Over the course of my 10 years at Rettie & Co, as senior portfolio manager, I often get asked two interconnected questions: why someone should choose Rettie over competitors and why do I like my job.
In a nutshell, the answer to both is the same: one point of contact. Generally, that prompts the question of what makes having one point of contact so special. This, however, can’t be answered in a nutshell.
For those not familiar with Rettie & Co’s one point of contact concept, the way we work is that our team of ten portfolio managers each personally manage a portfolio of properties, with the management being from start to finish. We don’t have a separate maintenance team, move in, or move out team but instead we oversee the entire process holistically and personally. This one point of contact is the reason I choose to work with Rettie & Co over our competitors and it’s the reason I’d recommend us over our competitors for any landlord or tenant.
Personally speaking, I enjoy the relationships I’ve made with both my landlords and tenants. I’ve known some of these customers for years; they’ve congratulated me when I got married and wished me well when I had a baby. Likewise, I’ve enjoyed hearing about their news over the years too. There are very few places to work where you can keep in touch so often with customers, and I really appreciate and value that aspect.
From a professional standpoint, the advantages of having one point of contact are numerous. I know the property inside out. I’ve seen it before a tenant moves in, I know all the cleaning, and works done—including repairs, improvements, and safety certificates—both recent and historic. There are several benefits from a maintenance stance to this longstanding knowledge of the property and its condition.
For example, if a tenant reports a faulty radiator in the bedroom, I can ask is that the bedroom to the rear next to the kitchen or the small one at the front where your child sleeps. This means the tenant knows I care about the issue, the contractor gets an accurate worksheet, and the landlord has peace of mind. The landlord is assured and can trust that I know which room is affected, that the contractor has the right information.
Throughout a tenancy I know the tenant – I’ve run their references, which means I know their employment history and their background and built a rapport with them from the start. I’ve generally met them when they collect keys. I check they get settled in and I confidently assist with maintenance issues because I know the property. Throughout their tenancy, I get to know each tenant, so they can talk to me freely because they know me and trust me.
Similarly, I can report back to the landlord with the same trust. When it comes time for tenants to leave, I know what their property looked like when they moved in, which is invaluable when it comes to deposit deduction discussions. Since I know the property’s condition from both move in and move out, I know the differences in cleaning and condition of the fixtures and fittings. This gives both tenants and landlords confidence that these negotiations are fair.
Another major consideration is ‘asset management’, which other companies have focused on to the same extent. I’ve got an understanding of the condition of the property over many years, am aware of the landlords’ circumstances, and the value of their asset to them. This means I’m ideally situated to take a long-term view that helps to protect their property. This forward-looking mindset allows me to recommend improvements for the property, while keeping an eye on the rental market and ensuring that the rent level stays competitive.
When it comes to big expenses—be that renovations tailored toward asset management or stemming from legislation (eg. new water tank because of legionella checks or environmental improvements because of EPC changes)—I know that my landlords trust I have their best interest at heart. I understand their property, their budget, and their future plans, so we can have sensible conversations about what is best for them and their property.
Overall, I think the one point of contact provides the framework for a very personal service that is tailored for each individual landlord, tenant, and property. We have a detailed knowledge of each property and this instils our landlords and tenants with a great amount of trust in Rettie, giving us the confidence to always do what’s best for our customers. Our customers know that we always act with their interests at heart, which brings me back to the personal aspect and job satisfaction. Being personally invested in your portfolio brings the best from our portfolio managers as well.