I went out to a rental valuation a few days ago in Parkhall, Walsall and, as I always do, did my preparation on the property, the area and suitable tenants. I introduced myself but, before I could begin speaking, he said “How much then? What are your fees?”. Now don’t get me wrong, the subject comes up pretty much most of the time but not usually that quickly!
It got me thinking about landlord fees and how landlords perceive agents. Lots of agents advertise ‘Free fee deals’ – we have in the past! Do they work? No! But why don’t they?
Well, at my local Sainsbury’s on Reedswood Way – Walsall they often give out free cubes of cheese. Does that help sell more cheese? I doubt it! ‘Free’ is a fine way to grab attention, but more often, it’s the wrong sort of attention. How many times have you taken the free sample from the supermarket and gone on and bought that product…?
When I discuss our fee packages with potential landlords, they always ask “What do I get for that and is it worth it?” The shoppers at Sainsbury’s who munch four pieces of cheese aren’t asking that question. When focusing on free, the ‘worth it’ question never comes up, because when seduced by the zero price alone, we fail to answer the question about worth or value.
In a recent meeting with staff, a new employee asked me “How can some agents in Walsall charge such a small fee for a fully managed service?”. “It depends on your definition of a fully managed service” I replied with a wry smile!
So, is a cheap as chips or non-existent fee at the forefront of a landlords mind? No, it’s not! I can put my hands on lots of independent reports from lots of property experts, where thousands of landlords are surveyed each year, and each year, only 3% to 5% landlords want the cheapest fee…most want the best value fees…and value is measured when someone says, “What do I get for my money?”
So Mr and Mrs Landlord, if you have a rental valuation always ask the question; “What do I get for my money?” Even ask your existing agent the same question when your current tenant leaves because; let’s face it, that’s the ideal time to switch!
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