NOW, FOR SOME MORE DETAIL:
Marshall Properties was established in the early 1990’s by Malcolm Marshall who has since specialized in the residential sector, covering Dublin 2, 4 & 6, as well as parts of South County Dublin; Blackrock, Mount Merrion and Foxrock etc.
As a sole practitioner, Marshall has developed a highly-personalized service where he provides a one to one service to his clients; many of whom have been with him since he started off, all those years ago. Others have come by way of recommendation from friends or family members. (You can see Client feedback on this site.) Marshall offers his services to people who know that it is in their own best interests to have the best professional working for them. This is especially so because many of his clients do not have the time, energy or expertise to attempt to rent out and / or Manage their rental property. Most clients are highly successful people who basically say, “There’s the key, get on with it”. Marshall’s standard of professionalism comes naturally to him; after all, he has been involved in this profession for many years.
Marshall only handles a few properties at a time and can, therefore, offer that very attentive service which many property owners really need when they are trying to get their property rented to the most suitable tenant. A good understanding of the market and a dedication to working only for his principal’s interests (which cannot always be taken for granted in this industry) will ensure a successful outcome. His service is not merely a telephone referral service. he offers much more.
Marshall steps into the property owner’s shoes and asks himself, if this house were mine, how would I like to present it? In this regard, Marshall offers advice on how best to present the property to be rented and can offer design concepts for the investor who is considering renovating a property to improve its capital value, rentability and rental return. See Renovation Projects.
Most of the properties he markets are at the upper end of the market and are usually (but not always) unfurnished. His tenant base is mostly composed of long-term, senior professionals who have come to Ireland with their families for extended contracts and who need a good home in a good area, well served by good schools etc. His service will ensure that the house is shown at its best. He can arrange many things to assist the busy landlord and very often he simply takes over the whole procedure, ie he steps into the landlord’s shoes and thereby releases the landlord from all the fiddly anxieties in relation to getting the property ready to be let.
Marshall says, he hears it is now becoming fashionable for women to engage in business and in more senior roles? He says he can make no sense of this alleged new fashion. Most of his clients have been women since he started off in business. It has always been his experience that 50 / 50 of the corporate tenants coming into Ireland involved families where the breadwinner was a woman. This is not a new phenomenon to him. Marshall has a habit of treating men and women in the same way. Most of his clients (landlords) happen to be women; successful, educated and accomplished women who know what they are about and who can appreciate his straight-forward advice and support. If you are genuinely at a loss and struggling with a particular property related problem (whether you're a man or a woman) or you simply don't have the time to spend dealing with your rental, he’ll do cartwheels to assist you. Many successful women have found this to be true. Women and men (yes, men too) have come to know that they can rely on him – always – through the good times or when times get difficult. He says the only true measure of a person’s character can be seen by how that person reacts to others when times are not so good. He holds this fundamental principle of sticking with a client who might have a problem until that problem is resolved. You will never be abandoned. All this said, he can only remember a tiny number of troublesome tenancies out of nearly 30 years’ experience. Thankfully, the tenancies which he helps to arrange have been mainly trouble free. Indeed, many landlords have become firm friends with their tenants.
Marshall insists he is not in the business of bullying his clients by insisting that they must do a certain thing. He cannot understand why landlords allow themselves to be bullied into certain situations by some agents. Clients have sometimes said to him that they had to do one thing or another because another agent had insisted. Nonsense! The property belongs to the landlord and Marshall follows the precise wishes of his client - the landlord. This needs to be said, because many agents do not follow their client's instructions! It is quite horrible to be presented with a fait accompli, with which you are not at all happy. He avoids that type of carry on. In turn, he expects his clients to be fair with him and to keep him fully informed about requirements or changing circumstances.
He can help with family homes as well and investment properties. Situations where the son or daughter is trying to get advice on how best to rent out a parent's home, while that parent is in a nursing home. Or, possibly, where a parent is left to take care of their child’s home while that (adult) child is overseas. He takes all this in his stride.
As a landlord, you don’t need to fuss over what he's doing. He knows what has to be done; that’s his job. Even if you haven’t remembered to tell him to do something, he’ll do it anyway. After all, he has been doing this job for many years.
Marshall can offer ongoing Property Management for a property he has rented for you. However, this service is only available where he has effected the introduction of the new tenant.
Marshall will generally concentrate on getting you the best / most suitable tenant for your property to meet the requirements of your situation. You may be heading overseas. You may only need to rent your property out for a relatively short period. You may have particular concerns about your garden etc. He will discuss your concerns and your requirements with you, and then act accordingly.
While Marshall's skill and experience will ensure that your property attains its true value, it is NOT always about getting the highest rent. It's about getting the best tenant to suit your requirements at the time you are renting the property. After all, nearly half of your rent will be gobbled up in taxes, so a lower rent in exchange for a good tenant might be just the ticket.
Marshall does not involve himself in running a race! "Hurry, hurry, we have to get this place rented...go on, go on, do your best!" If you are an anxious landlord who needs to get his / her place rented - like yesterday - Marshall is not for you. The whole point of retaining Marshall is to ensure that you get the right tenant; a good tenant who will be happy in your property for as long as the tenancy is to last and, overall, life will be easier for you. If it were just a matter of shoving in the first tenant who turned up, you wouldn't need him at all.
Marshall represents the landlord's interests and will work to best serve the interests of his client (the landlord). However, he says he is not impressed by some of the absurd and outlandish rents he sees being quoted at present. He will give a sensible valuation and get the landlord a good rent; that's his job. This said, he finds the whole business of renting in Dublin to be downright intimidating and very worrying. He says he doesn't know how some people cope at all. He says that many of the downright silly and inflated rents being quoted benefit no one; not the landlord, who will pay over half of the rent to the tax man (that is, if he ever gets the place rented at all quoting an absurd rent) and not the tenant who has to earn approximately double the amount of his / her rent in gross salary to be left with just enough net salary to able to pay their rent – before they even buy a loaf of bread! It’s offensive. To think that families have been left to live in their cars or if they were "lucky" they'd get a hotel room, is an embarrassment to the people of Ireland. Remember, all it takes for many of us to find ourselves in serious difficulties is to be out of a job for three or four months and then the bills start falling into arrears and before you even realise it you could be out on the street! Terrifying! It shouldn't be allowed to happen, but there it is; we are in Ireland. Alas, the only people benefitting from huge rental figures is the likes of Marshall and even he doesn’t like it. He says that some of the new Government measures, intended to limit escalating rents are clumsy, ill thought out and, as usual, are too little too late.
In fairness, not all landlords are evil and not all tenants are down-trodden victims; which would appear to be the most popular view held by many people. Marshall’s clients are actually very decent, sensible people who understand the realities of life and have no interest in the vanity of quoting silly rents. Just as tenants depend on their landlords to maintain the roof over their heads; landlords, in turn, depend on their tenants to be reasonable and sensible and to take good care of the property they are living in. As he says, "It’s a two-way street".
Marshall will only market properties which come up to a certain minimum standard; a minimum standard which is actually quite high. The property must be scrupulously clean and be in good order with all safety features in place to meet current regulations. If everything is not quite up to spec; that’s okay because he’ll work with you to get it sorted. Furthermore, you should know that he cannot become involved in any type of “off the books cash deals”. Everything is traceable and proper records must be kept and all taxes paid – like it or lump it. He knows only too well how severe taxes can be, paying almost 60% of his fees in taxes. Once you retain Marshall Properties to represent you, you are obliged to pay the letting fee and outlays to Marshall Properties.
Marshall has a small, but very good team of professionals assisting him in the background. However, the only person you need concern yourself with will be himself. He is not a man for fancy brochures about Marshall Properties or for printing glossy Customer Guides etc. He takes for granted that he knows what he is doing and just gets on with it.
If you intend to look after the ongoing Management of your property, once a good tenant has been found for you, take this warning: Keep the initial contact with any prospective tenant polite and professional. Try not to make too many promises, in the excitement of getting a new tenant, and if you have to say "no" to a tenant because you simply do not want or cannot offer what they are requesting, then so be it. Send your messages by email and then you will have something to refer back to, if needs be, in the event of a misunderstanding. However, you are best to use Marshall as a buffer. His function, as your Agent, is to represent you, the landlord, and to help ensure that everything will run smoothly. While it is true to say that no agent can guarantee the performance of a contract as between landlord and tenant, with good preparation many problems can be avoided. Allow him to do the groundwork. Take nothing for granted. If you decide to use his services, you will have retained a professional agent on whom you can depend. If you do not have confidence in your agent - you're better off without him! Unfortunately, some agents in residential lettings may offer a less than adequate service. Don't suffer in silence. Get rid of this type of agent and get someone new to represent your interests. He insists that in all things, prevention is much better than cure. He tends to be conservative in his initial dealings with tenants. It avoids difficulties for landlords later. Once the ground rules have been laid down at the start of the landlord and tenant relationship (and he helps to ensure this) everyone is much clearer about how things will be done and are happier going forward. And, yes, many friendships have developed between his landlords and their tenants.
As he says, "You don’t need a PhD to become an estate agent!" (Far from it, in fact.) But what you do need is the ability to listen to what the client wants (or does not want) and to follow those instructions. One would have thought that this could be taken for granted. Alas, not always, as some of his clients have found to their cost when dealing with certain agents. Think about it. The agent who is representing you will suggest that you rent to company X. He has rented loads of houses this company. Fair enough. But this company has certain requirements. Maybe they'll insist that the landlord should maintain the garden or that they can have a break option without a penalty anytime during the first year etc. You will have their requirements presented to you as "the norm", like it or lump it. You will be the one paying the fee to your agent, not the lovely company with all its special requirements. However, when Marshall is involved he will step in and highlight certain potentially troublesome requests that are being made and steer a way through these so that both landlord and tenant are happy. You will have been well represented. Here again, the prevention of problems - rather than having to sort out troubles subsequently is best. However, that company might decide that next time 'round they will deal with the other agent who always acceded to all their requests. That (clever) agent will rent many more properties to that company and make handsome fees from the landlords he supposedly represents. Marshall, having represented you - the landlord - will rent fewer properties and, in turn, earn a lot less. But there it is. The agent is supposed to represent his principal and should not run with the hare and the hounds. Marshall holds true to this requirement. He says, “There’s often a price to be paid for representing, fully, your client's interests.” This is just one example of where his clients have found him to be really on their side and that’s why they come back to him, time after time.
Of course, you won’t really know the full benefit of Marshall’s approach until after the event when the job is done and dusted. Then, maybe, you too will recommend him.
One final (comical) point: If you were considering calling into the HQ of Marshall Properties, on the Rathgar Road, you'd best not be expecting prestigious offices. Search for something not unlike the HQ of “Steptoe and Son” and you won’t go far astray! He's in a little shoebox of an office, in a damp basement. He laughs and says, “It’s not the office they are dealing with, it’s me!” And his clients, of many years standing, understand this. Might be best to give him a call in advance or send an email. He will visit you at your home or the property in question. His approach is refreshingly honest. He says, the only people he wants to see at his office are those holding a bank draft or a signed contract or preferably both!