Property Portfolios Can Spoil Holidays

by Mark Alexander

11:36 AM, 17th December 2011
About 8 years ago

Property Portfolios Can Spoil Holidays

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Property Portfolios Can Spoil Holidays

What could be worse than laying on a beach or sitting on a ski lift whilst trying to sort out somebody to go out to fix a tenants broken boiler, cooker, blown down fence etc. Portfolio landlords often prefer to manage their own property portfolio’s and this can be a real problem for them. The telephone bills can be astronomical and it’s not much fun either, especially if you are sitting in a cafe having to work whilst your partner is having to entertain the kids.

For this reason many portfolio landlords and their families feel tied to their portfolio’s and rarely venture too far. Many have striven for financial freedom but can’t risk taking it. I know of a couple in Stoke on Trent who are in exactly that position. They could easily afford to enjoy a round the world cruise and would love to do it but instead they choose to take their holidays in a caravan and stay in England where they can get home easily and sort out problems when they occur. It’s very sad in my opinion as they have worked hard all their lives and whilst they love their caravan and our wonderful countryside there is a whole world to explore. They have the money to do it too but they are totally committed to being responsible landlords.

This week Mary Latham was telling me that she had met with a company who had recognised a gap in the market for a portfolio sitting service for landlords.  Kind of like a baby sitting service but they’ve decided to call it “Kennels for Keys” based on the concept of finding a safe place for pets to say.  My marketing brain tells me that the name they’ve chosen isn’t the best marketing but I think the concept is fantastic. I prefer their existing business name “The Smart Alternative“.

The core of the arrangement involves short term crisis management whereby landlords divert their phones to the the letting agent and leave them with keys to their properties, a list of preferred contacts to fix any issues that arise and a budget. They charge £10 a week per property for the service which allows the landlords to get away with piece of mind. If problems do arise whilst they are away the tenants, the landlords and the agent each have just one point of contact to deal with. The letting agency takes all calls, advises the landlords of any issues arising, takes their instructions and then sorts the problem whatever it takes, leaving the landlords to get on with their holidays.

I’ve never had an issue with taking holidays myself as my whole family are into property and we tend to cover for each other whilst we are away. However, in 2012 myself and Svetlana intend to get married overseas and my family will obviously want to be with us. Needless to say, the Alexander family may well become one of this companies customers for a week or so next year. I can also see another advantage to the concept. It’s easy for people to get stuck in their ways and the thought of handing over the management of a portfolio to a third party is a daunting prospect. However, landlords who do it for a week or so and find that everything works out well might well decide to do it again and again and to realise that there is more to life than running a portfolio, especially as they get a bit older. I see good prospects for this firm if they can get it right as I can see they could well pick up the long term management of some very large portfolio’s when the landlords eventually decide to retire but don’t want to sell up completely for tax and other reasons.

The letting agents in question are business based in Birmingham and have recently taken a Gold Profile in our Property Services Directory, a link to which can be found by clicking here.



Comments

Mary Latham

12:49 PM, 17th December 2011
About 8 years ago

I never endorse a business or service but I do pass on to other landlords services that I think would help them to run their business and make like easier. At all of my seminars I tell landlords about Property118 because I really do believe that the concept of a directory where a landlord can find a good contractor knowing that other landlords have endorsed their service it brilliant for all of us. I also think that the quality if the articles related to our business are becoming an encyclopedia of must have information and a great place to air our views.

When I first met Julie Apps she was a landlord who worked part time for a good lettings agency and I noticed that she was at every meeting that I attended and was taking part in landlord steering groups and landlords fora. This is unusual for a landlord most of us only go to meetings that we think might give us information about our business. When Julie opend her agency Smart Alternatives I realised that she had been doing her homework and I really respected the fact that she had invested so much of her time to know and understand the market in her area of operation. It was not long before I realised that her homework had really paid off. Julie has identified what many of us need, she it not just a standard lettings and management agent, she has tailored her services to suit landlords and this sets her apart from her competitors. I think that Kennels for Keys is brilliant and speaking for myself it is a service that could have been made for me. I am very hands on and I really don't know how to let go and, as Mark says, enjoy the fruits of my labour. I will be using this service next year when I will take a holiday for the first time in 5 years and who knows once I do begin to let go I might even like it.

To be clear I have no commercial or other interest in Smart Alternatives and I only know Julie through the many meetings we attend at the same time. I expect that it will not be long before other agents copy Julies great idea but that will not worry Julie because she plans to keep her business exclusive and to ensure that she remains in control of the quality of the service that she offers.

Mark you are the Man when it comes to marketing and I am intersted to know what you might have called this service?

Mark Alexander

13:07 PM, 17th December 2011
About 8 years ago

I think they should stick with "The Smart Alternative" because that's exactly what it is.

14:43 PM, 17th December 2011
About 8 years ago

Mark and Mary - Thank you so much for the supportive comments. We do try and go that extra mile to help landlords!

Mark Alexander

15:01 PM, 17th December 2011
About 8 years ago

Hi Julie and welcome to property118. It didn't take you long to find that article 🙂

I've search engine optimised it too and it's already beginning to work. Bearing in mind I only created the article two hours ago I even impressed myself with this. I just Googled "the smart alternative for landlords holidays" and guess what came up?

Remember, the best way to attract new business from your Gold Profile is to get your existing clients to leave testimonials for you. You only need to see the comments that have been left already on this article which I wrote a few days ago to see this link for proof of that.

PS - remember that you and your friends can share this article via Facebook, email, Twitter LinkedIn etc. by using the "Sharing is Caring" buttons just below the article.

Mark Alexander

15:07 PM, 17th December 2011
About 8 years ago

PPS - this will really blow your mind, try these Google Searches:-

1) The Smart Alternative Holidays

2) The Smart Alternative Landlords

3) The Smart Alternative Property

Ian Ringrose

14:08 PM, 20th December 2011
About 8 years ago

I will often ask a programming question on Stack Overflow and then ask someone else at work the same questions, he will Google and claimed he found the answer on the internet, when in fact he has just found the questions I posted to Stack Overflow less than 2 minutes ago!

Google just keeps getting more amazing - to think we all thought a few years ago that the search market was owned by AltaVista with their 90% market share, just shows what a group a students can do when they find a better way of solving a problem!


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