It’s a widely held view that a good MA is more of an art than a science! I tend to agree but there are certain fundamental steps to follow which will give you a greater chance of success on a sales or lettings market appraisal. So…. the appointment is in the diary, you have the basic information about the property you are seeing – the location, size, the homeowners’ details etc……. what should you do next?

It’s all in the planning, do your homework!

Leave yourself adequate time to plan the appointment and gather necessary information before you leave the office for the appointment, half an hour or an hour might be necessary. The first thing to do is, based on the information available to you, to gather comparables – properties which you have let/sold recently which match as closely as possible the property you are about to see in terms of location, style, size, etc. Assess the current market for this type of property. How many applicants do you have registered who would be interested to view it? Check your database to get an accurate assessment. What is demand like at the moment? Is there an over/under supply of this type of property on the market? Gather your comparables, your terms of business and any agency brochures/ marketing materials you feel appropriate and set off in plenty of time.

Be professional and punctual!

Arrive punctually and well presented. Upon your approach to the property review the locality and external condition of the property. You should be assessing the proximity to transport links and amenities and overall desirability of the area. The first stage should always be a tour. During the walk-through it is important to give honest feedback about the finish and curb appeal of the property as well as your opinion on any improvements which may make it more marketable and appealing to the target market. Is there the potential to add extra value in future by creating an en-suite, adding an extension etc? You are now ready to present your comprables to the client. Make appropriate price adjustments between the comparables and the property you have just reviewed in terms of the finish, configuration etc. Talk through any other factors which may have a bearing on the price including the market conditions you assessed in the office. You should then be able to make an informed and professional recommendation about the asking price/rent. If you need to do any more research back at the office before making a conclusion then explain this and arrange to call the client later/the next day. Your diligence will be appreciated!

Listen!

What is the priority for the prospective client? A quick sale? Long term tenants? Listen and understand any preferences, priorities and opinions. You may need to adjust your pricing advice and/or marketing strategy accordingly.

Know your services, sell your credentials!

Tell the client about your recent successes. Show enthusiasm and explain WHY you are the right agent for the job! Remember to mention if you belong to a trade body and which redress scheme you belong to. Give information on the number of applicants you currently have registered in the price range as well as how you would suggest marketing the property. Of course you must also be clear about your fees and what your services include. When quoting fees remember they must include VAT. Discuss any legal requirements and necessary consents which the client may not be aware of. This is especially important with lettings where there are over 160 pieces of legislation affecting the sector and the novice landlord may need some help!

Conclude and follow up

Agree the next steps with the prospective client and ensure you follow through with any actions that are agreed. Hopefully this will include agreeing the terms of a well-deserved instruction!

Caroline Kenny AssocRICS DipRLM FARLA(retd) is a freelance residential lettings consultant as well as a Business Development Consultant to the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) caroline.kenny@ukala.org.uk.

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