Agents should be looking to the rental market to protect themselves against a drop in house sales, according to one industry expert.
With inflation on the march and mortgage rates rising, analysts are predicting a hard winter for the housing market and warning of worse to come.
HMRC has reported that the number of property transactions fell by a third in September and some industry watchers are predicting bigger falls next year.
While first-time buyers are likely to find it harder to get on the housing ladder for now, the rental side will undoubtedly benefit with even more would-be tenants chasing a limited supply of properties.
According to Neil Cobbold, managing director of automated rental payment provider, PayProp, a strong lettings portfolio can make the difference between thriving and failing during any sales downturn – so long as you have the right tools to manage it.
The right processes and tools
He says: “Having or adding a lettings department may add an edge of resilience to agents’ businesses by adding a predictable monthly income stream – especially when technology, such as PayProp, can improve efficiency and cut the costs of administration.”
“Investing in the right processes and tools will free up time to facilitate the provision of higher-value activities such as first-class customer service, as well as saving agents hours every week on admin.”
Cobbold argues that many businesses focused on sales would massively benefit from either scaling up their lettings offer or by starting one from scratch.
“It is likely that the rental side will become even busier than it is now, because those who thought they would be able to enter the market as buyers may find their pathway blocked by high interest rates,” he said.
Benefits for all parties
Traditionally, one of the biggest stumbling blocks for lettings businesses was admin. Managing a rental portfolio and solving issues for landlords and tenants isn’t for the faint-hearted. But according to Cobbold, what used to be one of the most time-consuming parts of the process is now a non-issue – so long as you have the right tech in place.
“Our clients are always telling us how many hours they save on payment admin every week once they start automating it with PayProp. They can’t believe they ever managed without it.”
PayProp automates the rental reconciliation process for an agency’s entire book in just a couple of clicks, then generates professionally branded statements and invoices to send to your landlords and tenants. If any rent payments are missing, sending out payment reminders to all non-paying tenants via text and e-mail is just a couple more clicks.
But as Cobbold explains, it’s not just agents who benefit. PayProp’s features help to build transparent and positive relationships between agents, landlords and tenants – an essential benefit in tough times.
“Features like our Tenant portal also save time for tenants, provide them with up-to-date information and allow them to control their payments, while our Owner app gives landlords visibility over the financial health of their rental portfolio 24/7. This massively improves communication and reduces the chances of any disputes occurring later on.”
“From the outset, this visibility and access to data immediately demonstrates transparency and this, in turn, generates trust – something agencies’ clients crave.”
“By no longer manually typing and sending messages via text or e-mail, agents don’t have to risk important information going missing or accidentally not being sent. This leads to frustration, resentment and, worst of all, wastes huge amounts of time.”
“Automated platforms, like PayProp, allow all communication to be tracked and audited, keeps tenants and landlords in the picture and, most importantly, enables agents to respond quickly. This is the beauty of a tech solution.”