Lettings IS the new sales

Wednesday, March 02, 2011 by Ed Mead

Back in 2008 when sales volumes dived many agents had a two pronged attack to stay afloat. Most slashed staff numbers, and if they didn’t have a lettings side they rushed to start one. If that lettings operation hasn’t flourished it’s likely they’re going to rue the day they didn’t concentrate more on it. With sales volumes around our ankles and the English Housing Survey last week claiming there are now 40% more of us in rented than there were 5 years ago, and that that number set to climb, rentals will supplant sales in terms of income generation. The main driver was lack of mortgage finance and given that for the life of me I can’t see this changing in the near future surely that rented figure must rise very significantly. So any estate agency without a solid rentals base is going to be in serious trouble very soon. Rules are being tightened for landlords and tenants but redress is still not a mandatory requirement for lettings agents and with money being handled the opportunities for fraud continue to pile up and seem likely to increase. Never has the need to have a good agent to handle your rental, and this applies to landlords and to tenants, been so great. Having watched as a friend’s son on gap year was ripped off trying to secure a flat in Sydney by some indescribably grubby Nigerian scammer it’s equally tempting to save money, again either as a landlord or a tenant, by cutting out agents, but it’s a false economy.

It appears likely that rentals will stay in the ascendancy for maybe a couple of years, so if you’re thinking of renting out your property to take advantage, or thinking about renting yourself, please, just use an ARLA registered agent and save yourself 99% of the hassle.