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Humans In Property: Running a Short-let Business with Shadel Realtors.

Running a short-let business is quite different from other types of real estate businesses. Being that as a realtor you most likely do not own any of the homes and apartments. But you’re just the right plug that connects people who are in need of somewhere to stay for a short period of time and those who have spaces specifically designed for short stays. 

Short-Lets apartments have long been in existence but got a significant boom during the pandemic with hotels capacity being reduced and some shutdown, it opened short let apartments to the hospitality world in Nigeria.

The evolution of short lets can be traced back to Bed & Breakfast, a periodical living-in situation in the western world. Now described as the most affordable option for long month stays. They are seen as an alternative to hotels. Providing flexibility, peace of mind and a certain level of freedom.

A chat over google-meet with Christine, Managing Director, Shadel Realtors – a real estate establishment focused on short-lets in Lagos Nigeria. We discussed the problems realtors face with clients, things you need to get started with and how using online platforms has helped them in securing clients.

Running a short-let business with Shdael Realtors
Running a short-let business with Shadel Realtors

Tell us about your company – Shadel Realtors. 

Shadel Realtors is an independent real estate organisation that deals solely with short-let homes and apartments. We started the company in 2020 and I will say that it was a necessity that made Shadel Realtors come into being. 

You know when you did not plan to start something but you did because it was an urgent need at that time. Before covid Shadel was actually into the clothing business, and we had to think of something else to do to bring in money. So we veered into short-let apartments.

With the high demand for short-lets during the pandemic, and after, we realised that it would be a lucrative business to venture into. We were not wrong. 

What was something you wish you knew before venturing into the short-let business?

Oh! it has to be payment of the facilitator’s fee.

Also, when people call us to make enquiries about our available short-let apartments, we take them for inspections, and at the end of the day they just end up ghosting us.

The funny thing is when these prospective clients get there, they will tell you they don’t like the apartment only for them to eventually go back to pay for that same apartment they refused at the beginning without your consent. 

This is so painful because you wasted your time, money, energy and comfort taking them for inspection. Only to be told by that same client that he/she has paid for the apartment without your consent to the owner of the facility. It all equates to you not being paid for a job done.

So payment of the facilitator’s fee was something we wished we were told about when we first started. if we had known what we know now, we would have done things differently.

Tell us about your best and worst moments since the company has been running.

Like I mentioned, one of the worst steps we took then and we did for a long time before we realised we were doing something wrong, was not charging our prospects fees for inspection. There’s just this pain that comes with doing so much with nothing to show for it.

Another one is the issue of caution fees. Some clients go as far as being reluctant to pay caution fees, and the ones that pay demand or even damage things way above the supposed charged fee. 

It’s heart-wrenching to know that clients who checked out with or without your consent toyed with some important gadgets in the facility.

Some will go ahead to spot something that is above the caution fee that they have paid resulting in the management of the short-let apartments billing you. 

Then the best moments like you ask are the proceeds that come from the business which is the money. You know money is good.

So there are so many advantages of short-let apartments. It is measurable because you see what you’re doing, you are working and getting value for your hard work. 

The beauty of being a realtor is that even if you are outside the country, somebody is calling to book an apartment and crediting you almost immediately. It makes your heart very glad.

How do you safeguard your apartments from theft ?

We have functional rules and regulations available for all clients. It’s sent out to the clients. Even if the client is coming through another agent or realtor, we make sure they get the rules and sign it.

We also request for proof of identity. In this case, a valid ID card such as National ID card, Driver’s license/voter’s card works. This is because we don’t want to have a case of theft, missing properties or persons, or even extreme cases such as murder. 

Things are happening and one needs to be very careful. As much as short-let business seems to bring in a lot of money, it also has its own gloomy days. You wouldn’t want people fighting and beating up themselves to the state of coma in your facility on your watch.

Although we haven’t experienced any of the above cases, we have experienced cases of broken decor pieces. The caution fees charged are often used to replace them. But we’ve had colleagues in this same line of business experience some of the extreme cases.

What is one thing people find hard to understand when it comes to short-let apartments?

If you tell clients to pay facilitators’ or agency fees, they will tell you no. Some go as far as saying that “but you’re not doing rentals, so why am I paying agency fee?”  

Let me give you some candid advice: In short-let business, you can’t afford to be a people pleaser otherwise your establishment would run into a huge loss with no return on investment to show for it.

With experience, we realised that since clients don’t like the word agency fee or facilitator fee, we decided to take it out. We found another way of charging them without bringing up these terminologies.

How do you pick your clients? 

For now, we don’t really do so much of profiling. We like to give everybody the benefit of doubt.

On a personal level, I feel it’s not even necessary because it’s a short-let and not rentals. So we focus on the proof of identity documents for and our rules and regulation for now. 

Verification of tenants is one of the tips for dealing with tenants/occupants, read others here

How has using the PropertyPro Nigeria platform helped your business?

The experience has been good so far because the majority of our quality leads are gotten from this platform. We recently got a call from an apartment owner to help them in managing their property.

Before we registered with PropertyPro.ng, we just went and searched for apartments, hustled for it and made a little money. But after we registered and became official with PropertyPro, leads have been forthcoming and ROI has increased greatly.

The PropertyPro platform has been helpful and is still helpful.

What is your advice to someone venturing into the short-let business? 

Hmm. Like I said, we didn’t plan to establish a short-let business. But we took the risk and started regardless, not allowing doubts and fear to consume us.

Most times when you want to start a thing, don’t consider the costs or the risk because every business has their risks. Just start. 

You have a lot of contacts on your phone, you have friends. Start with that, be your own cheerleader, toot your own horn to friends and associates. Most importantly treat them right so they can refer you.

We started that way, we spoke to friends and families. We also did our part by making sure to provide top notch services.

Another thing, might sound so cliche or contradictory but do not be all about the money/profit in your budding phase. Be focused on getting leads, converting prospects to clientele before raising your fees. Let your profit margin be minimal. Your work will speak for you!

Lastly, Refer and Earn. This marketing strategy has helped us a great deal and it’s something I’d also want people looking into starting this business to leverage on. It’s a very important tool. Good for your business and helps you reach more people and clients.

Shadel Realtors Review of propertypro.ng

With over 600 thousand monthly visitors, the PropertyPro platform is guaranteed to get your properties to the right people and ensure sales – just like Shadel Realtors who are successfully running a short-let business. 

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