Training and Operating Manual for 2019

This is a major part of our Business Package and consists of 25 sections, a total of 480 pages packed full of powerful and essential processes, marketing and legislation covering every aspect of the business

Easy to follow
Our step-by-step training and operating manual is an integral part of the Southcourt Business Package, and is ideal for home study. Written from our own experience as agents in the UK property capital of London, we provide the essential blend of practical, legal and back-office know-how and guidance necessary to set up from scratch and build your own successful Agency Business.

Comprehensive and complete
We cover the complete Letting and Estate Agency procedures, from when the telephone first rings to when a tenancy ends or a sale completes. We show you our tried and tested systems, reveal trade secrets and our essential Top Tips for success, and describe the most effective practices and techniques in use in the business today.

Boost-start marketing plan
Our innovative boost-start marketing plan lays out the most productive methods of locating and signing up both new landlord and vendor clients and also tenants and purchasers, with no advertising costs at all. And we explain how, with creative use of our proven USPs (unique selling points) together with an inventive pricing structure, you should quickly gain a healthy market share.

Well Organised
The manual is split into two parts, Lettings and Sales, and divided into 22 distinct sections, with a detailed contents list at the front so that you can instantly locate any specific subject. There is no need to read all of it to get started – just the first few sections. From there you can use the rest as a reference material.

Keeping Up To Date
Once you have your Business Package you can keep up to date in our Customer Support Portal where updates to documents, working practices and legislation is frequently posted. You can even sign up to our “Update Me!” service, where we’ll send you automatically any updates to your inbox.

And don’t forget, if there is anything you get stuck on, our new start-up agents have the benefit of unlimited telephone and email support direct to our main office, along with an Knowledge Base and lifetime access to our Customer Support Portal.

Contents List

Here is a more detailed list of the subjects we cover within the Training and Operating Manual, which forms part of the Business Package.

Part 1 – Letting Agency

Section 1 – Business Planning and Preparation

Overview of the rental market, recent developments

Planning for success – organising for a smooth and seamless start

Choosing a trading name, your business format, opening bank accounts, vat etc.

Organising communications, preparing the forms and documents

Key care, filing system, diary management

Business plan and cashflow forecast – forms included

Section 2 – Local Research of the Lettings Market

Researching your area through the eyes of a letting agent

Sourcing essential information including local rent levels, agency fees and charges

Specially designed research sheets included

Developing the right approach for your locality, defining your working area

Identifying and targeting the major sources of business

Learning from the competition, identifying their strengths and weaknesses

Section 3 – Marketing Strategy for New Letting Agents

Your Unique Selling Points (USPs)

Exploiting your natural advantages as a small and independent agent

Why competition doesn’t matter, and how to make it work in your favour

How to ‘manipulate’ your fees – less is more

Optimising your all important ‘telephone image’ 3 essential ingredients for success

Attractive incentives to offer landlords

Section 4 – Practical Marketing and Finding Landlords

The “Boost-Start Action Plan” – how to launch your business quickly and inexpensively Locating local landlords without advertising, including sources you never knew existed

Learn of properties becoming available to let – before they become available!

How to ensure you are the first and only agent a landlord instructs

Offer guaranteed rental payments to every landlord – we explain how

Simple ways to have tenants calling from day one

The most cost-effective methods explained – don’t waste money on the obvious

Optimising your printed message and maximising advertising response

Winning ways on the telephone – turning 80% of calls into cash

How other local agents can help your business

Using the internet to your best advantage

50 cost-effective ways to reach landlords and tenants – many completely free

Securing repeat and follow-up business, again and again

Section 5 – Taking on Properties and Meeting Landlords

The event sequence, choice of services offered

Types of accommodation, categories of landlord, importance of the agency agreement Visiting the property and meeting the landlord, proof of ownership

Impressing landlords and maximising your credibility as an agent

Secrets of instant and accurate rental valuations

Vital rules of salesmanship that could win or lose you business

Giving professional advice and answering queries – even with your first property

Important safety issues, about bedsits, HMOs etc.

Enhance your image and profits by offering extras

How to to guarantee the landlords’ rent without risk

Section 6 – Registering Tenants and Carrying out Viewings

Categories of tenants and those to aim for

Understanding tenants’ priorities and satisfying their needs

Qualifying the applicants, horses for courses – matching tenants to properties

Sensible security precautions when arranging viewings

Know the dynamics – maximum viewings, maximum lettings, maximum fees

The right and wrong ways to conduct viewings

Local Housing Allowance (formerly DSS) claimants, the procedures and risks explained

Section 7 – Pre-Tenancy Procedures

The sequence of events, taking precautions to avoid timewasters

Importance of the holding (reservation) deposit

Referencing (vetting) tenant applicants – several methods incl. the easy way

Which references are important and which are a waste of time

What to do and what to watch for, reading between the lines, applicant’s affordability Guarantors, credit checks, the other references, minimum requirements

Granting the right tenancy, about break clauses, completing the legal forms

Essential information about rentals and tenancy deposits

Unsafe practices and pitfalls to avoid

Company Lets, Holiday Lets, non ASTs,

Lodger Licences explained (agreements included)

Preparation of the property for letting, transfer of utilities,

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Handling clients’ monies and the tenancy deposit, money laundering regulations

Preparing the inventory & schedule of condition

Section 8 – Managing the Tenanted Property

The key to smooth property management – making 50 properties feel like one

How to check for compliance with safety legislation – and ensure ongoing compliance Checking the tenants into the property against the inventory

Processing of rentals – paying the landlord and yourself

Administering the client account, ongoing management procedures

Periodic inspections, rights of entry for agent and landlord, what to look for and what to do Arranging maintenance and repairs, eliminating minor repairs for the landlord and yourself Emergency action e.g. gas leaks

The correct ways to extend, renew or terminate a tenancy, statutory periodic tenancies

When and how to serve notices, rent increases, regaining possession

Importance of pre-checkout visits, checking the tenants out of the property – points to watch The right and wrong ways to refund the deposit

Landlords’ tax issues explained, overseas landlords and the CNR

Organising for success, bonus income opportunities you can exploit, easily and legally

Section 9 – Important Health and Safety Requirements

Essential knowledge and practical guidance on compliance with safety regulations

Including Gas, electrical, furniture furnishings and fire safety

Smoke detectors, general product safety, duty of care

The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

Compliance with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)

Section 10 – Troubleshooting Tenancy Issues

Effective handling of occasional problems, including

Dealing efficiently and effectively with late or non-payment of rent

Tenant causing nuisance or annoyance, criminal activities

Apparent abandonment of the property, tenant wishing to leave early

Landlord’s failure to effect repairs

When and how to use Section 21 and Section 8 to end the tenancy, other issues

Section 11 – Legal Knowledge for Letting Agents

The legal side simplified; we explain in practical terms the essentials of over 35 acts of parliament and regulations affecting letting agents and landlords.

These cover safety regulations and consumer law, through relevant tenancy law, the law of agency, lettings and landlord legislation, legionnaires disease precautions, deposit protection, through EPCs, HMOs.

They include the ASA requirements for letting agents to display their fees along with other highly relevant and up to date aspects of agency legislation – all covered in understandable language,

Section 12 – Maintenance of Tenanted Properties

How to spot and diagnose problems caused by damp in buildings, through condensation, leaking roofs, damp course breakdown, rising damp

Section 13 – Trade Services, Suppliers, Professional Bodies, Specialised Information

Specialised suppliers, products and services for letting agents

Tenant referencing and specialised insurance services

To Let board suppliers, professional associations and how to join one, sources of grants

Safety inspection contractors, specialised software, further studies, keeping up to date 8 sources of additional income for letting agents

Course examination – check your knowledge Further topics including holiday lettings, company lets, and lodger licences

Section 14 – Document Completion Examples and Standard Letters

Contracts, Letters, Terms of Business, Standard Forms – over 100 documents


Part 2 – Estate Agency

Section 1 – Business Planning and Overview of Estate Agency

Business Overview of the sales and estate agency market, recent developments.

Market size, facts and figures.

Planning for success – organising for a smooth and seamless start.

Redress schemes for Estate Agents.

The Business Opportunity.

Summary of main legislation affecting Estate Agents

Section 2 – Preparing to Trade and Local Research

Essential preparatory measures.

How to carry out and maximise the benefit of local research.

Careful thought about the legal status of your estate agency.

Keeping accounts, bookkeeping and systems and processes.

Choosing a trading name, a one-time process. Insurance, territory and bank accounts.

Setting goals for your new venture.

Practical marketing for your estate agency business.

Main industry and governing bodies.

Section 3 – The Estate Agency Process – A to Z

Vendors and their reasons for selling.

Variable property prices and how to profit from them.

Full process map and sales flowchart.

The survey and valuation of the property – an inexact science.

Identifying differing house styles during the valuation.

Taking great photography of your clients property.

Photographic techniques, lighting, cameras.

Declaring a personal interest.

Money laundering regulations.

Contracts, terms of business and estate agency fees.

Dealign with offers and negotiations.

Cash buyers, finance and “Caveat Emptor”.

The sale process and conveyancing procedure.

Pre-exchange of contracts.

Completion, charges and congratulations

Section 4 – Effective Negotiation and Sales Skills

How to maximise benefit to all parties.

Advanced negotiating techniques and building trust.

Effective questioning techniques and the power of listening.

Motivating yourself and developing self-confidence.

Body language techniques.

Section 5 – Business Management and Administration

Business Management Skills.

Lone Worker Safety – What does the law say.

How must employers control the risks.

How does this apply to estate agency.

Section 6 – Legislative Requirements for Estate Agents

Estate Agents Act 1979, scope of the Act.

Employees and controls on Estate Agents.

Special Commission Charges, Sole Agency, Sole Selling Rights.

Ready Willing and Able Purchaser.

Services Offered to Purchasers.

Time and Manner of Compliance Services. Requests by purchasers.

Notification of Offers Made.

The Act appears in 4 different situations. Agents duties to third parties.

Discrimination over services.

Misrepresentation of offers.

Client’s Money Accounts and Records Interest on Deposits.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Practices Regulations 2008 (CPRs) and Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (BPRs).

Origins of these Regulations and the Repeal of the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991.

Do the regulations apply to Estate Agents’ businesses?

Relevant Obligations Compliance, how to avoid breaches and best practice.

General Information regarding descriptions.

Control of Advertisements Regulations 1989.

Quick reference summary of main legislation covering Estate Agents

Section 7 – Trade Suppliers, Contacts and Organisations

Business Insurance, House Boards, Board Erectors and Manufacturers.

Professional Bodies for Estate Agents, Change of Address Services Company Formation Agents Etc…

The Importance of Keeping up to Date.

Section 8 – Forms, Documents, Standard Letters and Supporting Material

Over 100 Contracts, Forms, Letters and Documents all presented in Electronic Format so that you can customise them for use in your agency.

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