Staying Positive In Lockdown For Landlords - Optimise Your Situation .... And Improve It!

Welcome to my latest blog post. Here are some more thoughts on ways you can stay positive and keep your business on track during the Coronavirus pandemic.

It’s difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel as yet. So the idea that you can optimise and actually improve your situation may seem odd. But there really are things you can do right now.

How about this for a start?

In recent posts I’ve looked at new ways of working. Here’s one more you could try:

Look at new ways of marketing your property

Hopefully it won’t be too long before the market gets going again. So this is really relevant if you have a vacant property, or soon will have. But it has long term benefits too. If you get things set up now it could save you time and money every year going forward.

The conventional way of letting a property is to carry out viewings in person – often to many, many applicants before letting to one. But that’s becoming a really outdated way of working. Today people are researching and buying more online and that’s a trend that’s emerging in property too.

So how could you join in on this trend?

London Bridge and London skyline

Create a video tour for your properties

Video is only going to get bigger.

Think of it this way: When you create a video tour you only have to do it once. Yet it can be shown to many, many potential tenants. It can save you hours of time and hundreds of pounds on every single letting by slashing the number of personal viewings you do.

So how do you create a video tour?

There are videographers who can do this for you, at a cost. But if you have a camera or phone and a little technical aptitude you can create video tours yourself.

By using your phone you can film your property and edit it using an app like Adobe Premiere Rush or IMovie(for iOS). You can then post it on a video sharing site like YouTube or send it to prospective tenants. For a more professional-looking video tour try Google’s Tour Creator.

Offer viewings using live video

Live video viewings for property could be a contact free way of letting a property, so ideal for right now. But they could be massive over the next few years, especially as 5G becomes more widespread.

Live video viewings can be instead of video tours or to supplement them. You can just reserve video tours for your preferred applicants, or you can broadcast them live via social media at a given time for all prospective tenants to watch.

Video has other potential uses too. You can use it for inventories, to get quotes for repairs or renovations, or ask for video viewings of properties you want to buy.

One to one video viewings could be as simple as a WhatsApp, Facetime or similar video call. These are widely available and easy for most people to pick up and use.

It’s fair to say that as broadcasting live video to many people at once is fairly new you’ll probably need a bit of technical know-how to do this. But there are apps that can help you create and stream live video including via your social media. This article from Practical Ecommerce is a good intro.

Look at new markets you could get involved in

Your property is an asset. Right now could be a good time to stop and think how that asset is working for you.

This will be especially important when lockdown ends. New markets and new types of tenants with new requirements may emerge, while old markets may decline.

So give some thought to new markets you could get involved in. Temporary and short term lets could be one such market. For example to those who need to isolate, or key workers who need to move around the country.

Thinking a little further ahead, as lockdown eases, certain markets will start to move faster. The construction industry is already starting to get back to work. Students will need accommodation for September. People who have paused job moves will be moving again.

You can start marketing to these markets right now using contact-free methods such as video. (Just remember you’ll probably still need to practice social distancing and offer contact-free check-ins and service to tenants too.)

Castle like building with grass

Analyse your property business

Analysing the financial health of our business is something we should all do from time to time but often neglect. So now is a very good time to take stock. Again, the market is likely to change post-virus. So having a good understanding of where your business is at now will help you prepare for the future.

Here are some things to look at:

  • Your rental income, and your return on investment.

  • Your expenses. How much it costs to run your properties.

  • Your tax liability. And how tax efficient your business is.

  • Your finance costs. Remember, if you have variable rate mortgages you could well be paying over the odds.

While all landlords want to balance the books the current crisis adds another dimension. By keeping your expenses and mortgage costs in check, and being tax efficient, you can keep your rent competitive, keep your tenants happy and still look after your own bottom line.

You can analyse your property business with good old number crunching using a calculator or spreadsheets of course. But PaTMa Property Manager does this all automatically for you: Once all your rents and expenses are entered PaTMa can provide great insights into how your portfolio is performing. You can see what your property is earning and what it is costing, see profit and loss, and see where savings or improvements could be made. All the data you need is presented in clear formats, using easy to understand graphs and charts.

If you’re not using it already, here's more information about this and the other benefits of PaTMa Property Manager.

And here’s an article explaining 11 Ways Property Management Software Saves Time, Effort and Makes Your Landlord Life Simpler.

I hope you find these tips useful and that they’ll help you keep your letting business on track. Look out for my next bulletin coming up in a few days time.

PS. If you haven’t read my recent posts you might find these helpful too ....

In this post, Making The Best Out Of Staying In And Working From Home I explore some new ways of working more productivity. There are also some useful contacts to help you keep informed on Coronavirus-related landlord issues.

In this post, Check Your Situation .... And Steady The Ship I look at how you can work with and look after your tenants, and how you can use your time right now to organise your business better.