My local high-street letting agent wanted to charge me £4,400 + VAT for finding a tenant for a commercial property, an online agent charged £160 + VAT for the exact same service!
Let me explain how and where, so you can also find tenants for your commercial property for peanuts!
The process for finding tenants for a commercial property is just like finding tenants for a regular BTL, only it’s generally a little more expensive, but it typically involves the same steps:
- Market the property
- Process the enquiries
- Schedule and take viewings
- Create a tenancy with the most appropriate applicant.
Sound familiar? Good!
Most commercial landlords will naturally use a traditional high-street letting agent to source the tenant, and consequently result in paying through the nose for the privilege. What? It’s true :)
But in this digital age, there’s a cheaper alternative to sourcing commercial tenants that is arguably just as effective. That option is called an Online Letting Agent. You may or may not have heard of them. And if you have, you may not have realised that they cater for commercial landlords.
Many BTL landlords have already cottoned on and quickly made the switch over from using traditional high-street agents to online letting agents, but commercial landlords aren’t shifting as quickly, and I suspect that’s largely because BTL landlords have a higher tenant turnover, so they’re forced to be more active and informed with the latest trends.
Either way, if you’re a Commercial landlord, it’s important to realise that you can use an online Commercial letting agent to advertise your property on “Rightmove Commercial” to find tenants for a fraction of the cost compared to a traditional high-street agent, and generate just as many enquiries.
How to advertise on Rightmove & Zoopla Commercial!
|Letting Agent||Rating||Duration||Includes / Notes||Price|
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Commercial Let package
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What is a Commercial Online Agent? How do they differ from a high-street agent?
Don’t be misguided… Online agents have the same aims and objectives as any other traditional high-street agent, and that is to find tenants as quickly as possible.
However, they do have a few primary differences, and I’ve listed the main notable one’s below…
Online Commercial Lettings Agents don’t have local branches/offices
Unlike traditional high-street letting agents, online agents don’t have physical branches/offices on the high-street. Instead, they typically have a centralised office(s) where the operations are managed and telephone communication is the key to providing support. All their services and selling is managed online via their website. This set-up explains why online agents can offer a much cheaper solution to landlords, simply because their running costs are drastically smaller.
Makes sense, innit?
Online agents will pass all the enquiries received for your property onto yourself to process (e.g. to contact the prospective tenants to arrange viewings), while a high-street agent usually keep all the enquiries and process them internally.
When using an online agent, the landlord is typically expected to take the viewings, whereas with a high-agent, a local agent will typically take the viewings for you, and you’re reliant upon their feedback.
Personally, I always prefer to meet all my prospective tenants, and I know many landlords feel the same. And that’s because there’s a lot to be said about meeting potential tenants face-to-face on the viewing, allowing the landlord to get a clearer picture of who they are and what they’re like.
If you’re happy to take the viewings (which most commercial landlords are prepared to do), and wish to save a buttload of money on finding tenants, then using an online letting agent to source commercial tenants could definitely be an ideal solution for you.
No hidden fees
High-street agents are notorious for applying hidden fees, which are strategically stuffed into the contract. Of course, they usually surface after it’s too late.
From my experience, online agents operate on a “Fixed fee” basis- your property stays advertised for a single payment, and they don’t charge any extra commission or administration charges. In fact, I’m unaware of any online agent that doesn’t adhere to a fixed fee policy, because that’s kind of their selling-point and how they differentiate themselves from the high-street bandits.
The importance of being listed on “Rightmove Commercial”
I’ve ranted and raved about how important it is for landlords [of all varieties] to market their vacant property on Rightmove to statistically stand the best chance of finding tenants quickly. Regardless of whether you use a high-street agent or an online agent, I wouldn’t recommend going without an agent that utilises Rightmove.
Rightmove is by far the most popular UK property portal, and that’s because they get more prospective UK commercial tenants viewing their stock compared to any other UK website. “Rightmove Commercial” alone receives over 2 million monthly searches, and they have over 40,000 commercial properties listed, including office, retail, leisure, hospitality, industrial, and warehouse spaces and facilities.
That’s a whole lot of marketing power (which every UK Commercial landlord should be exposed to)!
And the reality is, most high-street agents get the vast majority of their leads from Rightmove, and NOT from local marketing.
More on online letting agents and how they work
I’ve written more of an in depth blog post on online letting agents, which provides further information on the general concept of an online agent, and how they operate and differ from high-street lettings agents. However, that article is specifically for BTL landlords, but the general principles apply in most cases.
Disclaimer: I'm just a landlord blogger; I'm 100% not qualified to give legal or financial advice. I'm a doofus. Any information I share is my unqualified opinion, and should never be construed as professional legal or financial advice. You should definitely get advice from a qualified professional for any legal or financial matters. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.