Redstones Welcomes Its Latest Franchisee In Thanet

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Redstones’ network of franchise owners continues to go from strength to strength.  Our most recent addition is Alan Munns, currently in franchise training prior to opening his office in Thanet, Kent.  Continuing our series of blogs exploring the background and motivation of our franchisees, we spoke to Alan recently to find out more about what prompted him to choose Redstones as his franchisor.

Alan, what was your background prior to becoming a Redstones franchisee?

I spent 28 years in Information Technology, the last 20 of which were spent in senior management positions.  I’ve also worked for larger American banks and FTSE 100 organisations and ran my own successful manufacturing business for over 15 years.  For the last three years I’ve been running my own IT consultancy business.  As well as that, over the last 12 years, I’ve been building up my portfolio of residential properties which I rent out.

What prompted you to launch your own franchise business?

Realising the potential in the lettings agency sector, my aim was to expand that side of my business and also venture into residential sales.  Like many people, I’ve experienced mixed levels of service within the lettings industry and I felt there was plenty of scope for improvement.

How did you find out about the franchise sector?

I have been attending various landlord and property exhibitions for several years. During this time I’ve always been looking into the franchise options but over the past 18 months I’ve carried out more in-depth research into lettings agency franchises, mainly talking to the bigger industry names. The problems I encountered were twofold. First of all their start-up costs made their franchises prohibitive. In such a competitive market place I felt the chances of success with the burden of the initial costs was low.  Secondly, the size of the territories on offer were not very big.

Why did you chose franchising over an employed career?

I don’t enjoy working for large corporate organisations as I’ve proved I can do better on my own.  I’m a creative hard working person looking for an opportunity to succeed without the burden of corporate bureaucracy.  It was also important for me to work with like-minded people.

What did you particularly like about Redstones?

After meeting Manjit at Redstones and discussing their franchise opportunity in more detail I was confident that Redstones met my own requirements and expectations.  Not only was Manjit open and honest throughout the due diligence process, he allowed me unrestricted access to the other Redstones franchisees to answer my questions and provide all the information I needed in order to make a decision.  Redstones are also ambitious and enthusiastic about the brand.

What prompted your final decision?

I concluded that Redstones offered the best value, with a good brand, a substantial territory, minimal interference in the day-to-day running of the business. At the same time, there is a  high level of support from their head office staff when needed.  In my experience, organisations such as Redstones have the agility and creativity to win more clients, provide greater customer service and are able to respond quickly to industry trends and changes.  They are more entrepreneurial and forward thinking which is essential in this market.

What are your aspirations for your franchise?

My goal is to have a permanent premises within 18 months and two further premises within my territory within three years.

What would your advice be to someone thinking of buying a franchise?

Take your time, do your due diligence. Be 100% sure and confident in your choice.

Thank you for your time, we’ll be with you all the way as you build your new business.

If you feel you possess the necessary attributes to become a Redstones franchisee, we would love to hear from you.  Contact Redstones today for more information on running your own Redstones lettings agency.

Redstones Lettings

Marketing Your Rental Property – It’s Easy With Redstones

Property owners rent out their properties for a number of reasons. For a growing number of people, it is part of a long-term business plan to build a portfolio and accrue assets. Some of our clients rent their property as a short-term solution if they are struggling to sell it. For some it is a way of covering their costs while travelling abroad.

Whatever the reason for placing your property on the rental market, the majority of landlords need to secure a suitable tenant quickly to cover mortgage payments.

As we know from the clients who come to us through our Switch Agents programme  the lettings sector is often renowned for rogue lettings agents who lack ethical standards of service. We frequently hear from clients who have signed exclusive agreements with an agent, only to find that no activity has been taken to secure suitable tenants.

At Redstones, we operate a pro-active, comprehensive marketing strategy supported by state-of-the-art technology, which is available to all of our clients.  Here are just some of the highlights:-

  • Comprehensive, full colour online brochures for your property. All of our photos are presented with accurate measurements and detailed descriptions. Our landlords can also take advantage of downloadable 3D colour brochures and optional floor plans to market their properties if they choose.
  • At Redstones, we continue to promote rental properties until they are let.  There is no time limit on how long we will work to secure suitable tenants for our clients.  We work hard to provide high levels of customer service to every landlord.
  • Established presence on all of the prominent property websites, as well as some of the lesser known ones, to ensure the widest coverage possible.  It is estimated that 95% of all property searches are now carried out online which means every lettings agent must have an established online presence in order to market your property effectively. You will find Redstones properties on a variety of websites including Zoopla, Rightmove, Mouseprice, FindaProperty, Primelocation, Propertyfinder, Globrix, Hotproperty, Thinkproperty, Propertyindex, Propertylive, Homesonview and more.
  • Our properties are easily identified by our distinctive ‘To Let’ boards. With our reputation for quality and our policy for treating all of our tenants with respect and courtesy, we find this complements our in-depth online strategy.
  • Access to a database of tenants with details of their preferred location, type of house and ideal price range. This enables us to instantly promote your property to appropriate tenants.
  • Accompanied viewings which allow our landlords to relax knowing that a Redstones representative is available arrange viewings for prospective tenants at short notice. We find this shortens the period of time it takes to secure a suitable tenant.

We also carry out full background checks on all of our tenants. For your extra peace of mind, at Redstones we offer our Platinum Total Care Service which means your rent is paid, regardless of whether or not we have received payment from the tenant.

If you’re considering letting your property, whether on a short or long-term basis, contact us today to discuss the options available to you.

Redstones Newcastle

You’re More Than A Number As A Redstones Franchisee

Redstones franchisees come from a variety of different backgrounds and it isn’t essential to have previous experience of lettings, as our new Wolverhampton franchisee Updesh Gidda showed last week.

This week, we spoke to Craig Scott, owner of Redstones’ office in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.  Craig’s had experience both of lettings and running his own lettings agency before joining Redstones.  Here, he shares his story.

Craig Scott, Redstones Newcastle upon Tyne

Craig Scott, Redstones Newcastle upon Tyne

Craig, your career has been spent in sales and in the lettings sector.  What brought you  to Redstones?

After a successful sales career with Northern Rock, I left to start my own lettings agency. I was disillusioned with the poor standards of service I’d personally received from lettings agents and was confident I could do better.  Unfortunately, I under-estimated that level of investment needed to establish a reputable brand so closed my business and returned to full-time employment with a local lettings agency.  While I loved the job, everyday reminded me of how much I wanted to launch my own business, so I decided to go explore franchising,  rather than try to get an unknown brand with no prove business format off the ground.

How did you first learn about franchising?

A friend of mine purchased a mobile phone franchise 5 years ago and enjoyed great success. After my experience attempting to go it alone, it seemed franchising might be the best option for me.  All I knew was that I had a burning desire to build my own successful business!

What attracted you to Redstones?

Making the decision to invest in a Redstones franchise was easy.  It clearly stood out in the market against all of the other property franchises right from the start.  Redstones was the first franchisor to respond to my enquiry but it wasn’t just that. Redstones share my values for delivering outstanding customer service and genuinely care about the success of their franchisees.  You’re more than just a number with Redstones.

Tell us about the support provided by Redstones

The whole experience with Redstones has been first class.  All of my questions were answered during my first meeting and the training course covered absolutely everything there is to know about running a successful lettings agency.  While it’s still early days, whenever I have a question about running my business, the response is swift and comprehensive. I have no doubt that will continue.

We like to be transparent at Redstones. Have you encountered any problems or challenges in the early stages of running your business?

It will take time to thoroughly get to know the systems and the procedures that I need to follow in order to deliver the outstanding standards of service Redstones is renowned for. I know it will become easier over time but I am putting all my effort into ensure I start as I mean to go on!

What feedback have you received so far?

After speaking with my first few potential clients, they have all been extremely impressed with the presentation of the Redstones brand and are happy to discuss how we can work together.

What is your vision for your Redstones lettings agency?

I have so many plans! I intend to develop my customer base and have set myself ambitious targets for my first year.  With my background, I’ve also opened a property sales division alongside lettings. My goal is to exceed my customers’ expectations whether in property sales or property management! My digital marketing campaign is now ready to go so I’m extremely optimistic about the future.

What advice would you offer to a prospective franchisee?

Research your market thoroughly and speak to every franchisor in your chosen market until you find the brand that is right you.

Thank you Craig and welcome to Redstones!

If you think you have what it takes to become a Redstones franchisee, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  We look forward to your call.

The Difference is Redstones

Identifying A Rogue Lettings Agent : 7 Essential Questions

As we have mentioned in several recent blogs, the private lettings market is booming, a trend which is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.  That growth is not without its problems, however.  The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) recently compared the private rental property sector to the ‘Wild West’ due to the plethora of unethical lettings agents attempting to take advantage of a buoyant industry.

Lettings agents, unlike estate agents, are unregulated so selecting the right agent to work with is often a proverbial minefield, especially for property owners new to the private rental market.

If you are evaluating your options with lettings agents, the following questions will help you in your assessment.

What is their background? Do they have a proven track record in the lettings sector? Do other landlords vouch for their levels of service? Will they provide recommendations? A reputable lettings agent will happily provide you with client testimonials.

Does the agent operate from a professional office or provide you only with a mobile contact number?  Rogue agents will often offer cheap deals claiming an office is not necessary as it only increases landlord costs.  At Redstones, we encourage landlords to visit us at our offices both for reassurance and to experience our superlative customer service for yourself.

Are tenants’ deposits protected?  Failure to do so means that the tenant can claim compensation from you as a landlord at the end of the tenancy agreement if their deposit is not returned.  Redstones complies with the DPS (Deposit Protection Service) and TPO (The Property Ombudsman).

What arrangements are in place if a tenant misses a rental payment?  Will you be notified of any problems? Rogue agents have been known to collect payments from their tenants while advising landlords they have not been received.  For your added peace of mind Redstones offers its Platinum Total Care Service which guarantees that your rent is paid on time every month, regardless of whether or not a payment has been made by the tenant.

What does ‘fully managed’ mean when it comes to a lettings agreement?  At Redstones, fully managed means – among other things – accompanied viewings, regular landlord reports on the property and notification of any problem with a tenant immediately the situation arises.

What background checks are carried out on potential tenants?  The omission of crucial background checks may lead to problems further down the line.

Are they members of ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents)? ARLA is a voluntary body which sets out a required code of conduct which all of its members must adhere to. For your peace of mind, Redstones is a member of ARLA and NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents).

Recent developments

The government has announced that, in the future, it will be mandatory for all lettings agents to join an independent redress scheme. This scheme will possess the power to order rogue agents to compensate landlords and tenants for their wrong doings up to a maximum amount of £25,000. At the same time, unscrupulous agents may be banned from working in the sector. At present, however, this scheme has yet to be introduced.

If you are concerned that you may be working with an unethical lettings agent or unhappy with the service you are currently receiving, we offer a Switch Agents programme which takes our clients through the necessary steps to transfer their property management to Redstones.

For more information, you may find our article on the 6 Signs Of A Reputable Lettings Agent helpful in evaluating your choice of lettings agent.

You can also contact Redstones to discuss how we can help you with letting your property.   We look forward to hearing from you.

Redstones Wolverhampton

Redstones Launches In Wolverhampton

Hot on the heels of our recently opened office in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, we are delighted to announce the launch of our Wolverhampton office and welcome Updesh Gidda to Redstones.

Updesh officially opened his Redstones lettings agency on 7th June 2014.

It’s important to us to ensure the experience of our franchisees is positive throughout the selection process, so we interviewed Updesh prior to his launch to gain more insight into why he chose Redstones as his franchisor.

Updesh, welcome to Redstones.  Can you share with us some of your career history prior to you becoming a franchisee?

I worked for a number of years in senior level client account management in the drinks industry and most recently as a National Account Manager in the UK waste and recycling sector.  While I enjoyed a successful career, I had a burning desire to take my destiny into my own hands and run my own business.

What influenced you to invest in a franchise brand rather than set up alone?

The business format offered by a franchisor is generally tried and tested, giving you that initial advantage and enabling you to become profitable more quickly than you would as a stand alone business owner.  The continual support also attracted me.  An ethical franchisor like Redstones offers advice whenever you need it.  As well as that, I love property so finding the right lettings agency franchise with a reputable, trustworthy name was my goal. With Redstones, I have all of that and more.

What prompted you to explore franchising rather than remain in your career, where it sounds like you were very successful?

In late 2012/ early 2013 I was twice put on notice by my previous employers within the space of 18 months.  I knew then that I had to take control of my career, make that leap of faith and launch my own business.

What skills from your previous roles do you feel will equip you to succeed as a Redstones franchisee?

I derived great satisfaction from ensuring that all of my clients received the highest quality of service possible. That’s why the Redstones brand resonated with me. With your attention to detail and high levels of customer care, it felt like the perfect match.

Would you explain more about why you chose Redstones in preference to other franchisors and also share your experience of your own due diligence process.

My wife and I always harboured the desire to run an efficient, client focused property management business and for us Redstones ticks all the boxes and more. Redstones left no stone unturned in responding to our various questions relating to marketing, brand awareness and future developments. Manjit and his team are so thorough they ‘stood out from the crowd’ – by some way!

Believe it or not, we spent over 15 months speaking to various franchisors within this field and attended many meetings in our search for the right brand. No other brand offered us what Redstones could in terms of meeting our aspirations to run a client led lettings agency.

Were there any other aspects of the franchise package on offer that particularly stood out for you?

I was already aware of the Redstones brand but what attracted me to them in particular was:-

  • The state-of-the-art technology available to all franchisees.
  • The fact that Redstones obviously care about the success of their franchisees.  You are much more than just a number.
  • There’s no hard sell or pressure to sign on the dotted line.  We took over ten months to make our decision.
  • The ability to launch our business from serviced offices rather than a high street location.
  • A competitive franchise fee and total investment with the potential for an outstanding return on investment.

Having said that ‘people buy from people’ and we joined Redstones because of their enthusiasm, vision and desire to be the UK’s premier lettings agency franchise. In the end it was a straight forward decision.

What top three tips can you offer to every would-be franchisee?

  • Spend time researching the various options available to ensure the brand you choose is right for you.
  • Don’t be tempted solely by the so-called ‘big’ names.  Expanding networks, like Redstones, often have more competitive fees and the latest technology to meet industry requirements.
  • Go with your gut feel!

Thank you Updesh and welcome to Redstones!

If you are considering the option of investing in a franchise and would like to learn more about life as a Redstones franchisee, please contact us.

You’ll also find more information on how Redstones differentiates itself from the competition in the video at the top of this blog.

Stressed Landlords

When Letting Goes Wrong : Why It Pays To Use Redstones For Your Property Management

We recently looked at the advantages of landlords assigning their property management to Redstones, rather than attempting to ‘go it alone’ or on an ‘introduction only’ basis.  The fact is that letting your property through a reputable agent can save you, as a landlord, significant stress and anxiety, especially when that tenant refuses to co-operate or stops making rental payments.

Below, we highlight one example of a client who recently approached Redstones, having decided to originally manage the property himself.

Here our client explains his predicament in his own words:-

 ‘When I originally decided to let my property, I opted to find my own tenants, primarily to save the costs of lettings agents, which seemed quite expensive.  I am well organised and pay attention to detail so didn’t foresee a problem.

When my tenant originally moved in, he couldn’t afford the deposit or begin paying the rent as he was waiting for a grant.  As he seemed trustworthy, I agreed to wait for both the deposit and the first rent payment.  Since then they have been paying on or around time, until recently.

I now wish to sell the property and have requested a viewing prior to finalising the tenancy agreement.  Unfortunately, they have refused to co-operate and have been at times, arrogant and threatening.

These are some of the additional issues I am facing which I now realise would have been dealt with upfront if I had approached a reputable lettings agent like Redstones initially:- 

–          The tenant is withholding rent payments until I provide them with receipts of rent paid to date.

–          I did not carry out an inventory of the property, although it is let on a partly-furnished basis.

–          I am not certain of whether or not all necessary safety checks – which are required by law – have been carried out.   

–          The deposit was not placed into a nationally recognised scheme.

–          The tenancy was granted on the basis of a single adult living in the property but I now have reason to believe there is a second adult living there.

As I’m soon to be a father I don’t have the energy or time to resolve this matter so have asked Redstones to take over full management of the property. I am relieved this extremely stressful matter is finally in professional, trustworthy hands’.

Our client’s experience highlights the potential problems when an inexperienced landlord attempts to manage their own property.  It wasn’t that our client was trying to cut corners, he simply lacked the expertise or the time to ensure his property was let in accordance with latest regulations – and on face value he had no reason to think that his tenant may prove to be difficult.

When choosing your lettings agent, you will find our article on the six signs of a reputable lettings agent helpful.

As the lettings market continues to expand, a number of unaccredited agents are entering the market.

For your peace of mind, Redstones is a member of the following:-

– NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents)

– ARLA (Association Residential Letting Agents)

– TPO (The Property Ombudsman)

We also comply with the DPS (Deposit Protection Service).

To discuss letting your property with Redstones, or to learn more about our Switch Agents or Platinum Total Care Service, contact us today.

We look forward to your call.

Redstones Property Management

Renting Your Property With Redstones : Introduction Only Or Fully Managed?

Renting out your property (or properties) to tenants provides you with a regular monthly income but as a landlord you have a range of responsibilities and legal obligations to your tenants and to your property.

With the private rental market enjoying significant growth, at Redstones, we are seeing an influx of new landlords as well as existing landlords who cannot manage their growing portfolio alone.  One of the questions we are often asked is whether an ‘Introduction Only’ or ‘Fully Managed’ service is the most appropriate.

This of course depends on the experience of the individual, the time they have available and the number of properties in their portfolio.

At Redstones we are seeing an increase in the number of property owners taking advantage of our extensive property management service for the following reasons:-

A fully managed service:-

  • Reduces your stress and anxiety as well as saving you time.  Many of our landlords work full-time so the added responsibility of managing a property can be time consuming.  You’ll have less time, energy and often less patience to deal with property repairs or other problems notified by your tenants.  As the landlord, you must attend to these issues promptly by law.
  • Allows you to assign the running of your property to the experts, knowing it is in safe hands.
Redstones Property Management

Redstones Property Management

A reputable lettings agency will handle all aspects of your rental including:-

  • Finding suitable tenants and carrying out all necessary background checks.
  • Comprehensive marketing of your property. At Redstones, we pride ourselves on our online reach and extensive presence on a range of property websites.
  • Drawing up the tenancy agreement and inventory, both when the tenants move in and also leave the property.
  • Collecting the initial deposit from your tenants and all monthly rental payments thereafter.  At Redstones, we also offer our Platinum Total Care Service which guarantees you receive your rental income even if the tenant fails to make a payment.
  • Providing you with a single point of contact, your dedicated property manager who will liaise between you and your tenants.
  • As a landlord, you are responsible for all property repairs whether planned or urgent.  With a fully managed service your property manager will ensure all routine and emergency repairs are carried out promptly.
  • Regular reports covering property inspections and inventories.
  • Arranging annual safety checks to ensure your property complies with all safety regulations.
  • Furthermore, on rare occasions, it is necessary to handle unpleasant situations such as tenants causing problems with your property or disrupting neighbours. In the most severe cases, this may result in tenants being evicted.  If your property is fully managed, these situations are handled by your lettings agent, ensuring you avoid the stress of potential confrontation.

With an ‘introduction only’ service you will enjoy the benefits of comprehensive marketing, the preparation of tenancy agreements and background checks on your tenants but once the tenants move in, the buck stops with you, as the landlord. This means you must be available on a 24 hour basis and ensure provision for the management of your property is in place while you are away on holiday.

We appreciate this may not be an easy decision.  To discuss the options available to you as a landlord with Redstones, call us today and we will be happy to explain the pros and cons of our various services to you.

Redstones Newcastle

Redstones Welcomes Its Latest Franchisee! – Redstones Newcastle upon Tyne

Redstones is delighted this week to welcome Craig Scott, the latest addition to our franchise network.  Craig will be opening his Redstones lettings agency in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 1st June 2014.

With a background in lettings, investing in a property franchise was the ideal route for Craig to launch his own business.  Prior to selecting Redstones as his franchisor, Craig explored opportunities with several other lettings agency franchises.  Here, he shares his experience, from his initial contact with Redstones, through to the completion of his training.

‘What impressed me most about Redstones, was their open and honest approach in handling my initial enquiry.   Not only did Manjit and Chris respond to me promptly, but they also gave me the chance to ask as many questions as I wanted, and answered me honestly and clearly.

I had looked into other property franchises, but was immediately drawn to Redstones due to the brand and the relatively low costs compared to others.  In doing my research, I made contact with all of the other available franchisor but never got the feeling they were as passionate about growing the network as Redstones are, or that my enquiry really mattered that much to them.  I was invited down to Redstones HQ to meet with Manjit and find out exactly what being a franchisee would involve.  I came prepared with my lists of questions, but all of these were answered through the presentation!

From here, I was given access to all of the current franchisees, who all backed up my initial thoughts about the strength of the brand, and the excellent on-going support provided to them, whenever they feel they need it.

The two weeks of training at head office has been a fantastic experience, with no stone left un-turned.  The staff all speak highly about working for an ambitious company, and showed great patience and professionalism in guiding me through the processes and procedures of a busy lettings agent.

I cannot thank Manjit and his team enough for all of their support, and am feeling proud and excited about being part of Redstones’ continuing success.’

At Redstones, we pride ourselves on transparency and an unrivalled dedication to our franchisees in order to give them every opportunity to succeed.  This open approach is reflected in Craig’s experience from his initial enquiry through to completion of his training, but it doesn’t stop there.

We will continue to support him as he launches his new business; support which includes spending two days on site in Newcastle, followed by telephone and operational advice which is available as and when he needs it.   We will also accompany Craig on his initial meetings with landlords as appropriate to ensure he secures his first clients.

On top of that, Craig will benefit from our comprehensive marketing strategy which takes advantage of state-of-the-art technology, our Switch Agents programme and our superlative Platinum Total Care Service.

Our franchise territories are larger than average, to give all of our franchisees an equal opportunity to build a lucrative business – and also to give them room to expand.  As Craig has previous experience in the estate agency market, he has taken advantage of the option to launch a residential sales division of his business from the outset.

The Redstones franchise model does not require our franchisees to operate from a high street premises, but Craig has the option to do so when his business is established. Whatever he decides, he will have the continual support of our team to enable him to achieve his business goals.

Welcome to Redstones, Craig!

If you are interested in becoming a Redstones franchisee, we would love to hear from you.  Contact us today and join our growing network of successful business owners.  You’ll find additional franchisee testimonials in above vide.

The difference is Redstones.