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articles > Using the Internet to Enhance your Property Business
Article > Using the Internet to Enhance your Property Business


Article kindly supplied by Upad.co.uk


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92% of tenant searches start online. It’s astonishing how quickly internet searches have come to dominate the lettings industry. Online advertising is no longer a luxury. It’s no longer an add-on from your favourite high street lettings agent. It’s the future of lettings and the best way to find a tenant. But right now, internet property search is incredibly fragmented with some huge portals dominating the space, and literally hundreds of smaller sites specialising in niches based on locality or type of let, e.g. student lets or house shares.

What the internet offers landlords above anything is the ability to access tenants who want the property they’re offering, without the requirement to contract with a lettings agent month in, month out. The cost savings are obvious. But equally, the whole internet sphere can look amazingly daunting – if you’re used to just handing the keys over to an agent and leaving them to get on with it, where do you start?

Firstly, there are the “big four” lettings sites – Rightmove, Zoopla, FindaProperty and Prime Location. Traditionally, these are the domain of the high street agent, as they don’t deal directly with private landlords. Online lettings agents like Upad can help here – we access these sites for you and advertise your property on them without requiring an ongoing management contract.

Are these sites enough? Their traffic is enormous – but results are surprising, as we find they supply only a third of our tenant enquiries. Around 100 medium-sized sites provide another third. If you’re lucky, a traditional high street lettings agent will list your property on these, and if you’re not, they’ll have restricted themselves to the “big four”.

Either way, they probably won’t be bothering with the 400 smallest sites that still provide the final third of our tenant enquiries. Though many agents don’t bother listing on these sites, you actually miss out on a huge number of enquiries if you don’t list on them. But in practice, nobody’s ever going to spend their time entering their details one by one into hundreds of tiny sites – and that’s again where Upad can help.

You only need to add the details of your property once; our technology then distributes them for you across more than 500 different websites, so reaching tenants wherever they’re looking becomes effortless for landlords. Our one-off fee of £59 covers all your listings, so maximising your exposure doesn’t cost anything extra: visit www.upad.co.uk to get started.

So far, that’s the traditional view of landlords and the internet – it’s all about the advertising. And if that’s the end of your interest, then fair enough. But some landlords have taken things much further, using the internet to promote their portfolios and to network with other property professionals.


If you have a reasonable-sized portfolio, setting up your own website can be a great way to promote your property for an extremely reasonable price. Though it may take a little effort to set the site up in the first place, once it’s there it becomes effectively free advertising for you. Once the site shows up in Google and other search engines, tenants looking for property to rent may find you with a targeted search: think about what your ideal tenant is likely to be looking for, and ensure that the right search terms (keywords) show up reasonably frequently in your site page titles and text. For example, if your portfolio is largely concentrated in one geographical area, the name of that area is crucial.

 


One landlord who’s really gone to town on his website is Nick Parkin from Pimlico-flats.co.uk. Nick’s site showcases his portfolio with great photographs, and highlights any available properties. And if you’re a tenant who searches for “Pimlico flats”, Nick’s is the first site you see pop up. Google might not pull in quite so many searching tenants as the huge property portals, but with internet traffic, every little helps: every browser on your site could be the perfect tenant you’re looking for.

If you don’t want to go quite as far as running your own site, there are still plenty of opportunities to network with other landlords online, to find support and advice from other people who may have dealt with just the same difficult tenants or tricky issue that you’re dealing with. Forums can be the most obvious place to ask for help from other landlords: Property Tribes (http://propertytribes.ning.com/) Singing Pig www.singingpig.co.uk/forums and Spotlight are three of our favourites.

There’s a thriving property community on micro-blogging site Twitter too. If you’ve yet to find Twitter (and where have you been?!), it allows users to post short updates answering the question “What’s happening?” Whether that’s sharing the latest “state of the housing market” article, asking for help with a tricky issue, promoting your offline networking event or your latest blog post, there are people there who want to listen to what you have to say, and share ideas. You can find Upad on Twitter as @jamesatupad and @avoidthevoids – we’re in good company, sharing the space with @nationalandlord (the NLA), @mpptdirectory (mypropertypowerteam) and @grantshapps (the Housing Minister).

The internet offers landlords a huge range of opportunities, some directly commercial and some less so. What you want to take advantage of will depend to a large extent on how much time you have to spend online: it’s easy to turn Twitter and forum posting into a full-time occupation!

 

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My Property Power Team recommends Upad, the UK's largest online lettings agent.

Upad sponsors of mypropertypowerteam

Upad's Rental Property Marketing helps you find a tenant for your rental property quickly and easily, by distributing your ad to over 500 top UK property websites. To find your next tenant CLICK HERE

Some Key Stats

* Upad.co.uk generates on average 14 enquires per listing.

* Upad.co.uk has built the largest rental property marketing distribution network in the UK

* Upad.co.uk has the largest database of private landlord customers of any online lettings business


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