Every month, we take 5 mins to ask a lettings sector expert 5 things. This month, we’re delighted to have Paul O’Shea, owner of Paul O’Shea Homes & Director at Fine & Country Croydon, give us his time and insight. With a wealth of experience in the industry, Paul has some fantastic points to make…

Q. Hi Paul! So, you are our June expert and we can’t discuss lettings in June 2019, without discussing the Tenant Fee Ban. How do you feel the sector has responded in this first month under the new legislation?

A. It’s been a positive response, we have seen an upturn in new lets being agreed this month for the obvious reason that tenants who were in the know about the ban had, it seems, been waiting for it to come into effect.  For that reason we did see a slow down in new lets being agree from around the middle of May.

Q. Interesting, thank you! And what do you think this means for the sector has a whole? Where do future revenue streams lie? 

A.I view it as a positive development. Prior to the change, this was an ancillary cost to the tenant that they had little influence over. Now, irrespective of whether these costs find their way back to the landlord, or the agent, or somewhere in-between, it will bring more focus to these costs. More focus will lead to more transparency and ultimately more competitive rates. It’s a new factor landlords will be mindful of when selecting their agent and it’s an opportunity for us, as agents, to differentiate ourselves.

Q.Great thank you. In addition, this month has also come with its fair share of political disruption and will ultimately result in a new Prime Minister for the UK. What impact do you think this uncertainty is having on the property market and how can agents manage it? 

A.Political uncertainty has already played a major role in the market conditions in the first quarter of the year, in the lead up to Brexit the sales market was practically grinding to a halt whilst people waited to see what was going to happen.  Since then April and May were very busy, viewings for April & May were up by 20% compared with February & March, and the general feedback is that buyers who need to move are now just getting on with regardless of what is going on in the background.  I don’t see the leadership change to be as significant as a general election would be, but as we head to towards October we may see another slow down in September, which traditionally is a good month after things tend to slow down during the holiday season.  I believe the only way this can be managed effectively is by agents and vendors valuing realistically.  There are buyers out there and sales being agreed but only if the price is correct.  There is so much data available online now, coming to the right conclusion on pricing should be pretty straightforward for both agents and for vendors.

Q.Yes, we agree! Moving on to something a little more light-hearted then. We understand that as part of Fine and Country, you use ‘creative’ marketing techniques to attract property owners and buyers. What advice can you give to agents looking to be a bit more creative with their marketing?

A.I think it depends on the property in question as to which of the marketing tools you use.  We recently used a drone video for a house set in the middle of a park with is own 1.5 acre plot and the park surrounding it, so the drone video was perfect for capturing one of the main features of the property.  We have experimented with paid for advertising on social media and had a good response.  I also really like the 3D virtual tours that  Matterport do.

Q.That’s a really good one! Thank you for your time, now just last thing before you leave. We’ve been reviewing the strangest things we’ve found left behind in people’s homes, so we wondered, what’s your favourite anecdote from your time in the property sector?

A. Hmm i’m not sure if you really want to know, I think we could write a book on some of the things we see as estate agents.  I did have a funny instance a few weeks ago when a buyer called me in complete confusion about a huge plastic container with water in it in the loft of the property they had just bought, until I advised them it was the water storage tank.

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Huge thanks to Paul for taking time out of his schedule to do this for us. You can further connect with him via his LinkedIn page. And of course, if you want to work with an inventory clerks who truly understand the sector, get in touch with us.