First set up as letting agents in South London as ‘sole traders’ trading as ‘South-Lets’. The owner was already experienced in managing family investment property, and this decision was based on the expectation that, following creation of the 'assured shorthold tenancy' by The Housing Act 1988 the previous year, the buy-to-let market (as it was then called) was on the brink of massive growth. Subsequent events proved this decision to be spot-on.
Changed name to ‘Southcourt Property Management’, experience having shown the ongoing property management side of the business to be the most lucrative.
Perceiving a growing demand for letting agents nationwide, we took the decision to create a franchise operation alongside our own agency business. For this purpose we formed a holding company under the name ‘Home-Lets Associates Limited’. However we found ourselves far too busy to develop and run this and subsequently abandoned the idea. Instead, following frequent requests from individuals to 'train them up as letting agents', we embarked on a more informal, 1-2-1 training programme in our offices and alongside our day-to-day business activities. This proved to be very popular.
By this time we had considerable training experience under our belt as well as letting agency experience, and we identified an opportunity to offer our combined experience on a wider level, and at the same time fill a gap in the market for low cost letting agent training. For this purpose we developed a totally unique 'Letting Agency Complete Business Package', which we advertised UK-wide in the national press (the internet was still in its infancy at that time).
We joined the growing trend for letting agents to take advantage of the internet, and launched our first letting agency website. Fairly basic by today's standards, but it did a good job at the time!
Here it is captured shortly after website launch in 1999 in the Public Web Archive:
Click Here: Southcourt in Public Web Archive
This was the next significant milestone in our history, when for the first time we developed a separate website for our massively successful Letting Agency Complete Business Package (www.lettings-opportunity.co.uk). This domain serves to provide permanent testament to our history.
By now our business interests had become quite diverse, and we found ourselves involved with several offspins related to our property management services as well as letting agent training. For this reason, and on our accountant's advice, we made the long overdue decision to reorganise and amalgamate our activities under a single banner, incorporating as Southcourt Property Services Ltd. Shortly afterwards we developed our unique Estate Agents Business Package, which is now included within our Lettings and Estate Agents Business Package.
Having created more than 1000 agencies now, many of whom have taken advantage of the growing use of social media as a free and highly effective tool to market their services, we created the Southcourt Platinum Package.
With a wealth of experience behind us and the property market on course for steady growth, we have several ambitious and innovative plans for the second half of 2017.
We look forward to welcoming you on board - watch this space!