Proprietor of Belvoir Lettings Agency Cambridge, Corby and Peterborough Terry Lucking has set up a series of workshops aimed at buy-to-let investors.
The first one took place on 30th June in Peterborough and Terry has since rolled them out to the Cambridge and Corby areas, with the intention of doing one in each area every month.
Titled ‘Getting Started in Buy-to-Let’, the two-hour free workshops aim to answer potential investors’ questions in a friendly, approachable environment.
“I decided to organise the ‘Getting Started in Buy-to-Let’ workshops because I saw a demand from investors for more information, more help and more advice,” says Terry. “A workshop seemed the ideal environment to deliver that – it’s not a seminar, a heavy presentation or a sales pitch, it’s a fairly short agenda and the aim is to answer any questions raised.
“The maximum people is ten and I intend to keep numbers between five and ten because it gives us a chance to get really personal with people – rather than presenting to 60 or 100 we can answer people’s individual questions. In fact, on registering we ask delegates to think of the top three burning questions that they’re concerned about and we spend the beginning of the workshop aiming to answer them.
Leading a workshop enables Terry to share his expert knowledge about buy-to-let opportunities with several people at once.
“A typical investment review between myself and a client would typically last for between two and three hours,” says Terry. “Taking a workshop means I can share my knowledge more valuably with a group of people rather than a single individual – after this initial stage I can then take them away for one-to-ones where we can start looking at properties that we’re going to let.
“I believe that the workshops can help answer questions for investors, as well as raise lots more questions for them to think about. The workshops also help potential investors understand the complexity of property management and why it is so important to seek the services of a lettings specialist to help them with it.
“So far the feedback has been great and we’ve already got bookings for the future workshops we’re organising.”
Terry says that while the workshops are ideal environments for buy-to-let investors to get expert advice, essentially they will also raise the profile of the letting agent as a specialist information source.
“When I first started this business 11 years ago, most people who were interested in buy-to-let sought advice from an estate agent, a mortgage broker or a letting agent as these were predominantly the only avenues available,” he says. “Today, however, if you search for buy-to-let advice on the internet you will see an abundance of clubs – wealth development clubs, investment clubs, all sorts of things. Lots of people buy into these but some of these ‘clubs’ don’t have longevity and it’s not necessarily expert advice that’s been given.”
His experience was that many future landlords only approached him as a lettings agent in Cambridge only after they’ve invested in a property, Terry asked himself why more people weren’t seeking their advice about what and where to buy before investing…
“More people are investing in buy-to-lets now than ever before but where does the letting agent sit in the food chain?” asks Terry. “We should be near the top but, in reality, we’re sitting quite a long way down it.
“People tend to find us after they’ve chosen a property and, in my opinion, it is a very small proportion who come to us for buy-to-let advice – a large proportion go to an estate agent or a buy-to-let club.
“Letting agents need to raise their visibility and profile so that we’re further up the food chain for new buy-to-let investors. I believe that getting personal with people on a local basis in a well-organised interactive workshop with professional content will help develop relationships which are profitable for the property investor and will last for many years to come.”