The lettings landscape is changing.
It is changing as a result of the regulation of the sector being implemented by the Scottish Government. It is changing because of the recent tax changes introduced by that historical figure, George Osbourne .... remember him? It is changing because of the changing mortgage market. And it is changing because of technology advancements.
Fundamentally, even with all this change, the lettings market is still a good place to be just now because current demand greatly exceeds current supply and this shows no sign of changing in the short, medium or long term as the obstacles to building more properties are so high that we will not be building enough properties to solve the problem for decades to come.
However, what will evolve is who manages letting properties and how they are managed.
At the moment there is great talk of national internet based letting agencies, like Purplebricks and Ewemove, being the next great thing and there is lots and lots of talk that large national office based letting agencies like Countrywide (called Slater Hogg & Howison in Scotland) being dinosaurs who will not survive (for what it worth, I personally suspect that Countrywide may well be more valuable if it is broken up .....).
For me, technology will change the lettings market and the lettings industry must embrace technology so that it provides a continually improving service. However, unlike selling tins of beans (which absolutely lend themselves to be sold by national and international businesses on the internet), ultimately lettings is about local knowledge and long-term relationships and personally I do not think that national letting agencies – whether internet based or not – can provide the same level of local knowledge, people skills and long-term relationships as local letting agencies like The Key Place. The Key Place is a family run business with extensive local knowledge, people skills and long-term relationships with landlords, tenants, contractors, Councils, Penicuik etc which is invaluable in ensuring that lettings is done properly .... particularly when the ‘road bumps’ of lettings come along.
Keep it real, keep it local!