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Under the skin of the letting market

Here we share news and views on both the local letting market in & around Oxfordshire and all planned and recent legislation.


My Week with Finders Keepers


Finders Keepers

Before my week at Finders Keepers I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the Property Lettings business.

It seemed to me to be pretty straightforward, however, looking back at my week at Finders Keepers reminded me of when a friend recommends a good book to read.  The title and strap lines may hook you in but it is only when you open the cover and delve inside the pages that you really understand the story line and so it was when I started my week of  ‘work experience’ at Finders Keepers!

My first day at East Oxford office began with the Monday morning meeting where I received a warm welcome by all the teams and immediately felt at home.  Lettings, Property Management and Students Lettings sitting together to discuss the weekly report, new deals, events over the weekend, actions planned for that day and a look at the week ahead in particular, The List campaign which was launching on 2 December.  At that time, it was a bit like listening to a foreign language you learned at school  – not really knowing enough at that time to fully translate the messages into their intended action but enough to understand the focus and direction.  By the end of the week, words like Surrender, Dashboard, Inspection, TDS and Relo Agent were fully understood and I even learned a new definition for the term ‘Mixed Gender’!

In Abingdon

My next stop was Abingdon, where I had the chance to spend time with Colin’s team.  Viewings took me into the Oxfordshire countryside, to Marsh Baldon, Drayton and Aston Tirrold and I was starting to get a feeling that this was business that was both challenging and hugely rewarding. Here was the opportunity to be responsible for letting and managing a significant investment portfolio of property – it wasn’t just about finding a tenant a home – this was a business that was focused on finding the right tenant for the landlord, to focus on letting properties of quality that would command higher rents and therefore generate greater income and to build strong relationships with clients for the long term.

With The Student Letting Team

Students Lettings Day!  I attended the morning meeting with Julia and her team on the first floor at East Oxford.  The objective was to go through The List and make any pertinent notes against specific properties that would prove useful to the team when speaking with the applicants the following week, such as information on gardening fees, cleaning requirements and exact location.  The whole campaign was planned to run like a well-oiled machine and I could almost imagine the buzz on Tuesday 2 December when a plethora of young men and women, eager to secure the ‘party house of their dreams’, would queue up the staircase in order to be the first to strike gold!

The afternoon was a first for me – being driven around Oxford in the Finders Keepers taxi!  Fantastic!  Annabel was taking me to a couple of viewings on Valencia Road and Roger Dudman Way followed by a trip to Bookers where my driving skills were put to the test whilst trying to steer a rather large and unruly shopping trolley around the aisles!  The reason for the visit to Bookers? To purchase hot chocolate for the students the following week when they came to FKSL. A lovely thought and indicative of the genuine care and concern I saw and experienced throughout the week.

North Oxford

North Oxford started with the morning meeting chaired by Ben and an introduction to the Lettings Team. James then took me to some viewings with two relocation agents looking at properties in Farmoor, Wytham and Kirtlington and then back to North Oxford where I had the chance to meet with Dan, Frank and Maryse. During the afternoon I met with Jane in Decorum Interiors, Victoria in Marketing and Adam and Alan in Accounts so this was a great opportunity for me to get a really good overview of the structure, support and services that Finders Keepers offers from North Oxford.  All too soon the day was over and my week was almost at an end.

East Oxford

My final day was spent at East Oxford where I had the chance to experience a ‘check-out’ with Hannah at The Sycamores. I’m sure this must be the kind of ‘check out’ every Property Manager would love – a tenant who had cleaned the property immaculately and had everything ready to hand over.  Natalie then took me to complete some inspections on 4 studio flats.

Joining Ady and Natalie in the afternoon we went to Stanton St John to do a check-out of a 2 bedroom property where the tenant had already vacated.  I assisted Ady with taking photographs, at least, I hope I assisted and produced some decent photos (apologies in advance)! I realise that ensuring you have good photographic evidence is really important to record for the future.

All too soon my week was at an end but my knowledge and understanding of this business had increased dramatically.  Everyone I met was keen to share their knowledge and experience with me and I gleaned from my interactions with the teams that they were both dedicated and focused on providing the best service they could for their clients and tenants – not just in the short term but to continue to deliver the professional customer service they had provided over their very many years of employment with Finders Keepers.

I know that I probably only touched the surface and have much more to learn but like many a good book, it was irresistible to put down, wanting to know what happens next and to see what the next chapter may bring.

Penny

We gladly provided Penny with a comprehensive insight into what Finders Keepers do after she indicated an interest in a potential career change relating to her prior experience.

It was great to have Penny with us and we hope she enjoyed the time she spent in all of the Finders Keepers’ offices.