Stephanie Richardson from Harker & Bullman talks to us about how hard work, high standards and experience have created a successful letting agency
Stephanie, you’ve been running a specialist Lettings and Property Management business for over 25 years – what is Harker & Bullman’s secret?
Actually, I don’t think there is a particular ‘secret’ or magic route behind success in this industry. There is certainly no substitute for the hard work, level headedness, good communication and eye for detail needed to ensure happy Landlords and Tenants.
Our business model has actually been quite simple- to find out what the client wants, always deliver on our promises and to treat all customers fairly, honestly and with respect. It’s the only way to generate real trust.
Some people like the idea of investing in property but are nervous of letting – how would you reassure them?
For many of our clients, property investment has proved to be a very good long term move – a constantly rising rental income in addition to great capital appreciation.
As with any investment, there is always a degree of risk but this can be minimised with good advice and preparation before a tenancy begins. By that I mean robust tenant referencing, the correct legal paperwork and a detailed Schedule Of Condition. Letting a property is just the start of our job so the work continues with regular property inspections, dealing promptly with repairs and efficient rent collection. For added peace of mind, our Platinum service includes rent guarantee and Legal Insurance.
How do you feel about the increasing volume of legislation?
We have always refused to let sub-standard property so welcome regulations that ensure tenant safety. Transparency of fees is, again, something we have always believed in.
However, more regulation means further processes we need to implement to ensure that our Landlords stay protected. We regularly review and update our systems to cope with any changes and most importantly our staff are trained to specialise in particular areas e.g. dedicated Property Managers as distinct from our Legal team.
Why do you think Letting Agents have such a bad name?
Unfortunately, the good ones (like us!) don’t make the headlines. Too many agents have seen lettings as an easy option but in reality there is a great deal to know and understand – there is no room for cutting corners in this business. Being a Letting Agent is a big responsibility – you are often dealing with someone’s most valuable asset as well as someone else’s home and we don’t forget it.
We manage over 300 properties across Bournemouth, Poole, East Dorset and Blandford and some of our Landlords have been with us for over 30 years! We are regulated by ARLA Propertymark and people say they feel safe having H&B as their lettings partner.
Tel. 01202 889088