We would like to take a moment to explore the commonly held belief that using Rightmove is an absolute necessity for successfully letting properties. To be quite blunt, it isn’t.
When Platinum first opened its doors and expenditure was tight we didn’t use Rightmove and still let properties quickly to good tenants. We then, as we grew, adopted Rightmove. Over 4 years ago, after another substantial cost increase from Rightmove, we took the decision to complete a costs/lead analysis on the portal leads we were receiving and discovered that, in reality, we didn’t need Rightmove as a letting specialist and therefore dropped the portal to minimise the inevitable pass on of costs to our clients.
Did you know that Rightmove’s prices, on average, in 2023 are £2,500 per month for a small single branch agency? If we, on average, marketed 15 properties a month to let that’s approximately £166.50 per client/property marketed.
Do we still successfully let homes? Yes, we wouldn’t be in the position we are now if we didn’t! Do we need Rightmove to do so? No. Do we want to let homes quickly? Not necessarily, because, in the case of letting properties, quickly isn’t always best. Do we want to find quality tenants in a timely fashion using our extensive qualification process? Yes, let’s be honest, it’s how we earn money, when properties sit empty they make us no income either!
We currently have a property on market where the landlord has directly marketed on Rightmove to refer leads to us. We have had a fair few Rightmove enquiries, 4 after one week on the market, but not one of them has passed pre-qualification to meet the criteria the landlord is seeking to let, which is simply further proof that, whilst Rightmove might provide leads, there are of no greater quality of leads than any other portal.
We have also, in the past, listed properties in excess of our original valuation. These have gone on to be listed with agents using Rightmove, one was reduced to our original valuation before being let and the other spent 6 weeks on market before being let (then the tenants would need time to be referenced and move, that’s the cost of a full month and a half’s empty period to recoup that wouldn’t really be necessary if pricing correctly from the outset.
Also, on valuation, we lost a property to an agent using Rightmove due to a higher valuation, this property is due to now come back to us for listing as it has been reduced to our original valuation and the client has had little to no interest.
This provides concrete evidence that correctly pricing properties is a key factor in determining success in finding quality tenants quickly before the property becomes ‘stale’ on the market, not the use of Rightmove.
Different Methods to Let…
We have traded successfully in the area for over 10 years and boast a highly experienced team with few problems thanks to our diligent management. As such, we possess a deep understanding of the local market, trends and target demographics.
We actively seek out potential tenants through various channels, including direct marketing, referrals, social media (which is becoming more and more popular) and our extensive network of contacts, tailoring the approach we adopt to each property, its unique selling points and target audience. These strategies include professional standards of photography, engaging property descriptions, virtual tours, video marketing, social media marketing campaigns, AI imagery and offline marketing.
A good quality agent doesn’t just stick a property on the market with the portals and wait for people to come along an enquire, they actively seek to source enquiries from a number of different avenues utilising their skills and experience, then they drill down into the details behind those enquiries to ensure they are showing the property to the right people. We are of the firm belief that when portals promise and cost so much it can not only make alternative expenditure difficult as the budget is stretched already, but it can make agents lazy believing that listing it on a portal will simply get the desired end result without a great deal more effort being required.
We also continue to use Zoopla and OnTheMarket and find that, with the ‘Boycott Rightmove’ movement that many agents have now become a part of, more and more tenants actually register with and search on all three major portals. Zoopla and OnTheMarket also still represent excellent value for money in this marketplace with their offerings, which begs the question of why Rightmove needs to be so unnecessarily expensive and, as we see them announce record profits, it’s clear that they are profit, not service, led. Equally, at the time of writing this article, OnTheMarket have been bought out by the CoStar Group, which means the portal is likely to see massive investment into growth, development and reach in the coming year far outstripping that of Rightmove.
As mentioned above lead generation is also only a small part of the story, there is a big difference between lots of leads and drilling down into those leads to ensure the right, correctly qualified, tenants are identified and engaged in the lettings process moving forward to minimise potential long-term issues with rent payments or care of the properties.
We covered the topic of the importance of pricing your property correctly in a recent post about marketing your property. Experienced agents operating with honesty and integrity possess the market knowledge and expertise to accurately assess a property’s value and set a competitive market price. By analysing market comparables (being that which has actively let), local market trends and demand and providing you with proof of this at the time of our valuation we can ensure properties are priced correctly to attract quality tenants in a timely fashion.