Stand Out & Be Flexible
Be different. Forget that ‘standard call’ giving your details and asking about that property you saw on Rightmove and is it still available or is it pet friendly? Most times you end up with a ‘no’ response. They take your details and that is the last of it. Yawn. Be there done it. Another ‘applicant’ to load up on the system.
You need to be on the A-list
Be friendly. Agents liked to be asked for help. The more senior agent the better. The junior one will most likely just take your details.
With a senior negotiator of a branch manager you have an opportunity to find out much more. If they say they are a dog or cat owner or love pets, then make them one of your key agents to keep in touch with. They will more likely help you.
As well as saying where and what you are looking for. State you can pay a few months up front (if you can) and you can move quickly.
Be flexible You don’t mind furnished or unfurnished. Prefer to move in on x date but could move in earlier for the right property. You can jump in the car or on your bike quickly to see a property. Show you are keen*
Think outside the box
As I mentioned, everyone asks about specific properties they have seen on the property portals. In the current market it has probably already gone or has lots of viewings booked in.
Ask about what instructions have you got coming on?
I am looking in this area, could pay up to this amount, I have employers references, my dog is so well behaved and have a pet cv as well as a landlord reference.
Say you can make a decision quickly. The agent is thinking, I have got this place coming on, could work here, let me talk to the landlord or the tenants to get access.
Also you are helping the agent. They have wanted to get an instruction on a house or flat. They now have a reason to call the landlord. They know you are serious. They can use you to get the instruction or do a ‘one off viewing’. Everyone is a winner here. You get through the door before it goes on the open market.
I did this recently for a client in Ealing. We agreed it within a few hours and it never made it on the property portals. A lovely cat friendly garden flat.
Communicate your requirements clearly. Whether it's a pet-friendly space, accessibility features, or proximity to transport links, letting the agent know exactly what you're looking for can save time for everyone involved.
Don’t Be Forgotten
You build your list of ‘key’ estate agents. Ones who are more likely to help you. Your search becomes more focused.
You have to keep in touch. Email, call or pop in the office if you live close by. Don’t go over the top though. Say once a week.
Don’t be forgotten. I know this all from experience. You call and they say; perfect timing, just taking on this house, pet friendly and I can get you in this week before everyone else. Landlord is dropping off keys at our office in the next day or so.
Book in a time then, get the address so you can research into it. Don’t wait for the agent to call you back. Remember, he or she has colleagues who will also be looking to get through the door asap.
Be a Bit Pushy
All about building that rapport. It will be better with some agents than others. Don’t be afraid to ask. Agents need to be constantly reminded. You would be surprised how easily you can be forgotten.
The Pet CV
I keep referring to the pet cv. It really does convince landlords to sometimes say yes to pets. Remember it is the only way for a landlord to visualise your pet(s). A cute image or two and they may well think, ‘can’t see it causing much damage to the property’.
Also, some agents love to see the cute pictures. They become a talking point in the office and again you are more likely to be remembered. I know this for a fact. Again, been there done it.
Pet Owners Don’t Be Shy
50% of the UK population owns a pet. You are not in the minority. Slowly estate agents are realising that. Everywhere you look there are dogs and cats on advertisements.
Pets are part of the family. So when you do find the right property, don’t be afraid to ask for it to be professionally cleaned, the walls to be ‘touched up’ with paint or the garden to be cleared and the fencing to be secured. A landlord can only say no. It is part of the negotiations.
If you want furniture to be removed or would like something added, then add it to your list. Many agents refer to this as ‘special conditions’. If you don’t ask you don’t get.
Once you have agreed a rental property. Pay the 1 week holding deposit asap. Until you do, someone else can come in and counter-offer. Just like buying a property, until you exchange contracts on a property, another buyer can step in. Important tip: Take a screenshot of the holding deposit. When you have paid, email it to the estate agent.
Bear in mind some agents, will only accept it has been paid when the funds have cleared into their account. Others will accept it before funds have cleared with a screenshot.
I relocate a lot of clients with their pets from the US to London. As US bank transfers can take days, I sometimes pay the holding deposit to make sure the property is quickly secured.
Talking to estate agents is an art that requires clarity, preparation, and politeness. As a pet owner, don’t get emotional if an agent quickly says no to pets.
Ask if they know of any dog or cat friendly properties coming on the market soon. You need to keep them on side. As soon as you get frustrated or annoyed, you’ve lost their support.
Agents will know of other properties on the market. Sometimes they can tell you of somewhere else coming to the market or give you another contact to call who could be of more help.
From experience, some agents are really helpful. It is all about building relationships.