I was out on a viewing a couple of months ago with an estate and lettings agent in London.
The applicant met the negotiator and I at the office and we walked to the viewing as it was only 300
yards away. During the walk, the negotiator asked the reason the applicant was moving? “My fiancé
and I are looking to have a family and we only rent a one bed at the moment around the corner from
here and need a minimum of two beds, three if our budget allows.” They started talking about the
plans for the wedding and the dress which is where I began to zone out if I’m completely honest. The
negotiator asked when the applicant needed to move by and the applicant responded, “The landlord
needs us out by the end of this month as he’s looking to sell the apartment.”
We arrived at the property and the negotiator conducted the viewing perfectly. She showed the
applicant around, highlighting the major selling points of the property and always bringing it back to
the applicants needs. The negotiator got feedback once we were outside of the property and agreed to
call back at end of the day once the applicant had spoken to her fiancé to see what offer they can
When you find out your applicants are renting in your area, how often are you asking for their
landlords details? The answer should be EVERYTIME without exception; there is no excuse here!
Now there may be the occasion that the property is fully managed and the applicant does not have the
landlord’s details and they deal direct with the estate agent. Apart from getting the property address
and posting a letter through the door, there is nothing that can be done.
I believe we should be asking for every applicant’s landlords details even if they don’t end up buying
or renting from us. The script I recommend using is as follows:
As I’m sure you’re aware Mr Applicant, the lettings market is moving very fast; we get property on
and off our books in a matter of hours. So we need to do a quick check to ensure you’ve been a good
tenant. What’s the best number to get hold of your landlord?
And that’s it! Keep it simple and you’ll find the majority of applicants will provide you with their
How to call these private landlords
Once you have built this database I would recommend the following pitch:
“Good morning John, thanks for taking my call. My name is Tony Morris, calling from Morris Estates.
Your tenant, John Smith, has just left our office and kindly gave us your details.
I noticed your property falls in the middle of our catchment area, where we have been renting
properties for the past 25 years. How are you currently marketing your property?”
Websites and local papers
The other source of private landlords is websites like Gumtree or adverts in local papers. I would
suggest the following pitch:
“Good morning John, thanks for taking my call. My name is Tony Morris. Is your property on Bedford
Hill still available? Great, how flexible are you on the rent?”
Can you tell me a bit more about the property?
How near is it to the station?
What is the size of the second room?
Fantastic; I have three professional applicants who missed out on a property similar to yours last
week and they are desperate for what you have just described. If I can get you £850 per month after
our fees, you would be happy with that wouldn’t you?
Great; well I need to see the property as soon as possible to ensure it is suitable for these three
applicants; what time this evening can I see it?”
Don’t want to pay agency fees
This is the most common objection you will hear time and time again when calling these private
landlords. Now depending on how the owner(s) of your estate agency feels about this, my suggestion
that’s works with my clients is as follows:
“Am I correct is saying you are looking to achieve £1,100 a month? (we know it is, as that’s what
they’ve advertised in Gumtree).
Great, well anything we achieve over this is our fee.”
Now the truth is, once you go and value the property you may take the view that the landlord will only
achieve £1,000 per month and your job is to communicate this and explain anything you get over the
£1,000 is your fee. Now it’s unlikely you will earn your normal fee like you do when you do a regular
let, however a client’s view is that it cost you nothing to win the instruction, so anything is better than
nothing and it’s another property on your books.
The other angle to handling this objection is to ask, “why are you only asking £1,100 per month for
it?” (Give the impression you think you can achieve more). This should entice the landlord to invite
you to value it and then you have a decision to make when you are there.
Another source for landlord details is where your existing landlords have referred you to other
landlords. I suggest the following:
“Good morning Mr Landlord thanks for taking my call. My name is Tony Morris, calling from Morris
Estates. I have kindly been given your details from John Smith, whom we have been successfully
looking after his property for X years.
The reason for my call is to discuss the possibility of helping look after your property as well. Can I
ask, how are you currently marketing your property?”
“I’m Tony, a senior Negotiator with Morris estates. Are you familiar with our agency?
We are one of the largest agencies in London and we have helped the majority of porters in this area
by giving them around £2,000 a month for kindly letting us know which properties are coming
available in the development.
We’d love to get you on board as well; so with that in mind, which properties do you know in this
site are coming available soon?”
Take the concierge’s name and number.
Ask them which other concierges they know in the area who you could be speaking with.