6 ways to build up your property rental business

Private Property South Africa

Building up a rental “book” is a great way to increase and steady the cash flow in a real estate business.

However, many owners and principals don’t really know how to win more rental management contracts from landlords.

Here are some expert suggestions:

  • Tap into your existing network first. Probably the easiest and most cost-effective way to start building up your book is through the people you currently already have relationships with or come into contact with on a daily basis. “You should never be afraid to ask for new business or referrals to their friends or colleagues who may be struggling with a rental management problem,” says Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of SA’s biggest mortgage originator BetterLife Home Loans, “as you will often find it resolves a problem for them at the same time as it boosts your revenue.”

  • Put someone on the task full-time. If you want to increase your rental mangement book and thrive, you need a person who is permanently looking for new customers and keeping in touch with existing ones. The ideal person for this task is someone with sales and customer relations skills who is 100% dedicated to acquiring and retaining rental business.

  • Build and maintain a database with the contact details of all your landlords, tenants, tradespeople, prospective investors, prospective tenants, past landlords, past tenants and past home sellers and buyers. Communicate with all these people regularly, perhaps via a monthly newsletter, and increase business by offering incentives for landlords to transfer other properties to your agency, incentives for referrals that lead to new business, and incentives for tenants who purchase a new home through your agency.

  • Use proven rental property management software. Rademeyer notes that there are several excellent systems available that will enable you to easily keep track of your mandates, deposits, rental payments, lease details and renewal dates, maintenance requirements and the profitability of your rental book. Some will even enable you to run credit and tenant history checks on potential tenants, and generate standard lease and other documents that are regularly updated and fully legally compliant.

  • Reward any of your own team members who bring in new rental business, such as an agent who has just sold an investment property to a landlord and persuaded him to let your company manage it. You should also ensure that your sales staff always have your rental management marketing material on hand.

  • Advertise your rental listings everywhere - including local noticeboards and smaller newspapers as well as the classifieds in bigger papers and online through all the major property portals. And, says Rademeyer, you should not forget to work on your own website so that when tenants (and landlords) visit, it is attractive and easy for them to find the information they require, including your contact details. “These days, it is also increasingly important to ensure that your site is mobile-friendly, because most people now access the internet via their smartphones.”


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