your lettings agency. While I recognise your need not to share your successes with the outside world, you are in fact so far ahead that the others may never catch up. Plus, this is the sharing economy -- and if you want to learn from others, you should contribute to the growing pool of best practices and case studies.

The next reason could be that every letting agent felt vitalised to start the landlord farming technique. They ignored the weekly barking of their Area Manager and decided to take a long term view of their position. They delegated day to day issues to their colleagues who were more than capable of sorting them without the bosses interference. Instead, they wrote articles and did some great blog work to their heart’s content. So why haven’t they called? Perhaps they thought I was joking. To them, I say: The only way to keep on moving forward… is to keep on moving forward. Now that you’ve started the program, what will you do next? Innovation in lettings and estate agency, as with everything in life, it’s the journey, not the destination and you will NEVER reach the finish line because there will ALWAYS be an area where you’re lacking. (If you are a corporate agent reading this, you don’t need permission from upon high – just do it. But if you are unsure, maybe your Area Manager or Branch Manager (independent or corporate) isn’t aware of this technique – why don’t you show them ? .......It will make you look good!

Possibly another reason is the same as above, except the landlord farming technique didn’t work as well (or as quick) as perhaps was anticipated. Why haven’t they called? These letting agents didn’t want to admit failure and look a prat. To them I say .. Keep your head up as there is no such thing as failure in landlord farming. It’s all about being patient and waiting for the tipping point as it’s a slow process.

Final reason, they did nothing. They forgot. They didn’t care. They were distracted. They didn’t have enough time. Their colleagues talked them out of it. Their boss talked them out of it. They couldn’t write the articles. They gave up. They didn’t believe. They weren’t motivated enough. Something came up.

What ever your reason (s), I say: you just lost ANOTHER six months. You bet that every other letting agent will keep on the gravy train and keep the status quo. You have 200 or 300 managed properties and you make a half decent living. You put your efforts in the new website or landlords wanted campaign or promotion and you know the result will be the same as if you did nothing – but at least you showed willing.  And in six months, you will have lost yet another six months. The number of letting agents is constantly growing, what if some whippersnapper agent comes along and takes half your stock in the next 2 years using these techniques?

You can keep treading water or you can make the change ... like the Chinese say, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the next is today. Do nothing and it will be the same in 6 months time. If your number of managed properties are static .. you owe it yourself, your family, your team to grow your business .. grow it or lose it. All of you can’t be waiting for a corporate to buy you up in the next 5 to 10 years, can you?

I think you know which one I believe is the more realistic reason. Why is this the case? What needs to change to avoid this tedious re-enactment of Groundhog Day? So if you are a letting agent, the clock is ticking. So what reason is stopping you planting your tree?
Before I go, as I really must get on and write some articles for some clients, I visited an agent from Buckinghamshire on Wednesday, and he said something that really rang true. ‘I run my business quite tight, to do this landlord farming, I will need to take someone on to take some work off me, so I can work on the business instead of in the business!” But as the boss man or lady, you are a very expensive property manager. You can pay someone £15k a year to do most of your job (£25k in London and £20k in the South), freeing you up to get on with being the boss, the driving force of the business.

Some of you might think, "Can I actually make money at it?" "How do I know it's not a scam?" Look at this lovely testimonial given on Linkedin in the last few days (you can go and see it for self)  from an established letting agent in Hitchin ..

I first met Chris in 2011 and was instantly warmed to his personal and creative approach to business. After building the relationship I worked closely with Chris for over 14 months using his ideas and techniques to improve my letting agency in Hitchin, particularly gaining new landlords. Chris had many different ideas and approach's to gaining new landlords and making my letting agency stand out over the competition. What worked particularly well for me was his newspaper advertorials putting me as the local professional for landlords and investors alike. Within 6 - 8 weeks the results were obvious, I was gaining over 50% more landlord enquiries with 90% of them resulting in new business. After nine months my turnover had increased from £36k to £43k per month. Being in business alone can be a daunting experience, and to have someone like Chris on your side, makes it much easier.

.. in fact look at the 44 testimonials on Linkedin from my last two roles .. this stuff works. You don’t need to pay me a penny either (if you dont want to). Just do what I say on this blog (you need to look at all the 127 posts (start at the beginning) and then just starting writing interesting articles that capture the attention and interest of landlords. I have given plenty of examples for you to use as a guide and I have many people doing it around the UK as I have taught around 45 agents and write articles for nearly 15 agents, so I am sure it won’t take two seconds to find their output and change for your town.

The landlord farming technique is a way of looking at the lettings business in a different way. It focuses on the landlord and what interests the landlord. Lettings is a people business.  Landlords are people! Plant a sapling and in 20 years you will have a tree. Start landlord farming and whilst you won’t get any results for 6 months, by month 12 you will see a significant uplift and by months 2 and 36, you will be flying. If you dont have the time, then I can do most of it for you by writing the articles and weaving most of magic or you can come on one of my courses, where  I can teach you .. choice is yours.

Had another training course on Thursday .. here are three letting agents that attended the course with their feedback ...  link here (sometimes the link doesn't open up in mobiles so cut and paste the link and drop the weblink into you browser  

... and as its a weekend, here is another example of the articles you should be writing ...

Warwick Property market: South of River outperforms the North by 22%

Following a discussion with a local landlord who lives in the Churchdown Road area, between Coventry and Warwick, just near St. James Park, we got chatting about the different sides of the river in Warwick and how it affected the  property market. Interestingly, he had a couple of properties in both areas and wanted some advice on where to buy next. I did a comparison between North of the River and South of the River, and quite surprisingly the property market South of the River Arbre had outperformed the North market by 22%!

The average price of property South of the River is £215,700. When you consider the rents that are achieved South of the River are £978 per month, this gives us a yield (annual growth  or the annual rent from a property reflected as a percentage of the value of the property) of 5.4% per year. So is South of the River the best investment? Well, yields North of the river , where the average value of a property is £302,100 and the average rent is £1,110 per month, offer a 22%  lower yield of 4.4% per year (compared to the 5.4% per year in the South), so surely it is the best investment, isn’t it?

This, however, is a great example of annual yield/return not being the only factor when choosing an investment property, as you should also consider how much the value of the property goes up in the long term. In the last 12 months, property values have only risen on average by 6.7% in the South of the River area, which is very impressive. However, average property values North of the River have risen on average by 8.25% (23% better than the South) in the same time frame. The question that every landlord must ask from their investment is,  do you want capital value or yield?

I always tell Warwick landlords, capital growth and yield are two phrases that are one and the same with property investment and can have a big impact on the long term results of your property investment.
Many investors believe that by chasing high yielding properties they will make a faster profit than waiting for capital growth. The problem with this is that to achieve high yield you usually have to compromise on capital growth. Therefore,  it would seem the most logical solution is to find high a yielding property in a strong capital growth area. Such properties don’t exist (or if they do, I don’t know of them!)

This is because, as I tell my landlords,  there is generally an inverse relationship between yield and capital growth so the higher the yield, the lower the capital growth and the higher the capital growth, the lower the yield. This means property investment becomes all about balancing the scales. Whether you are a new landlord or an existing landlord, I don't charge for my advice because if I offer you the best opinion and we build a relationship, then you might (and there is no obligation or expectation to this) just use me to manage those properties and so I have plenty of time to earn money from you by looking after your buy to let property for years to come, a property that we jointly decided met your requirements for the investment .. because that is what it is .. an investment.  So, feel free to pop into our office’s in Warwick for a chat about the property market in our town.

 If you would like any advice on choosing properties, come and see us at our office in the High Street in Warwick