Latest News

January Newsletter


Welcome to the first edition of the 2013 Newsletter! Full of exciting and interesting stories.

Getting closer to the customer- Facebook Property Integration

Not sure how to make the most of Facebook to maximise exposure on your properties?

At dezrez we are very social! We can help you set up your Facebook page and give you tips on how to get the most customer interaction.

Did you know that on October the 4th, Facebook’s population matched the population of the entire world in 1804. That’s an interesting fact for you there. But do you think back then they used social platforms to sell properties? Nor do I. But in today’s environment the marketplace is now in the cloud and online. Online shopping has increased hugely in such a short space, people can now shop around to find their preferences; made even better with the search functions and filters that apps provide.

With the evolution of mankind brings new challenges and new opportunities, we’re currently such a social society that we’ve now integrated your properties and website with a facebook integration plugin. Allowing users to search, ‘like’ and potentially share properties which they themselves like or potentially want their friends to see. We all understand how quickly viral marketing can spread over the internet, will one of those be your properties? 



















In an increasingly competitive environment, it’s important to stay one step ahead in the market.

So what can you use Facebook for?

Promote your personality- Too many organisations use social media to simply promote their products and services, ‘product dumps’ as I refer to them. This is good for getting exposure of products, but done too much or if there is too large of an emphasis placed on them then it will have a negative impact as the public will see you as just soliciting; deterring them from interacting, engaging and following you as a company. What you need to do is mix your marketing up with some off-topic posts to show the people behind the brand, talk about the local footy, or what you’ve been getting up into the office.

Take below for example, this is what we did to Kevin’s desk when he went solo on the bacon roll order.




Be a social butterfly- Social media isn’t just a broadcasting tool. It’s made for people to communicate over the internet. This means that instead of just posting about yourself, it isn’t a bad thing to reply to individuals, organisations if they ask questions or ask for opinions on topics. Ask questions when you tweet or post, this may help get a response from individuals who feel strongly or have an opinion on the matter.

Promote your business with advertising- Facebook have an advertising tool where you can effectively segment your target market into many different categories. You will then have the option to pay per click or pay per impression, the cost of these differ depending on what you are promoting and the budget you have available. In comparison this is a cheaper advertising option then Linkedin and priced similarly to Google Adwords. The important question you have to ask here is if you feel it is a beneficial way to promote your organisation which will have a return on investment. What tangible results can you forsee from using Facebook advertising? One potential argument for a Facebook advertising budget is that you are generating a much higher level of exposure and awareness of your organisation.

Make Facebook work for you and let it become an essential part of your property marketing strategy.

Begin integrating your properties directly from Dezrez and place more emphasis on engaging rather than uploading. Watch our video below to see the Facebook Property Search in action. 



Top 10 Estate Agents for January

Our Top 10 Estate Agents For January
  1. Derbyshire Properties - Alfreton 
  2. Orchard Sales and Lettings - Orchard Sales
  3. Harvey Robinson - Huntingdon Office
  4. Chase Buchanan - St Margarets Office
  5. Sullivan Thomas - Bishops Park
  6. Emsleys - Crossgates Office
  7. The Property Cafe - Bexhill Office
  8. Rampton Baseley - Battersea Office
  9. Gallery@HD1 – Huddersfield Office
  10. Bloore and King Limited – Halesowen Office

All of these estate agents have achieved this status by consistently using 90% or more of the entire dezrez system. We can monitor your usage of dezrez from our specially designed software, making it possible for us to tailor training specifically for your estate agency. We can also offer you advice on how to improve efficiency in your estate agency.



Van Mildert- Integrated Tenant Referencing


Efficiency is all About the Timing

According to an article published in December in The Journal of Clinical Psychology the second most common New Years Resolution is to "Get organised and waste less time". According to the same article there are only 8% of people who achieve their New Years Resolution. 80% of people who do not achieve their resolutions say that it is because they didn't have time!

Every business knows how important it is to be efficient and to use time effectively.

A business being more effective with its time than its competitors will be able to do one, some or all of the following:

• Provide a higher level of service with a lower number of staff.
• Charge higher fees because it can provide a better level of service.
• Charge lower fees and provide the same or a better level of service than its competitors.
• Be more proactive about growing the business and targeting new leads - staff who are normally tied up with administration can be given more proactive tasks.

As the article quoted above suggests, it can be very hard to identify areas where we can become more efficient and even harder to prioritise the time to change inefficient processes and work on new, more efficient practices.
At Dezrez we are proud that our software helps to promote efficient practice in our clients' businesses. Everything in our software has been designed to save you time and we strive to keeping adding features which will further help you with this.
One area where many of our clients have told us that they feel they waste a lot of time is in lettings. The nature of lettings is that there are many small things when letting a property. It is also the case than barely any of these tasks can be completed in one go. For example, getting a CP12 organised should only be a five minute job but it is spread over two or three days and four smaller components and therefore actually causes about 25 minutes of "interruption" to the working week.
Dezrez is committed to helping you reduce these instances for you wherever possible, after all that is what software is there for.

A major area where Dezrez can help is through "Integrated Tenant Referencing". Dezrez's launched its integrated tenant referencing service in 2011 with tenant referencing partner, Van Mildert. After a very successful roll out and a large number of Dezrez clients using the service, Van Mildert carried out a survey and a "time in motion" study with 50 letting agents who were not using Van Mildert and the Dezrez integrated referencing services and 50 letting agents who were using Van Mildert and the Dezrez integrated tenant referencing service.

In the survey, 86% of letting agents who did not use the Dezrez integrated tenant referencing said that they thought it took them less than five minutes to order and deal with references for each property. 96% of letting agents who use the integrated service thought that it took them less than five minutes.

Following the study, agents who did not use the service were surprised to find that it actually takes them, on average, 39 minutes to deal with the references for just one property. A difference of 34 minutes per property when compared to their initial perception.

Letting Agents who used the integrated tenant referencing through Dezrez were delighted to find that they were correct and that, on average, it took them around 4 minutes - a time saving of 35 minutes per property.

To put this into perspective, if a letting agent aims to let 5 properties per week, then not using the Dezrez integrated tenant referencing service wastes them around 151 hours per year.

When asked, 80% of the letting agents who used the Dezrez Integrated Tenant Referencing service said that, had they not been using the service, they would have had to employ another member of staff within the last six months.

To discuss the integrated tenant referencing service please call us a call now on 0845 465 22 22, the team will be delighted to provide you with a free trial of this great, time saving service.

Van Mildert- Tenant Referencing





Guest Article

Young turn back on equity based pensions and favour Buy To Let

Young people are increasingly less likely to favour equity based pensions according to research from Stanford Graduate School of Business. Their recent research found that 'depression babies' whose formative years have spanned major macro-economic events such as double dip recessions and banking crises tend to be more risk averse throughout their lifetime. In addition, Gregg McClymont, Labour’s pensions spokesman, recently confirmed what a lot of us already knew - that providers had lost much of their former reputation as a safe and prudent industry. “There is a lack of confidence, after the mis-selling scandal, and the lack of disclosure on costs and charges is also an issue for people’s trust,” he said.

Although pension investment has fallen across all age groups, declines in savers are steepest among those aged 22-29, falling from 43 per cent in 1997 to 24 per cent today, according to research by the Department for Work and Pensions. UK workers will soon be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension under a government plan to improve saving levels, but the DWP believes that up to 40 per cent of people may opt out of the scheme.

Some of the biggest pension funds, such as Fidelity Worldwide Investments and Standard Life Investments, are beefing up their property funds, while other groups are switching out of equities into bonds. “We are now weighted about 60 per cent equities, 30 per cent bonds and 10 per cent alternative investments such as real estate,” said one head of equity at a big UK asset manager. “Ten years ago, it would be almost entirely equity.”

This is the background to why more young people are looking for alternatives to stocks as they fear they will be left with lower incomes in retirement as returns from equities have dwindled in recent years. However, it also presents an opportunity for the property industry as low mortgage rates, rising rents and continued belief in the forward momentum of property prices are behind more agents reporting an upturn in buy-to-let investor activity. Yields on residential properties in the south-east average about 5 to 6 per cent, much higher than low yielding bonds and higher than the dividend yields on many stocks.

Although young people traditionally have less disposable income to invest in equities, there are many examples of financial services and IT workers, particularly those based in London, Bristol, Leeds and Manchester, who are investing annual bonuses in the deposit for a buy-to-let mortgage. One young investor is quoted as saying 'I don’t know anyone who would take a lump sum and give it to a pension manager. You read stories about pension funds collapsing and volatile equities and high fees and it isn’t appealing.'

With ARLA reporting increasing landlord confidence, and the Council of Mortgage Lenders confirming an 8% jump in the value of buy-to-let mortgages in the final quarter of 2012, it would appear the statistics are at last bearing out some fragile optimism for the buy-to-let sector.

Andrew Goldthorpe MRICS
Managing Director
PropertyPortal Group





Employee Spotlight

        Introducing...Matt Davies!

What is your position within dezrez?

Support Manager at Dezrez

New Year’s Resolutions?
To get back playing more Golf, I have neglected the golf course this year

How long have you been with dezrez for?
Into my 8th year. It’s a dynamic fun company to work for, it is very open and has a relaxed feel, everyone is approachable and has a willingness to help.

A short background about yourself

I was born and bred in Swansea. I have always been involved and interested in IT as my dad owned a software company. I studied IT in College and University, although I left University as I didn’t find the course enjoyable. During this time I worked as a bar man in a nightclub and started applying for IT technician jobs around Swansea. I was then employed by NTL in 2003 as a broadband, TV and phone technician where I worked for 2 years. In 2005 I saw an advert for an IT Support technician for a young growing software company in the estate agency industry. I went through the toughest interview of my life with Wilf and was lucky enough to be offered the position in Dezrez as a 1st Line IT Support Technician.


I started working for Dezrez in October 2005 where I quickly moved into a 2nd line position within 18 months and in 2007 after 2 years I was offered the Head of Support job. I have held this position ever since and have seen the support team grow from of 4 members to a team of 13 to date. We have 8 front line staff, 2 second line and portal staff, 1 portal manager, 1 head of first line and myself.

Funniest moment in dezrez
This is a tough question, I have had many funny moments in Dezrez, 3 of which stand out the most:

• I had a customer call up advising that she could not login, I asked her to enter her password and she started entering her password into the phone.
• I was connected to a customer’s PC trying to fix an issue they had with printing, I asked them if they could close the Window they had open so I could fix the problem they were experiencing, it then went very quiet on the phone after about 40 seconds the customer come back and said “Ok I have done that” I then asked “What have you closed” as the window was still open on the screen, they then advised me that they had closed the window in the office which was open.
• For secret Santa one year, I replaced our MD’s present with a fake present from the Christmas Tree in reception.

Favourite Film?
I have a few:

• Shawshank Redemption
• Cool Runnings
• Happy Gilmore
• Caddy Shack

What sports teams do you support?
Swansea City FC, I used to play football for Ynystawe but then I ruptured my Achilles tendon and went back to playing Golf.

What CDs do you keep in your car, favourite musics/ bands/ artists
CD’s????? is this a question from the 1990’s? You will find an iPod in my car, don’t really have a favourite band or artist, my iPod is full of different types of music. Although I do love to play the Disney Album when stuck in traffic, can’t beat a bit of Hakuna Matata. (my dad’s house is called Hakuna Matata)

Favourite food
Nandos!!!!! Hot Butterfly chicken, chips and garlic bread.

Most embarrassing moment
Too many, probably the most embarrassing, playing a welsh team championship match in golf, got angry punched my golf bag and then got to the next tee, pulled out my driver and I had snapped the graphite shaft from the punch.

Achievements
I play of a Golf handicap of +1, I wanted to turn professional but never put enough time into practicing, so it’s one of those “What If’s” I have also organised a Breast Cancer charity golf day when I was 18 to raise money for Dr Sharkawi and his team at Singleton Hospital cancer unit as my mum was diagnosed and treated for Breast Cancer in 1993. She has made a full recovery and I have the Pink Breast Cancer ribbon stitched into all of my golf shoes. I was also voted IT student of the year at Gorseinon College in 2000, Rhys our portal manager come second but he just copied all of my work! So I had 1st and 2nd really.

What dezrez product would you recommend and why? Including additional features and add ons.
I wouldn’t really recommend a specific product as the whole Dezrez product is fantastic. I would recommend our support team and the support we offer to our customers is the best in the industry.



Website of the month

I am pleased to announce Vitalspace is our website of the month for January.

Vitalspace have just released their brand new website, powered by the Dezrez XML API. The site takes advantage of the features of our API, utilising the “latest” and “featured” property feeds, and provides a large amount of useful information both to potential vendors and potential applicants. The site also maintains a strong brand presence, utilising their brand colours and ensuring that contact information is prominently displayed throughout the site.

Taking a leaf from Facebook, the search form invites visitors to interact, asking “Where would you like to live?” Once into the search results, further customisation of search parameters is possible. Full property details are intelligently laid out, with the most important information prominently laid out at the top, with more in depth details of each room further down for those who need them.

Congratulations to Vitalspace!



Our Blog

We've been blogging loads recently. Have a look at our blog and see our most recent articles, they include:

We have at least two new blog articles out every week so be sure to check in and have a read. We'll be writing about product updates, opinions on property market news, product developments and much more!



Wilf's Message

How seriously do you take customer feedback? Here at Dezrez we take it very seriously.

Each time our support team complete a support call we ask for agent feedback. We want to know how satisfied you guys are and was there anything we could have done better? Simple but effective! If we get a low score from a client we make sure we call them and find out what we could have done better! This is part of the 1% philosophy! Make little improvements in our service often.

Our support questionnaire has 4 simple questions and a comments box. We ask, Was the Employee knowledgeable about dezrez products & services, were you given the personal attention you wanted, was your issue resolved in a reasonable amount of time and Were you satisfied your issue was resolved? We ask for a 1 to 5 score, and get top scores in 89, 87 and 91 and 97% respectively. These figures are improving and we continue to monitor them.

Do you record the customer feedback from your agency? Are you getting direct feedback from your customers on how your staff members are performing? Perhaps this would be a great idea for a piece of functionality we could build into the software? Think it’s a good idea? Customers why not visit our Uservoice section where we rate development ideas – search for “Client feedback idea”. Cast your vote and let us know how you think it should work.

Thank you for your continued support.

Wilf Lewis
Managing Director




dezrezPM

With the launch of dezrezPM coming ever closer, what better way than to give you a sneak peak of the PM itself. Like reporting?


Well you’ll like dezrezPM, it has a fantastic and aesthetically pleasing reporting system to help make management much easier to handle. 

We appreciate that some of you have been waiting months for this, that’s why we’re trying our best to keep you in the loop and up to date with the developments. With our recent articles informing you of wonderful new developments this article merely aims to keep you up to date and in the loop with how we’re getting on.
We’re now in the process of testing the ‘Property Management’ software, ensuring that it all works perfectly in practice; this is facilitated by alpha testers which we now have using our software. They accept that there will most likely be bugs but this is a vital step in ensure that our product is error-free for its release.
Hundreds of you have now registered your interest in dezrezPM so now would be a good time to provide a list of all the great benefits that dezrezPM has to offer:
• Manage contractors, jobs and invoices
• Ensure that tenants are paying rent on time
• Full accounting module
• Fantastic maintenance
• Property management
• Full reporting
• Invoicing & Billing
• Full maintenance management
• Inspections & inventories
• Pre tenancy checks (custom)- your own checklist to hand
• Manage rents & payments to landlords
• Reminders-Gas safety checks, rent arrears, insurance, inspections
• Custom Dashboard creations to suit multiple job positions- from backend to front of house.
• Bank reconciliation- financial checks on cash flows against the real financial position of the agency.



Not sure if you've registered your interest? Register your interest to find out more.




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