If you work in a Lettings Agency, you’ll know how busy and hectic they can be; not only advertising and letting rental properties, but also managing those properties once they are tenanted. Letting agents know all too well the many tasks that come along with this, but what are the most challenging aspects of running a lettings agency, and are there any new solutions to consider?

Workload

For letting agents, it can be a struggle to juggle your workload when there are so many different aspects to it, all of which are usually time sensitive. First of all, you have to attract new Landlords so that you can build your portfolio of properties. Secondly, you have to create excellent property advertisements to make sure you find tenants for your rental properties. Next, you carry a thorough moving in process which involves creating and going through legal paperwork with tenants and Landlords, and contacting other parties such as utility providers to make sure they have everything they need. But it doesn’t stop once your new tenants have settled in.

Not only do you have to carry out regular inspections of the property throughout each tenancy, to make sure the tenants are looking after it well, you are also their first port of call for any issues they have with the property while they’re living there. For example, maybe they have an unexplained power cut, their boiler stops working, or a leak appears in the ceiling. You need to find the solution to each of these issues, which can involve lengthy project management with contractors. When the tenants leave, you carry out a thorough moving out process and then the cycle starts all over again. And don’t forget, you’re carrying out all of these steps for multiple properties, sometimes hundreds!

So how can you keep your head above water and make sure every box is ticked? Have you ever considered hiring a virtual personal assistant? Unlike traditional personal assistants who are usually given a fill time contract, with virtual personal assistants you only pay for them as and when you need them, making them far more affordable. The fact that they are virtual and, therefore, remote, also means that they are accessible whenever you need them. Companies like Cymphony provide virtual personal assistants and outsourcing some of these tasks to them means that you get the help you need without the hassle of the HR side of employment too. It’s a win, win.

Furthermore, outsourcing in this way allows you to make the most of 24/7 accessibility to your virtual personal assistant, giving you that much needed extra time to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. The number of people looking for accommodation is on the rise, in fact HMRC provisionally estimated that monthly residential transaction volumes in December 2020 (137,300) were at their highest level since March 2016 (171,730), so make sure you’re ready for the rush.

Filing

It may seem trivial but for letting agents, accurate filing is crucial. You need to be able to provide evidence of having carried out correct procedures as you are regulated by governing bodies. For example, you need proof that you have stored tenant deposits safely. You also need key information on hand for Landlord vs tenant legal disputes. However, it can be difficult to find the time to give such attention to detail, but this is another way in which virtual personal assistants can help. When time is short, handing over some of your day to day admin tasks to an experienced assistant can free up the time you need, and give you peace of mind that you’re ready for any eventuality.

Incoming Calls

It’s rare to enter a lettings agency and not hear a phone ringing. Considering the many tenants and landlords calling for your help, the general public wanting to book in viewings of your property, and new clients calling in response to your adverts, incoming calls can take up all of your time, leaving none left for your other responsibilities. A great way to ease this strain is to outsource calls to a third party call-handling company like Cymphony, who’ll answer your phones 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

They can make note of important information and relay it back to you at a more convenient time. Additionally, Cymphony’s call handlers are skilled, experienced and very well trained, so leaving customer experience in their hands is as safe as houses! They even integrate seamlessly into your business so outsiders can’t tell the difference! You could make the most of Cymphony’s live chat agents too. Live chat is the most popular form of communication for customers as its so efficient and convenient, and could help you save even more time.

Arrears

Chasing arrears is a time consuming and constant aspect of being a letting agent. Two-thirds of survey respondents said that arrears had increased as a direct result of Covid-19. Half of these said that arrears had increased by up to 10%, six percent of respondents said that arrears had increased by over 30%. For one reason or another, tenants often fail to pay their rent either now and again or on a regular basis, and it is the agent’s job to make sure it comes in. Part of this task is ringing tenants to chase their rent, but another important element is making sure you catch their calls back, as not doing so can leave you playing telephone ping pong for days while your client, the Landlord grows more and more frustrated. Outsourcing your call-handling is a great way to ensure that every call is taken, no matter what time of day or night.

Maintenance Project Management

The management of maintenance projects is another of the most time consuming roles carried out by letting agents. It involves lengthy back and forth communication between tenants for access, landlords for permission, and contractors for scheduling. Contractors are notoriously difficult to get hold of as they’re in such high demand, while tenants and Landlords are restricted by their own schedules too, so projects can go on for months.

A virtual personal assistant can help you keep track of the projects’ progress; helping you to make sure you have the correct permissions and updated arrangements, and giving you back that time to focus on other areas of your job. Virtual personal assistants can take on a wide variety of administrative tasks, so they can also be relied upon to ring round the various parties involved, and if they’re sourced from Cymphony, they will do some in a highly professional and effective manner.

Sourcing Contractors

As well as communicating with contractors who you have enlisted the help of, sourcing them in the first place is one of the key functions of a lettings agency. This is yet another example of an administrative task that can easily be carried out by virtual personal assistants and call handlers, who you can outsource to at an affordable price. Taking the pressure of yourself when it comes to day to day time consuming tasks like this, allows you to focus on those which require your expertise and are more profitable, such as creating property advertisements or handling tenant disputes in a way that boosts your reputation as an agency.

Letting New Properties

This leads me to our final point. Lettings can be a frustrating field to work in, as there are so many distractions for agents that stop them from being able to grow their business. Outsourcing these distractions means that you can finally concentrate on key areas such as client acquisition and portfolio growth which, in turn, lead to more of the same.

Figures from UK Finance show a recent 12% drop in Landlord purchases, meaning that there is even greater competition to be the agency of choice now. It’s time to start thinking outside the box and considering outsourcing to give you that affordable, helping hand. Whether you need virtual personal assistants, call handlers or live chat agents, getting in touch with Cymphony today could help take your business from strength to strength.

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