A day in the life of a Social Angel
Let’s start with Jane:
Hi, I’m Jane Gardner and I have been in the property industry for… 36 LONG YEARS… and, guess what, I still work ‘in the business, all day most days’ so here is a typical day in my current week:
Every day starts with taking my beagle Daisy for a walk and feeding all of the birds in Chorleywood. Honestly, I spend more on bird food than I do on my own food. I am very lucky to have 4 acres of land – with a lot of bird feeders dotted around – so I go on a trawl through the garden and once all of the feeders are filled I will sit and drink a latte while Daisy chases rabbits and I record my daily TikTok video [tip for the video shy: you have to make it part of your routine or, if you are around my age, which nearly has a 6 at the front (ouch) then you just won’t do it!]. Once I have finished feeding the birds and my TikTok video is loading, I head across the road and take a walk through Chorleywood Common (again feeding the crows – my son calls me “Crowella”) and this really gets my mind into work mode (the walk and fresh air, not the crows). I try to listen to a book whilst walking and this morning ritual (every single day including weekends and holidays) gets me into a positive mindset.
I am now at my desk and have replied to my emails and made a plan for the day. This will be split into a variety of segments throughout the day as I have a pretty full calendar most of the time (I do try to keep Friday’s calendar free and put my out-of-office on my emails so that I can put my head down for those ‘BIG’ projects). Firstly I will have a Zoom with the team, now that we all work remotely it is important to know what we are working on so that we can share ideas and help each other with any specialized tasks. I always read the property news first thing (6-7am!) so I can inform everyone of any news or topics that are trending so that we can update our client’s social media pages.
This morning we were joined by Rosie! You see we are all animal lovers on this team.
I have been designing and content-writing a new “Landlord Terms of Business” and “Ready to Proceed” booklet for my clients at Lets Rent in Bristol. I just built them a new website over Christmas and they wanted their terms of business to reflect the look of the site. I have just sent that off to my client and was delighted to receive this little bit of feedback “OOOOOOOO – I think I am having a heart attack – Not even gone through the document but oh my god – I love you guys soo much!” In fact, Adil has read the document now and it is good to go, no amends.
I love to write content for letting agents. Having owned and run my lettings agency Sewell & Gardner from 2002 to 2014 I am obsessed with writing content. I love blogging and writing articles for clients, for newspapers and magazines, back in my agency days, I had a brochure for everything. I clearly remember one evening in 2013 when we put together all of our new literature, which had just arrived in a printed glossy format, for the “Sunday Times Letting Agency of the Year Awards” entry. We had 7 different brochures and were over the moon to have them showcased on the big screen at the main event, and also, that year, we were named the Best Letting Agency in the UK winners and achieved 5 gold subject awards to boot. The highlight of my career!
I have been sent a .mp4 radio recording of a BBC broadcast with one of my clients Charles Robinson of Jones Robinson who has just completed a charity fundraiser and I need to make this into a video and edit the length so that this can go onto their social media channels. It’s quite a long job so I will do that later when the phones are quiet.
Talking about charity – I have been updating the Agents Giving Charity Website – which I look after – with 2 event pages. The British Property Cycle Event which is taking place throughout October. I have designed the leaflet and the web page ready for sign-ups.
I have also updated the Agents Do Strictly website page for those taking part in the charity dance-off at the Summer Ball in July. I shall be meeting all of the contestants on Saturday 18th Feb for their first intro lesson and I cannot wait to feel that excitement as they meet their professional partners. Having taken part in the Strictly Agents Dancing myself in 2017, and LOVED every minute of the experience, I just relish seeing their nervous faces and watching the transformation as they learn their routines and become proper ballroom or Latin dancers. As a board member, I organize all of the marketing, website, and Facebook posts, and I run the Ambassador meetings, so it sure keeps me a busy bee!
Social media time. Today I am covering ProSports Facebook & Instagram for Lydia, one of our account managers, who is not working today. I get to check out all of the sports-action for these professional photographers and I have just made 2 video reels and posted them for @officialpompey #PortsmouthFC. It makes a refreshing change from everything property!
It’s time for my weekly Lettings Consultancy Zoom meeting with Claire Woodrow of Ashington Page in Beaconsfield. I have been working with Claire since before Covid started, but from our Zoom photo, you’d think we were missing our facemasks. In fact, we’ve both had a long old day and just didn’t want to be on camera, but this blog post was beckoning!
So what have we discussed today?
Firstly, we talked about the residential rental market this week. It has been madly busy, Claire is currently tying up 5 offers and we chatted over the pricing achieved, concluding that they were all higher than for previous tenancies. This week’s pricing ranges from a 6% rent increase YoY for a 1-bed apartment with 2 secure parking spaces in an exclusive block – now up to £1320pcm, to a 66% rent increase for a 2-bed apartment with 1 allocated parking space in Beaconsfield – now up to £1350pcm, to a 140% rent increase for another 1-bed apartment, this time in Chalfont St Giles at £1075pcm. The news is full of high demand and low stock for tenants at the moment and clearly, that is also the case in Buckinghamshire!
We next discussed the case of a lovely 1 bedroom cottage, just being negotiated for a new tenancy at £1400pcm, and quite an amusing story because the landlord no longer wishes to include bills in the rental price after the previous tenant installed a hot tub in the garden. With the huge increase in energy prices at the moment, it is most definitely a wise move to keep rent and utility bills totally separate.
Sadly, we also had to discuss the best stance to take for a 1* Google review. A disgruntled applicant decided to complain after their offer was not accepted. They wanted to include a break clause in the contract, to pay their rent upfront and not provide a previous landlord reference. They were dealing with a lovely new trainee who really did try to oblige them, but the landlord was not interested. So terribly unfair to receive a bad review just because the potential tenant’s offer did not go the way they planned. I must state that Ashington Page is one of the most genuine and above-board agencies I have had the pleasure to work with, their internal complaints procedure is clearly written on their website, and they are members of ARLA Propertymark and The Property Ombudsman. If this applicant had really wanted their complaint investigated they could easily have gone down the correct route for a formal complaint. [FYI: All estate and letting agents must legally show their complaints process on their website and make it readily available if asked, and, they must belong to a redress scheme, which has the power to award up to £25,000 in damages]. Sadly it was easier to knock the confidence of a thoroughly nice chap who is starting out in the industry, and whose only mistake was to perhaps give false hope to the applicant (in his month 4 enthusiasm for getting a deal) when the landlord was clearly not happy with the offer put forward.
As you can see by my certificate below, I have my Level 4 Certificate in Residential Lettings & Property Management (in fact, I was the first candidate in the UK to pass this level and I am now an examiner for this qualification) so you can believe me when I say I have looked at this complaint and the correspondence, and it has no legs at all. Just sour grapes and an online review platform, which, can really hurt a trainee when they are trying to learn their trade. I genuinely hope it just serves as a lesson to never take the side of the tenant when the landlord is the client you have a contract with. FYI: I have explained that all reviews need to be responded to in a timely manner, not just the bad ones, and the director of the agency will be doing this over the next 3 days, as per their complaints process. Never fear a bad review, respond in a friendly factual manner, give the details of the process to follow for a complaint, and use it as a learning tool.
Oh lastly, we have a sign-off from Claire: “What do you call 50 Estate Agents at the bottom of the sea?” (answer at the bottom of the article)…
Well, I still try to write a lot of content, so if I am not writing blogs for my clients, then I am writing them for me (or for you to read). So I have now almost finished this article, and just need to respond to some of the enquiries which have come in today, sign off with my PA until the morning, and pour myself a ‘little’ glass of wine. Well I actually have to take Daisy out for her evening walk first, but you have to give the wine a chance to breathe!
If you have any questions at all, you can send me an enquiry using the form below, or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be in touch by the end of the day!
Jane Gardner. FARLA, MNAEA
“A good start.”
Here are a couple of videos from my personal TikTok account and our ocial Angels account! If you are using the App, please follow us and we will reciprocate!
@socialangelsltd Amazing achievement for anyone nominated for the #propertymark Qualification Awards today #britishmuseum 🏆🏆 #lettings #estateagents #propertyqualifications ♬ original sound – Social Angels
@janepaulagardner LEGAL COMPLIANCE FOR PROPERTY PROFESSIONALS #estateagentsuk #lettingagentsuk #commonlawduties #compliance #doitright #LEVEL4qualified ♬ original sound – riley