Every month, we take 5 mins to ask a lettings sector expert 5 things. This month, we’ve chosen to shun Brexit chat and catch up with Jeroen Hoppe, property industry blogger and property developer, to talk to him about everything from social media to sell-to-rent.
Q. Hey Jeroen! First things first, recently The Negotiator published an article suggesting that social media might be pointless as a marketing strand for agents. What do you think? Is there value? And if not, what’s your top marketing tip?
A. I certainly think there is value in social media. It, however, does completely depend on your target audience. If you are b2b then no, it’s useless I feel, it’s much better placed with B2C products and services because the major consumers of social media are exactly that: consumers!
Q. That’s interesting! Now, sticking with the theme of marketing, it recently came to light that renters no longer hold amenities dear at the top of their wish lists, instead ranking food delivery services as a top priority. What advice would you give to agents and landlords looking to appeal to today’s renters?
A. Sadly convenience is the top priority for everyone these days, ignoring the long-term benefits of a balanced diet and the development of a valuable life skill: cooking! Jokes aside I do believe that landlords and agents would do well by optimising presentation upon showing the properties, be they occupied or not and this is crucially important for the marketing. There is a lot of property on display on the portals and you have a few seconds to make top impact on renters’ eyes – get them wanting your property. If there are underpants on display and toilet seats up it will not entice. Spring clean, clear surfaces and tidy everything, professional photography and a floor plan – these are a must these days to even compete. If you are not doing these things you will end up with a substandard level of enquiries, low levels of interest and hence small choice of tenant and ultimately rent levels!
Q.Thank you! Moving on now. On your blog you discuss ‘Sell to Rent’ as a more popular option to ‘Buy to Let’. Can you talk us through this and give us your thoughts on how agents should act in line with that?
A.I think it’s a very small proportion of the market, mainly speculators to be fair. I suppose when talking about £1mil plus homes a 3-5% drop is a considerable amount of money, yes. However when you factor in the time, effort and above all how someone owning a £1mil plus home would value their time the percentage of these that would go through the hassle of moving twice in a short space of time is negligible. Not a particularly profitable niche for estate agents at all!
Q. That’s really interesting. In line with that, we’re also seeing more and more big agency chains signing up to ‘alternative deposit’ schemes such a Reposit. In your opinion, what are the pros of this? And what should agents be considering?
A. I’m not a big fan of deposit alternatives myself; I’ve always used the deposit as a financial qualifier. If a tenant is good enough with money to have an adequate buffer to shell out a 6 week deposit whilst waiting for their old deposit to come back to them then that’s good evidence of financial planning. With these alternatives, it ultimately costs them more money (as with everything, lack of organisation costs you dearly). The main bugbear I have is that it takes away that particular financial qualifier for me hence I’m not a fan.
Q. Brilliant, thank you! Finally, as a Clapham and South London aficionado, tell us what we need to know about the South right now.
A. I invest locally as there’s always been a strong demand, and there’s no end to that really. Lots of gentrification to the Southeast and new transport links being built over the next few decades so the South has a lot going for it from yield as well as capital appreciation perspective.
A big thanks to Jeroen for taking his time to do this for us. You can further connect with him via his LinkedIn page. And of course, if you want to work with inventory clerks who truly understand the sector, get in touch with us.