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About MartinT81

  • Rank
    Registered User
  • Birthday 24/02/1981

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  • Location
  • Interests
    Music - play guitar when I can
  • Occupation
    Regional Property Consultant
  1. The upfront fee seems fair enough to me, at the end of the day the legwork getting things listed, visiting time, IT/Tech equipment required to get things online properly, subscription costs for the major property portals and all the associated legalities, logistics, staffing etc. do cost money. That said, asking for ALL of it upfront is as the earlier response says, why bother if they've got all your money already. We don't make anything until it's sold, so the other part of the fee is plenty of incentive as far as I'm concerned to get it sold, not to mention the pride in knowing that you've done a good job for a fraction of the price it might have been elsewhere. Splitting the cost upfront and at completion seems like a fair and sensible compromise as far as my customers are concerned. Good luck with the business model, we've been operating since 2006 with myself looking after this area for over 2 years now - there's way more competition now in low cost estate agency with a new name popping up every week as well as the usual names and corporate estate agencies looking for ways to get rid of agents charging lower fees. I think the key is still being realistic with your fees/costs and offering what the customer asks for, which is why I think we've been able to maintain and build a successful alternative for sellers. I've worked at other agencies where a culture of customer service would be way down the priority list behind the money coming in and whilst I accept it's impossible to get it right every time, it should be a goal to try and achieve it. Repeat business is crucial as far as I'm concerned, so better to be be open about what's happening and try to make sure any areas where people have had problems have been addressed. Our business model also relies on a lot of behind the scenes tech that saves our business time and money, which is also crucial to being able to offer low fees whilst still delivering the service customers expect, something that not all agencies have invested enough in either. ---------- Post added 18-08-2014 at 18:34 ---------- Geared - I'm always thinking the same about fees - surely why would anyone pay thousands yet the likes of Haybrook, Browns, Blundells have the market share in this area. I had a rental customer in for signing up who'd sold with a corporate agent charging nearly 2k - she'd had a fairly rough ride, nothing too sparkling in terms of service and I helped push the sale a bit because I wanted her in our rental property and needed a date for them moving. They were amazed (and gutted) that they could've had us do the same job for a fraction of the fee. Thankfully more people do seem to be doing a bit of online research now looking at reviews and costs before choosing now, I just wish more people would rather than accepting it'll cost however much they've been quoted.
  2. Fees are the main reason why I've found customers coming to me, but customer service and recommendation has helped to sustain and increase my business too. Opening hours... I receive emails at all hours of the day, I know I've even seen attempted calls in the small hours of the morning but they're usually enquiries about viewing a house or a question that'll be sent via an email, if it's a property owner that lives there, they're usually more than happy to fit in with whatever the viewer wants to do. I'd agree I found it hard work when I wanted to rent a house a couple of years ago, I found most estate agents wouldn't be available at any other time other than in the middle of the day in the mid-week which at the time was pretty useless to me, so for that reason I usually make myself available for such accompanied viewings towards the end or beginning of the day. (Ie 8am-6pm). If you wanted more coverage, the answer would probably end up being a bigger bill, I'm sure the estate agents that have 8 or 9 offices open on such a basis fully staffed probably need that kind of fee to cover their costs, one that I worked at on the high street some years ago needed 25k pcm just to cover their costs, (so we were told anyway). TBH - I don't think I'm worth thousands per house sale. As an example we sold a house in Broomhill recently for £600k in a weekend. Had she have used one of the usual names, she'd have paid a whopping 5-6k for the privilege. We took some decent photos, got it on Rightmove/Zoopla, buyers rang up after seeing it, we arranged some viewings within a couple of days and had it under offer straight away. Standard fee for that is £540 inc VAT from us, plus a few bits she wanted as extras (Virtual tour, Premium listing on Rightmove). Is that REALLY worth 1% and VAT?
  3. Hey - did you manage to find musicians? I'm interested in jamming with a band that is more alternative down the Pixies/Bowie/Pulp route - like Beta band too.
  4. There is a lot more, but certainly those are some of the main things. The course I did some years ago involved four modules with exams involving lots of important law related to lettings and property management - it wasn't easy and took quite some time to complete! Unless you have the time to invest in learning what's right and wrong, I'd ring a letting agent - most of us have had the training to keep landlords on the right side of the law and have all the resources to help to get your flat let out to the right person. If you're up for a challenge and want to do it yourself, it can take up a lot of your time and tenants will expect any repairs/maintenance issues to be attended to as quickly as possible, the money you'll save in fees might start eating into your time. Also, whilst most tenancies run smoothly, having one that goes sour can end up with a lot of time and money lost - the law is often on the side of the tenant and they'll be seen as the innocent party if something isn't done correctly.
  5. Yep - they're spot on and they're doing their job. The law is a bit muddy as far as certification goes for electrics but there's plenty of catch all statutory law regarding health and safety. Basically, treat it like a business premises - if the poor soul in there ends up being electrocuted, the first port of call would be whoever let the property and I'd expect it'd be a question to ask why wasn't it checked to make sure it was safe - the only person that can really certify it as safe would be an electrician or someone with the relevant qualifications to sign it off. It's for this reason I don't manage any property without certification being available, however more often than not the report comes back with a clean bill of health give or take the odd bit of remedial work, the most expensive and worse case scenario of which tends to be the consumer unit coming in around a few hundred pounds. As it lasts for several years, it's also cheaper than a gas certificate if you work it out over the full term. If you decided to sell the property, you'll find that most surveyors will recommend that the consumer box will need to be compliant too. I imagine it's only a matter of time before certification has to be put in place, unfortunately it'll probably be as a result of a major catastrophe in the media. Personally, I'd rather not have it on my conscience if I could have done something about it.
  6. syko1979 - it's tough unless you have the volume of properties to let advertised to generate enquiries. I've often been frustrated when landlords have decided to go to a bigger name on the basis that there are more of their boards about despite the fact they're often more expensive and aren't offering much more other than the brand the landlord recognises. An inventory clerk I use summed it up the other day by saying there are agents out there that do go the extra mile and make sure they are covered and know what they're doing, but it's hard to get that information out there to the prospective landlord. I'm always surprised that despite the amount of annoyance and bad feeling there can be towards the letting agent, many landlords accept it and don't move on - the same situation when selling a home usually results in the customer moving to another estate agent. I think it's fair to say that reputations are often deserved when it comes to letting agents, the last time I moved, it was near impossible to get a viewing at a suitable time, the agents more or less suggested they'd take the first applicant that applied for it which isn't always in the landlord's interest and what I did get to see was pretty shoddy for the most part - I suspect the landlord who had one of the properties I saw had no idea how bad the property was based on the photos I'd seen on the advert when it had been up for sale 12 months previously. To be frank, I ended up paying more than I wanted to initially after viewing a really nicely presented bungalow with an agent that was easy to get hold of and had reasonable application fees (£200+ per person to move in is a bit steep IMO). I'm still there now too, they're OK with maintenance issues and I gather they charge the landlord a reasonable price for their assistance. If I was choosing an agent personally I'd want: Staff that care about what they're doing - from both the tenant and landlord's perspective. Informative and can guide you through where to eliminate risks, making sure that the landlord knows and understands what they are responsible for, there's no reason why they shouldn't be signed up to some form of accreditation and codes of conduct with relevant bodies. Available to do viewings within reasonable timescales and to fit in with tenants where possible. Advertise on the major property portals. Decent photos and write up (Floorplans are useful too) They should look at the long term picture - IE not a constant turnover of tenants every 6 months unless it's a property where this cannot be avoided. The landlord should be able to make a choice to suit them if there are enough tenants to take the property. They shouldn't charge the earth for everything, costs should be transparent, reasonable and easy to understand.
  7. Recently used James @ Ace Electrical (07908 792465) a few times to do some electrical safety checks and updates bringing some rental properties up to current standards. Courteous, efficient and reasonably priced.
  8. This has happened to me this evening. My card didn't come out of the machine, money stayed in it and then a warning to suggest contacting the the bank. I've since spoken to my bank - whoever got my card managed to withdraw £300 from a Santander branch on Fargate and then went on to spend/get cashback in Asda (branch yet to be confirmed). Nice eh. I'd suggest getting in touch with the bank ASAP when it happens - they might stand a fighting chance of catching the culprits at it. I'm hoping reversing the money back to me is as straightforward as Santander have said it should be.
  9. Had Pennywise Cleaning from Ecclesall Road to clean a flat on Bramall lane for me last week. Brilliant job, Paul was pretty modest about how good it looked, the tenant I showed around later thought the carpets were new. Decent prices, friendly efficient service. Thanks guys.
  10. Just a q - love the idea, interested in coming - do I need to bring an amp or will there be something to plug into?
  11. Guitarist interested but will take on other instruments... 32 average ability, play by ear. No Hemdrix but love sounds and would love to get involved with a band.
  12. Hi Jade, sorry just realised you'd replied. I do have a link... look me up on Bandmix..http://www.bandmix.co.uk/misfitboy/ I did the guitar on this for a friend. I like your tracks and happy to help with your music. Thanks, Martin
  13. Just got off the phone from Dan @ Sheffield Property Maintenance - despite not being able to really beat prices due to logistics/travel distance etc, he was very helpful and have agreed that he'll be able to do some of the work for me - really nice guy and definitely one I'll be keeping the number for to use in the future. Still left with an issue here though... I have decorating of a flat and steam cleaning of 3 carpets required for a flat in S2 and a repair to bathroom sealant for a house in Barlborough required. Painters, decorators, handymen of Sheffield, Rotherham and Chesterfield required... In an ideal world where demands aren't suddenly put upon you, I'd have been able to plan for all of this months ago as it turns out most the people recommended on this forum are (quite rightly) very busy!
  14. A lower price doesn't have to mean that the service suffers in every case, our business model cuts out expensive premises, multiple small branches, expensive company cars, inefficient working practices, franchise costs and all sorts of other wastefull media. Having worked for 2 of the most expensive agents around Yorkshire (typically 12.5% + VAT for a management fee), I feel I offer the same if not more with Hatched for a fraction of the price. Believe it or not, but just before I left my previous employer, I recall being a request to buy some new key fobs (About £10 for 50 or thereabouts) to replace the confusing set of old renumbered fobs resulting in all sorts of problems. Refused because apparently we couldn't afford it... Despite having a fee structure with the most expensive at 15%. They sent me to a viewing with a property that had been vacated, final inspection had been "carried out" by a member of staff due to leave, he'd not done it, I ended up walking into a house with 3 months worth of filth, the tenants had already been given back their full deposit. Even if they had tried to claim for the landlord, the inventory (compiled by the letting staff) would have been useless for so many reasons. I could go on... but I left after 3 months, worst employer I've ever had to deal with, all this from one of the biggest estate agents in the UK and part of a group of several very well known names. Do your homework when checking out letting agents - do they answer your calls as a landlord AND as a tenant? Do they know about what's involved? What should you expect during the tenancy from them (ie visits to the property etc.), ask for ALL the costs. It's a massive trust issue and the amount of responsibility I feel as a letting agent for a landlord does weigh heavily at times, but there is a lot that can be done from the start to ensure the tenancy runs smoothly.
  15. Always have demand for rental in this area, usual rules apply though, needs to be clean, tidy and sensibly priced.
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