Frequently Asked Questions
We realise that there may be several questions in your mind. For that reason we have listed below the questions we are most frequently asked by those who wish to become a letting or estate agent, together with our answers.
How can Southcourt help me start an agency ?
The same way we have helped hundreds of other successful letting and estate agents! Our business plan, or business model if you like, is based on methods learned in setting up and running our own London based agency, together with our 50 years of combined experience in the property industry. Our comprehensive step-by-step Letting and Estate Agency Training & Operating Manual is divided into 24 clearly laid out sections, and takes you in detail, in practical and operational terms, through the full Agency procedures, from when the telephone first rings to when a tenancy ends. We explain our tried and tested systems, reveal trade secrets and our essential Top Tips, and describe the most effective and successful practices and techniques in use in the business today.
We provide a winning combination of practical, marketing, legal and back-office know-how and guidance, backed with our support, designed to enable you to quickly establish and run your own successful Letting Agency Business or Estate Agency Business. Completely up to date and using the latest technology and innovative marketing methods we explain how to quickly establish a new letting agency business or estate agency business whilst spending very little on advertising.
In addition to our comprehensive manual we also provide all necessary forms, legal documents, standard letters, powerful software, a professional property website, ongoing support and an update service.
Can I start an agency from home?
Yes, you can enjoy all the benefits of working from home including minimal overheads, flexibility and convenience.
Many people run a home based estate agency or home based letting agency these days.
Your website will be your shop window, and we provide a choice of professional and modern websites which will give you the right image from the word go.
You meet landlords and tenants, vendors and purchasers at the properties concerned, so you’ll never need to invite callers to your home.
Documents can be delivered personally or by mail, and you can use online signing services for electronic signatures.
You could if you wish start an online letting agency or online estate agency and cover a wider area.
In fact, we already run various operations for nationwide online agencies who wish to target a large area. Contact Us for more details.
How long will it take to get my agency started ?
You’ll need to read the first few chapters of the training/operating manual and documents, and carry out some local research and other preparations. Then, when you are ready, you can launch your new Estate Agency business or Letting Agency business with our ‘Boost-Start Action Plan’.
You can be up and running in about a week if you wish. If you decide to take our Platinum Package or make use of social media for your letting agency or estate agency, you will be able to get started very quickly and accelerate your growth, as the power of social media in generating new leads and valuations is unprecedented. Ask us for more information on our social media management services.
Do I need special software to run my agency ?
Specialised software simplifies the admin tasks and frees up more time for other tasks, but it’s not strictly required. If you neglect to use it from the start, it doesn’t matter hugely, but you may be missing out on its many benefits. With the Southcourt Complete Agency Business Package your Agency business can be computerised and systematised from the word go, because we include a variety of different software choices.
Are there any limits on the support?
Our telephone and email support for new start-up agents is free and unlimited. Simply contact us with anything you don’t understand or get stuck on. This is an invaluable part of our business package, and means that you have full access to professional advice and guidance whilst studying, setting up and in the early days of running your business. Although you will be independent, you will not be alone!
How does a letting agent collect their fees?
In the letting agency industry all fees are deducted at source, and you’re paid immediately – there’s no need to send an invoice and wait for payment. Tenants pay their fees before they move in, and you deduct landlords’ fees and commissions from rental before you pass it on to them – we show you how. Therefore bad debts or cash-flow problems simply do not occur.
There are several agents in my area already, is this a problem?
Quite the contrary. Existing businesses are a healthy sign, and indicate an active market. This is an expanding business, so there’s always room for a well-informed newcomer. We show you how to ‘tap into’ the existing market, and exploit advantages which you will have over other agencies. Remember that you need only a very small percentage of local trade to produce excellent results for yourself, and if you’re working from home you’ll have an immediate advantage over traditional agents.
What about other income potential?
Your influential position as a letting agent, property manager or estate agent will enable you to enjoy several lucrative offspins which we explain, including how to receive consultancy payments from other agents, contractors and financial advisors legally and without effort – this knowledge alone is worth £1000’s.
You will also be in a uniquely advantageous position if you wish to ‘buy-to-let’ – you’ll often hear of investment property available at below market prices, and of course you’ll be in an ideal position to ‘skim off’ the best tenants. If you choose, you will find it easy to diversify into other property related services e.g. inventories, financial services, commercial lettings, business transfer etc.
Will I find the information easy to follow?
If you find these pages clear, you’ll have no problem with our Complete Business Package.
Although it’s very comprehensive (the contents list of the main manual extends to 8 pages), everything is clearly laid out, with cross-referencing throughout.
We concentrate on practical issues, explaining exactly what to do, and how and when to do it, and have kept theory and law to the minimum we consider necessary. You’ll find the Section headings and some of the topics covered on our Lettings and Estate Agency Manual page.
What about start-up costs?
We developed the cost-effective Southcourt Complete Agency Business Package in order to provide a much-needed alternative to the high start up costs associated with an estate agency franchise or indeed a letting agency franchise. Once you have your Southcourt Business Package and property website, assuming you are working from home or an existing office, you should be up and earning without spending much more at all. In our manual we explain several very effective methods of locating and signing up local landlords (for your letting agency) and vendors (for your estate agency) without spending a penny on advertising, and finding tenants and buyers is even easier.
Our most effective methods are virtually cost-free. We also include promotional material. You will of course need a couple of essentials such as a computer and printer, a telephone, a digital camera, a clipboard, and a pack of white office paper.
Why do you offer a low cost Business Package rather than a franchise?
Many people are interested in starting an estate agent business or starting a letting agency business, but are either unwilling or unable to commit to the high cost and ongoing commitments and tie-ins of an estate agency franchise or letting agency franchise.
There are others who simply wish to add a letting agency business or estate agency business to an existing concern, for whom a franchise would not be suitable. For example a mortgage broker, shop owner, builder or cleaner can easily add an agency business to their existing concern.
Our Complete Agency Business Package is also ideal for the independent minded property investor or do-it-yourself (diy) landlord.
It is for the benefit of all of these enterprising individuals that we have chosen to offer an affordable and highly effective alternative to a letting agency franchise or an estate agency franchise at a fraction of the cost.