Today we’re shining the spotlight on Rooks Estate Agents & Letting, who have just celebrated their first birthday! We spoke with Property Director, Philippa Hastings to find out more about the company!
Q1. Tell us a little about yourself, your business, and what kind of properties you handle.
Although Rooks was established just one year ago (Happy Birthday to us), it was born from over 40 collective years of property experience, and a strong desire to do good work.
Our properties range from Holiday/Festival lets to Long Term lets, and we serve all over Edinburgh and The Lothians. Be it a pied-à-terre or a rural estate, there is someone at Rooks with the experience to handle your type of property.
Q2. What made you get into the property business?
When setting up Rooks, we didn’t just look at what makes a good letting and estate agent, we wanted to know what makes one great. It certainly isn’t rock bottom prices (a race to the bottom isn’t going to end well for anyone), and it isn’t big -but ultimately empty- promises. It is delivering consistently high-quality service, fast response times, great property photography, friendly, efficient staff, and empathy. Yes, let’s not forget empathy. This means doing right by everyone.
Of course, landlords are looking for the best return on their investment, as well as tenants that will stay, pay their rent on time, and who won’t leave their property looking like a stroppy three-year old had just finished playing with it. So, it is only right that serving our landlord’s needs matters a great deal to us. However, we believe while doing so, we must also serve the needs of those all-important tenants.
Q3. What is your favourite property you’ve had?
One of the favourite properties I have worked with was not one that may obviously spring to mind, i.e. a swanky, ready-to-let New Town apartment, but a little one bedroom in Dalkeith.
It needed a lot of work, so we worked really closely with the landlord to do what was needed to the property to bring it up to rental standard, while at the same time ensuring the landlord didn’t break the bank, and as a result, ultimately undermine his investment potential.
After our usual vetting process, we selected what might seem to be an unlikely choice of tenant out of the considerable number of applicants we received. These tenants-to-be were young, and had never rented before. However, we held their hands through the process of applying, and spent some time getting to know them as individuals, and through that had more than enough confidence to proceed with their application.
We helped them set up their first home together, and they were delighted and grateful for the opportunity. Now six months into the let and three inspections later, I have to say they are fantastic tenants to have in that property. So, a true win-win all around. This, in many ways, sums up why we set up Rooks: To do good work and to appreciate that the personal touch is as important in our industry as it ever has been.
Q4. What’s the best thing about the area you operate in?
That’s an easy one to answer (and short too). Edinburgh! What more can one ask for than to live and work in and around Edinburgh. Enough said!
Q5. What advice would you give to someone looking for a rental property?
I would advise anyone looking to rent a property to be prepared. As much as we value the personal touch, we aren’t just about the warm and fuzzies. We have many boxes that need ticked as well. Having robust processes in place ensure that our clients and tenants satisfy the ever-increasing legislation faced by our industry.
As someone who bought their first property at the tender age of 19 and promptly let it out, I can say in the almost 25 years since, things have changed a lot! Renting a property has become considerably more complex and daunting. And in a choice-poverty situation that most prospective tenants find themselves these days, competition is fierce. So be prepared, and don’t take on a property you can’t afford. Take a property for 6 months that is comfortably within your budget, look after it as if it was your own investment, and the resulting glowing references will stand you in great stead for your next property. Live like Oscar The Grouch or Renton from Trainspotting, and chances are no agency/landlord is going to touch you with a ten foot bargepole.
Q6. What did you do before you got into this business?
I have always been involved in property in one way or another. I also have a background in Marketing, as well as Sales. The three play very well together.
Q7. What would be a good night out in your area?
One of my favourite places to hang out for a good night out in Edinburgh would have to be Leith. I love the mix of different restaurants and bars. You can tuck into a delicious plate of fish and chips at the Kings Wark, or indulge in a bit of luxury at Tom Kitchin’s Michlin Star restaurant. And we mustn’t forget The Roseleaf, for one of the best breakfasts in town. That’s if you can get a table, of course.
If you would like us to shine the spotlight on your agency please email firstname.lastname@example.org!