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Moving with the times: A Movebubble guide to the modern-day lettings agent

22 March 2018 Simon Banks Read time: 3 min
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Simon Banks

In the olden days, the job of a lettings agent was primarily 9-5. You would take a few enquiries, either by phone or email (yes, emails are so old now that we’re counting them as olden-day contact methods) and set up a viewing.

On the viewing, you’d do your bit to sell the viewer on the property. Perhaps mention the abundance of natural light, or how the small kitchen isn’t tiny - it’s snug. An offer might come in, which you would then put to the landlord.

A deal is agreed, and commission in the pocket just in time for 6pm drinks.

How those days have changed.

Renters don’t merely look for somewhere to live; they search for a home, a place that they can mould into their own. In today’s world of renting, a lettings agent needs to be much more than a negotiator. Their job role requires being a consultant, local area expert and always accessible.

Always there when you call
Illustration of lettings agent running to a home

The typical 9-5 structure hasn’t aged well. It certainly doesn’t lend itself to the lifestyle of most renters. Rent doesn’t pay for itself, which means the majority of tenants need to work - and they need to work during, well, working hours.

Finding a new home isn’t easy, and home searchers often find themselves talking with multiple agents throughout the day trying to arrange viewings. The first port of call of a lettings agent is their accessibility.

It’s not simply a case of being available during working hours; the best agents are always on call. From personal experience, the last place this Movebubbler rented came about because the agent was available to answer questions. 8 pm on a Sunday, they were available. 10 pm on a Friday, they were there.

Up to 70 percent of interactions now take place outside of working hours, so lettings agents are best advised to keep up with the changes and become a round-the-clock agent.  

Response time




An agent’s accessibility leads nicely into their response time. We’ve looked at the importance of lettings agents being available day and night, but how long they take to respond is also vital.

If a tenant asks a question about a property, they don’t want to wait a day for a response - especially in the fast-moving world of lettings. Of course, a lettings agent needs to lead a personal life too, but the majority of renters are respectful.

Most of the questions asked only require a short answer or update - usually via a quick text message.

Keeping it all under one roof
Illustration of a house

As touched on earlier, if you see five properties that you’re interested in, keeping up with each lettings agent can be time-consuming. This is where (plug alert) Movebubble comes into play. By using the Movebubble app, renters can communicate with different agents under one roof.

It’s why forward-thinking negotiators are using the app, providing an extra layer of customer service to their clients. If an agent can make the lettings process seem more seamless for tenants, the overall service is improved upon.

Make the process clear




In the past, some lettings agents have been labelled with a reputation for doing anything they can for their commission. It’s a small minority but only takes one or two to ruin it for the rest. The result has seen some do and say whatever is needed to get a deal over the line.

Nowadays, with the rise of peer reviews and user-generated content, agents have to be crystal clear about the lettings process. Otherwise, word soon spreads online.

Review websites like Trustpilot have changed the lettings industry for the better. There is now complete transparency, with the majority of lettings agents offering a better service to prospective tenants.

Know the property and know the area




It might sound straightforward, but a modern-day agent needs to know about the properties they have stock for and the areas where they are located. The instant access online affords us the ability to do our own research, but confidence is always higher when the person dealing with the property is a local area expert.

The same goes for the home. Lettings agents that know about the EPC, how big the property is and local attractions will stand more chance of impressing and connecting with renters. We want to feel confident that the person showing us around understands fully everything there is about the property and the area.

Keeping up with the changes
Illustration of lettings agent celebrating

Whether people like it or not, online-only lettings agents are a growing force in the industry. Some of them remove the need for a physical agent altogether, coercing the landlord and tenant interact and negotiate directly. Others still incorporate the use of agents.

Lettings agents who want to make sure the online-only model still features the use of actual human beings need to understand the threat. The negotiating process is a major factor, and one many landlords and tenants still don’t enjoy doing directly.

Tenants understand the agent is primarily working for the landlord, but that doesn’t mean a layer of transparency isn’t appreciated. It can be tricky for agents to navigate the negotiation process, but if they make the tenant feel just as valued, the outcome is more likely to be one that pleases everyone.

The new-age agent

Customer service is still very much the foundation of the lettings industry. Agents that embrace offering renters the best experience are more likely to provide a better service than those still stuck in old-school ways.


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