Celebrating the success stories of our customers is one of our all time favourite things to do. It gives us a real warm, fuzzy feeling inside when we can share in the enthusiasm and excitement our clients feel about their accomplishments.
Last December, COHO's Helen Turner caught up with rent2rent landlord Sophie Foote; and together they reflected on the first year following the launch of Sophie's new venture. She shared her experience starting out as a franchise operator with ROOMS, and her plans to continue building her property portfolio.
After spending many years working as a scuba diving instructor throughout Southeast Asia and then owning her own scuba diving business in Indonesia, Sophie and her husband decided it was time to move back to the UK.
Sophie was looking for a new business venture to get stuck into and decided the support she would receive from ROOMS property management network was the way to go for her, so she started her journey to becoming a rent2rent landlord.
The first step Sophie took was market research. She researched the HMO market in the geographical area her business would be covering, and she found that the standard of rooms available to rent was generally poor. She identified a gap in the market for professional lets of a higher standard, and decided that she could fill this gap with beautiful HMO properties.
With the unwavering support of Gary Winter and Iain English of ROOMS, Sophie felt prepared for the fast-growth model of the rent2rent business. She received help with the setting up of her new business, including, licensing, compliance, and marketing.
As a result of this hard work, she achieved and surpassed her initial goal by taking on seven properties in her first ten months of operation.
She did this with determination and dedication to being systemised from the outset. Starting out as a rent2rent operator requires the ability to coordinate and prioritise tasks, so that the high standards required to succeed in the industry are met from day one.
Sophie subscribed to COHO to help her achieve the level of organisation required, and she found that it helped her streamline the management of her properties, from tenant onboarding to resolving maintenance issues, in a concise, time-efficient and cost-effective way.
One of the core business values for Sophie is to provide a great tenant experience.
Sophie sets herself apart from the competition by being on the ball with resolving maintenance requests. She recognises that tenants want clear communication channels and timely responses when they raise concerns. Being heard and having issues resolved quickly makes tenants happy, and Sophie is able to prioritise this with COHO's built-in message centre.
Sophie is on a mission to improve the standard of HMOs in the Southampton area; she wants her properties to be “comfortable, clean, and beautiful” - and in a market where HMOs have historically had a reputation for being substandard, providing a superior living experience is integral to her success. Moreover, being able to maintain that standard efficiently will help Sophie's tenants feel valued and that their environment matters to her, no doubt resulting in longer tenancies.
COHO's tenant onboarding feature allows Sophie to begin the application process for new tenants immediately following a successful viewing.
She asks them to download the app there and then, if they haven't already done so prior to the viewing (because they can be invited to viewings directly through COHO, don't you know).
Quickly ticking off tasks through COHO, such as referencing and settling the initial fee, really streamlines the onboarding process for Sophie, and means tenants are using COHO from the very beginning. Sophie finds that it is these tenants that will then encourage others to get on board with COHO as they immediately see the benefits, especially with the ease of communication regarding maintenance issues.
Sophie's passion is the business development side of her role as a rent2rent landlord.
She loves going to viewings of weird and wonderful houses and imagining how she can turn them around to be profitable for her and the property owner
Having COHO on board has allowed Sophie to scale up so much quicker, and affords her the luxury of focusing on the aspects of her business that she really enjoys. Being a rent2rent operator really does require a complex skillset, and let's be honest, who relishes the thought of sitting and trawling through spreadsheets? I'd put my money on that being at the bottom of everyone's to-do-list. By having everything that is needed to run a rent2rent business all in one, user-friendly place, COHO frees up time to target business growth and development…and maybe bag a property that would have otherwise been missed.
When we spoke to Sophie, she had just taken on a property ready for refurbishment, which she expected would cost approximately £24,000. She was aiming to completely overhaul the house with the fitting of new bathrooms and kitchen, and she speculated that she was hoping to achieve an extra £200 per room in rent following the completion of the work.
Sophie has firmly found her place in the rent2rent business and shared with us that she was aiming to take on 12 new properties in 2022. Her intention is to then invest some of that cash flow into purchasing properties to bring on as her own assets. It would be great to catch up with Sophie and find out how she got along and what her plans for world domination are next.
Sophie has worked exceptionally hard to scale up her impressive rent2rent portfolio at lightning speed. If you want to share in Sophie's knowledge and hear her chat about support networks, accountability partners and much more, you can listen to the whole interview by visiting our youtube channel