How Will the Lettings Sector Change After the Pandemic?
It is fair to say that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed most aspects of how we live. Of course, the lettings sector is no different. We are in a very different position now than we were at the start of 2020 when we had no idea how the world would shift.
But it doesn’t mean that everything will go back to how it was after we are all vaccinated and we have driven the number of infections down. In fact, the lettings industry can learn from the experiences of the various lockdowns and come out of this even stronger than before.
Which changes should we take on board though? Here are some ideas about how the lettings industry will change for the better when the pandemic is over.
More Virtual Viewings
As soon as we locked down and social distancing came into force, letting agents had to think on their feet about how they could carry on their work. Taking tenants on guided tours of properties in person was just not safe, but people have to live somewhere, so they needed to be able to assess a home before signing on the dotted line.
Many letting agents started offering virtual viewings to renters, using modern technology to guide them through properties remotely. This proved incredibly popular and could continue after the pandemic.
Of course, renters often want to experience the property for themselves, check out the location and the local amenities, but virtual viewings could work as part of a vetting process from both sides. Rather than waste time travelling after a long day at work to see an unsuitable property, the tenants can take a look around from their phones and make sure it is worthy of further consideration.
The benefit for the letting agent is that they are now a much better lead because they have already seen something they like in the property and are keen to find out more. With this mutual benefit, virtual viewing is here to stay.
Another outcome of the pandemic has been the will for security. Many renters on short term lets struggled during the pandemic as it became more difficult to up and leave to another property. It would not be a surprise if tenants looked to sign up for longer-term, more secure lets following the end of restrictions.
The one thing we have all been missing in lockdown has been stability and a long term rental provides that for many tenants. Letting agents and landlords will have to be ready for this shift and prepared to offer these products to their customers to continue to remain competitive.
Provision for Home Working
Another gigantic shift in the way we live and work has been the growth of home working. Everyone who could work from home was encouraged to do so at the height of the pandemic, and many of these people are unlikely to return to the dreaded rush hour commute.
Of course, there are plenty of workers who are itching to get back to the normalcy of the office but expect to see large amounts of people working from home at least some of the week after this is all over.
For landlords and letting agents, this means you have to sell a property to a tenant bearing in mind they might need to work there. Whether that affects the way you set out the furniture on viewings, or how you use the space in general, a lot of tenants will want to know that they can comfortably spend the day glued to their laptops and carrying out their tasks.
You might also want to reconsider tenancies in which the landlord foots the electricity or gas bill, with usage in the home likely to spiral upwards thanks to remote working.
Increased Importance of the Letting Agent
Letting agents have always known how important they are, but this pandemic has proved it to the wider world. With emergency changes to the rules on evictions, guidance on when you can perform maintenance, changes to the way viewings are handled and more, landlords have relied heavily on letting agents being the source of up-to-date information that directly affects them.
Many landlords do not have the time to keep on top of the fast-moving details, so letting agents have been vital during this time. They have also had to take on the role of mediator between landlords and tenants in some cases. Where tenants have been unable to pay rent, for example, letting agents have had to keep the peace and facilitate communication to keep relations friendly and professional.
Any landlords who might have previously thought about going alone might now reconsider. If something similar happened, without a letting agent, they could be lost.
Property Management Help
With the amount of work required of letting agents, outsourcing your property management services is a great way to ease the pressure. We have two different packages available that will help free you up to build your business, rather than have to worry about admin, maintenance and other property management issues. Contact us today to chat about your needs.