It may seem unsympathetic to discuss the positives that have emerged from a devastating pandemic, but there is no harm in appreciating a silver lining, however thin it may be. Huge credit is due to the industry, whereby Letting and Estate Agents have responded quickly to ever-changing circumstances and legislation, not only to survive but to thrive in these difficult times.
Personally, and professionally we’ve all had major changes forced upon us since the pandemic began; such changes have pushed us to do things we could have perhaps done a long time ago if we hadn’t been stuck in ‘this is how we’ve always done it’ mode.
Within the industry, we have seen some great examples of positive change as a result:
Digital signatures – The Land Registry have had digital signatures for transfers of ownership ‘on their radar’ for many years. As the pandemic began, this process was expedited in a matter of weeks! Here is hoping that mortgage lenders will follow suit to further streamline this process.
On a similar ilk, the number of Letting Agents now utilising software to digitise tenancy agreements, and allow for digital signatures whilst face to face contact is limited has increased tenfold.
Remote Viewings and Property Video Tours – Property video tours have always been commonplace in some niches (overseas students, overseas investors, etc), but rarely used within the rest of the industry. During lockdown and the socially distanced aftermath, government guidelines recommended that Letting Agents qualify potential applicants with a video tour to reduce the number of physical viewings and contact. Many of our customers reported that it was relatively straightforward to secure rentals using a video tour, and in many cases without a physical viewing at all!!
As we (hopefully) migrate through the latter stages of the pandemic, it is clear that utilising technology to provide video tours will become commonplace across the industry, for the first viewing at least, saving the Letting Agent, and the customer, a huge amount of travel and viewing time. These new ways of working have provided significant business efficiencies, whilst allowing resources to be focused on revenue-generating activities.
New Revenue Streams – Whilst cost savings and efficiencies have been realised across the industry, the current situation has led to fewer moves than the ‘norm’, especially during those periods of national lockdown. Letting Agents have been compelled into making better use of 3rd party relationships and outsourcers to drive additional revenue and reduce administrative tasks. Streamlining admin and improved business efficiencies should continue outside the pandemic, whilst also introducing additional revenue streams offered by those outsourced partners.
Making technology work for your business
At Tenant Shop we’ve remained as innovative and agile as possible, to ensure that our customers are supported throughout, with many new products and processes introduced:
- Digitised Opt-In Process for those agents operating remotely
- Webinar Training Sessions covering system use, changes in legislation, rent guarantee insurance products, practices, and process. Keep your eye out for our next ARLA webinar on 15th March
- My Credit Booster – Rent reporting to help tenants build their credit rating whilst introducing additional revenue to you
- Dynamic Referencing – A new innovative approach to referencing with highly competitive pricing and reward structure
- Protection Products created specifically for the rental market
- Monetisation of Tenants in Situ to assist your customers with an energy comparison through the winter months, whilst providing a kickback to you.
Increasing standards and exceeding expectations
Letting Agents, and other industry contributors should be rightly proud of the essential role they’ve played in keeping the country moving.
It’s been clear throughout, that not only have Letting Agents adapted brilliantly, but that many have intelligently used this quieter period to focus on essential CPD (continued professional development), further increasing the standards across our sector, and preparing effectively for RoPA. A huge accolade, given the turbulent year we’ve all had!
As always, if you’d like to hear more about any of our products or require additional support, however small, please contact our Client Engagement Team on 0203 823 9353.