Uploading properties to property portals
Last week’s blog post outlined our plans for developing RentPro over the course of the next year, but the survey in October also highlighted that there are existing features with our management software which many landlords and letting agents are not aware of, or are not using to their full extent. To this end, we’ll be focussing on some of these software features in our blog posts, explaining the benefits you can enjoy from using them, as well as offering practical advice on how to get the most from them. Starting this week with the ability to upload to property portals, which improves the marketing of vacant properties, and helps reduce rental voids…
Each property within RentPro may have descriptions, features, bullet points, rental values, etc. stored on the Property Details tab. This is the information which is used for advertising the property, rather than being relevant to the property management aspect of your letting agency’s services. Some of this data is mandatory, depending on the portal, so it’s in your own interest to complete as much of it as possible. This data is collated according to the portal data specification, and along with property images and EPC certificates will be automatically sent to the portal by RentPro.
At the top of the Property Details tab there is a marketing status drop-down box where you can indicate whether a property should be marketed as vacant. Full details on the marketing status, and other property details fields may be found in the user manual entry on the Property Details tab. By default this is set to Do Not Advertise, but it can be changed to Advertise – To Let, and Advertise – Let Agreed, which advertise the property with the appropriate letting status. Just be careful not to leave a property’s status at “Advertise – Let Agreed” for too long as some property portals may view this as abuse, perhaps suspecting that you may be attempting to make your letting agency look active and successful. These marketing status are not just applicable to portals, but apply to advertising in other media, e.g. if you are using the RentPro API it will determine which properties are fed to your own website, and it will also determine which properties appear on your vacant property lists.
A property is deemed vacant if there are no tenancies, or if the most recent tenancy has the Notice Served indicator set. This may be the case if the current tenant has served their notice but hasn’t moved out yet, and you wish to start advertising that property immediately. You can see a list of your vacant rental properties via Reports > Alerts > Vacancy Report. If there are non-standard circumstances these will be highlighted by a blue information icon, e.g. vacant properties which you have explicitly chosen not to advertise, or properties which aren’t vacant but which you have chosen to advertise. Basically any properties where you have overridden the default behaviour.
RentPro supports automatic uploads to all the main property portals including RightMove, Zoopla, Globrix, FindaProperty, Prime Location, and Fish4Homes, as well as Property News, PropertyPal in Northern Ireland. In fact, the Rightmove format has become the de-facto for portal uploads, so if there’s a portal which we don’t currently support, then we’ll add support for it free of charge.
The rental property uploads take place automatically several times a day, depending on the portal. There is often a slight delay at the portal end so it may be several hours before your property details are updated on the relevant portal website.
So, what do you need to do to activate property uploads to a portal? Firstly, and probably quite obviously, you’ll need an account with the portal(s). Then you need to contact your account manager with the portal and tell them you wish to upload rental properties for our RentPro management software, and they will in turn contact us to configure the portal feed. Then it’s all automated from there on. There’s no cost from RentPro, but portals typically charge a monthly subscription fee which varies depending on the number of properties you wish to advertise with them. Some portals, e.g. Property News, charge per property listing so you may want to closely manage which properties are uploaded. You can override the upload behaviour by ticking the Exclude From Uploads checkbox.
If you’ve any questions about starting to advertise your vacant rental properties on the various property portals then please contact the RentPro team and we’ll be happy to chat further about this.