The 5 steps to finding the right property management service in London

5 steps to find the best property management company in London - Hostmaker Blog

The number of landlords using a service in is growing, and so is the number of such services. So how to pick the right one?

Well first, it’s a good idea to check the 5 reasons why you should be working with a property manager. You can see if it’s right for you and your properties. Second, not all property management services deliver the same service. You have:

  • traditional real estate agents (Foxton’s, Savills…) who often specialised in long lets but may do short lets on the side,
  • newcomers specialised in short lets (Airsorted, Passthekeys…),
  • and a few hybrid property management services who can do short, medium and long lets (like Hostmaker).

As a result, it is important to invest carefully in the company that’s right for you and your properties, without disrupting your rental income, and making you the most money.

The short let opportunity has been growing all over the UK, and in London especially. It presents landlords with opportunities: higher rates, more flexibility (as you aren’t tied up in long term contracts), better revenues overall. We’ve done a round up of the best rental strategies for 2019, and one of the main benefits of short let is making the most of the tourism flows: if they’re looking good, you could be leaving a lot of rental income on the table by long-letting.

This being said, early adopters have already been doing well, and the number of listings in the UK capital has quadrupled from 2015 to 2018 – reaching over 74,000 by October 2018.

This statistic gives us a clear insight into the attractiveness of the short let market, which is slowly winning over London landlords. Many started with one property, then another, then a third. And one of the best way to try is to do so with a specialised property management service, to truly assess the opportunity and see how it can protect your downside and maximise your upside.

At Hostmaker, our friendly team has compiled a list of the 5 fundamental steps London landlords should take to ensure that they find the property management service that’s right for them:

1. Locate the best and don’t settle

The number of property management services in London alone is growing all the time. As a consequence, it’s well worth landlords doing their research on how they can secure the highest quality service for their guests and tenants, whilst yielding the maximum financial returns for them.

We recommend asking the right questions to pick the right property management service in London: and don’t forget the bonus ones! Besides, don’t forget to really list the pros and cons of each: their services may look very similar, but when you scratch the surface they often differ quite a bit.

Among the most important differentiating points: the ability to welcome guest and tenants, the communication with them, the possibility to list your property on multiple platforms, and how sophisticated the pricing is.

2. Make sure they know the London market in and out

Once you’ve found the right property management company for you, it’s worth double-checking their local credentials. Local knowledge is more valuable than you think!

Ask them how big of a team they have on the ground, and how well they collectively know the city. Not only from a real estate standpoint, but also on the tourism side, as this is crucial for short lets. Indeed, the better you know what travellers visit your city, the more adapted your listing and your strategy.

Besides, you may want to check where else the company has offices, especially if you have several properties, or plan to invest internationally.

Hostmaker for instance makes the choice of always having its own teams in place, in every city, hiring locals to ensure the best property management. They are currently present in London, Cannes, Madrid, Rome, Bangkok, Paris, Barcelona, Lisbon and Florence, with a little over 500 specialists, from housekeepers to handymen to account managers and pricing experts.

Please fill out our form to register your interest in our ever expanding market and let us know where you’d like to see us pop up next!

3. Decide the services that you do and don’t require

There are a wide range of services available with property management services, from the most basic needs (linen, housekeeping…) to a more complete offering (listing, photography, pricing…).

Different landlords will have different properties, and different needs. A busy landlord with a few properties and a main job will probably want an end-to-end property management service, while another may have someone to take care of it.

When it comes to short lets, there are some specific questions you need to ask yourself:

  • how to market the property on the best platforms (Airbnb or Booking.com? HomeAway orTripadvisor? One or several?)
  • how to price properly for different times of the year?
  • how to create stand-out listings that will be preferred by travellers?
  • how to service the property effectively (welcome guests, give keys, cleaning, maintenance…)

Therefore, the first step is to define what you need:

  • if you have never rented properties on short lets before:
    • check a few property management companies to understand their scope, and see what the cost of doing it yourself would be: you will at least learn more about the opportunity, and get free estimates and valuations
    • if you have a few properties, why not compare both models, or even two different companies?
  • if you have rented properties on short lets, casually or more professionally:
    • check your current cost per stay, including the time spent managing the communications, the listing, the pricing. Compare it to the estimates you get from a few property management companies
    • check if you may want to use only hand-picked services, or if you prefer a full-service company: is your time best spent on housekeeping, or finding your next property?

Hostmaker offers an end-to-end service, tailored for landlords who prefer safe, predictable income with the upside of short lets earnings. Get an estimate from the online calculator!

4. Compare the prices and plans

There are various factors which set every individual property and landlord apart. Each home is unique after all. The same way, most property management services will have different prices depending on location, amenities, number of rooms, ease of access... etc.

Price will be a big factor in your choice, and most properties management companies offer free valuation and revenue estimates. We strongly advise to ask for a few quotes, and compare a few different offers.

Don’t forget to estimate overall revenues against overall fees (variable and fixed). Also, it’s a good idea to check both short and long lets operators to get a complete view. We’ve put together a quick table below for a quick comparison:

Services & figuresCompany 1Company 2
Short, medium and long lets?
Rental revenue estimate
Fixed fees
(listing, onboarding, tenant…)
Variable fees
(commission)
Ad hoc fees
(maintenance calls)
Total yearly fees
Total net rental income

For reference, Hostmaker can manage short, medium and long lets, for a management fee starting at 12% + VAT.

5. Confirm your top contenders

Once you have established the property management services you need and the plan best suited to your needs, the next step is to get in touch with your top 2 or 3 contenders.

At this stage, you may already be in contact after asking for a few estimates, so it’s time to really ask the big questions, like:

  • what sets you apart from X? What makes you better than Y?
  • why is your estimate lower/higher than X?
  • what are the specifics covered by your management fee? Are there any additional fees?
  • can you switch between short and long lets when need be?
  • how much flexibility do I have with my property’s availability?

Better to ask the questions from the get go rather than be surprised later!

Best of luck with your search, and do feel free to get in touch with our team via our online service if we can help you with any questions. Or just send us a note at london@hostmaker.com or +44 2035530428, we love a good chat about properties!