Frequently asked questions
questions that need answers
Frequently Asked Questions - Letting and Estate Agent Start Up
We understand that setting up a new business is sometimes a big step. Therefore, we’ve prepared answers to some common questions that we’re often asked.
Setting up a letting agency is probably new business area for you, and you may also be considering setting up an estate agency. For that reason we have listed below the questions we are most frequently asked by those who wish to become an estate agent or a become a letting agent, together with our answers.
We provide the training, online presence, and support required to set up a new letting agency or to set up a new estate agency. Our Business Package is based on methods learned in setting up our own agency in London, together with our 55 years of combined experience in the property industry. We provide premium step-by-step Letting Agent and Estate Agent Training & Operating Manual which is divided into more than 150 clearly laid out modules and sections, and takes you in detail, in practical and operational terms, through the full agency procedures. We explain our tried and tested systems, reveal trade secrets and describe the most effective and successful practices and techniques in use in the business today when starting a letting agent or starting an estate agents.
We provide a proven combination of practical, marketing, legal and back-office procedures and guidance, backed with our expert support. It’s designed to enable you to quickly establish and run your own Estate Agency or running your own Letting Agency Business. Completely up to date and utilising the latest technology and innovative marketing methods we explain how to quickly establish a new letting agency or estate agency business in the digital era, whilst spending very little on advertising.
In addition to our comprehensive training we also provide all necessary letting agent documents, estate agent documents, forms, legal documents, standard letters, a great software deal, a professional estate agent website, ongoing support and an update service.
As long-term members of The Property Ombudsman Scheme (TPO) we are committed to property industry good working practice, and thanks to our 55 years combined experience in the property industry, the last 25 of which have also included the training of new and existing letting and estate agents, you can be confident that you are in safe hands when purchasing the Southcourt Business Package.
No qualifications or licence are required if you’re operating in England. As a letting or estate agent you need to be comfortable dealing with people (both on the telephone and in person), ok with straightforward paperwork and computer use, and possess average common sense. Our comprehensive letting agency and estate agency training and operating manual takes you right from the start, and covers all necessary know-how, procedures, techniques, legal knowledge, and tricks of the trade in a step-by-step, easy to follow format. A letting or estate agency business is a true equal opportunity, and can be run by anyone, regardless of gender, age or nationality.
Yes, if you wish to start a letting agency from home you can enjoy all the benefits of working from home including minimal overheads, flexibility and convenience. In fact many people start an estate agency from home these days. Your modern website is your shop window, and we provide a choice of professional estate agent website designs which will give you the right image from the word go. You meet landlords and tenants, sellers and buyers at the properties concerned, so you’ll never need to invite callers to your home. Documents will be signed electronically or delivered personally or by mail.
In England no licence is required. In Wales, a scheme called Rent Smart Wales was introduced for both landlords and letting agents in Wales which requires them to become licensed. In England, you’ll need to be a member of a Government authorised Consumer Redress Scheme. It is easy to join such a scheme, and no exam is required. We recommend our new agents join The Property Redress Scheme (PRS), for which membership costs just around £95.
You’ll need to study the training/operating manual and documents, and carry out local research and other preparations. Then, when you are ready, you can launch your Letting Agency or Estate Agency business with our ‘Boost-Start Action Plan’. You can be up and running in about 2 to 4 weeks if you wish.
Specialised software simplifies the admin tasks and frees up more time for other tasks, but is not necessary if you’re setting up a new Letting Agency or indeed an Estate Agency. If you neglect to use it from the start, you may be miss out on its many benefits. With the Southcourt Business Package your business can be fully digital from the word go, because we include cloud based software as part of our packages. More here: Package Contents
Of course! Any serious business these days has its own website, especially a Letting or Estate Agency – it’s an important part of your marketing. We currently offer a fantastic deal on modern fully mobile friendly property websites, with a choice of clean, modern and easy to navigate designs in any colour theme you wish, free .co.uk domain name registration, plus free hosting, and email and backend software, and much more. Estate agent website – Letting agent website
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!
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 in our letting agent training. Therefore bad debts or cash-flow problems simply do not occur.
Letting Agents and Estate Agents are becoming busier than ever. The property rental market is enjoying steadily growing demand and supply. Everyone has to live somewhere, so those who cannot or do not wish to obtain a mortgage, and others who have their homes repossessed, become renters. Landlords and investors are always buying up properties to expand their portfolios. Many owners who are finding it difficult to sell are deciding to become landlords and let out their properties instead. All of which means more business for Letting Agents, and the continual turnover of property sales generates healthy commissions for Estate Agents!
We developed the cost-effective Southcourt Business Package in order to provide a much-needed alternative to the high agency start up costs associated with a 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 and property sellers 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.
The landlord is responsible for the expense of the upkeep of his property. Where you are ‘managing’ the property, you would arrange for a local tradesman to carry out any repairs, and deduct the cost from the monthly rental you receive before passing it on to the landlord. We show you the full process within our letting agent training.
If you follow our advice on selecting tenants, this is unlikely to occur. However, if it does, provided you have obtained satisfactory references on the tenant as we show you, you’ll be totally above criticism. Rent arrears are a risk that the landlord takes, not the letting agent, and you can offer the landlord/landlady rental guarantee insurance to cover such an eventuality. In the event of arrears there is a set procedure to follow which is quite straightforward, and fully covered in the training/operating manual.
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 estate agents (if you specialise in lettings), 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. estate agency if you’re only doing lettings, financial services, commercial lettings, business transfers etc.
Many people are interested in starting a letting agency or becoming an estate agent, but are either unwilling or unable to commit to the high cost and ongoing commitments and tie-ins of a agency franchise. There are others who simply wish to add an agency business to an existing concern, for whom an estate agent franchise would not be suitable. Our Business Package is also ideal for the independent minded property investor, someone who is already running a business which has a fair number of clients, 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 existing estate agency franchise.
If you find these pages clear, you’ll have no problem with our Business Package. Although comprehensive (the contents list of the main training extends to 10 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 Letting Agent Training page.