11 questions we ask every agent: DBK Estate Agents
Jazz Sandhu is a Director at DBK Estate Agents, a family business serving West London from offices in Heston and Hounslow. He speaks to us about the importance of property software to enable the company’s growth.
Can you tell us a bit about your agency? What areas do you cover and how long have you been operating?
We’re a family-run business, set up by my father in 1982.
We operate from two offices – Heston and Hounslow – dealing with sales, lettings, mortgages, property management and commercial. Our core area is West London, but we also operate in the Home Counties too.
How and why did you get into estate agency?
I used to come to the office from a young age. Dad would bring me along and I’d even go to appointments when I was very young.
When I was 19 I joined the family business and I’ve learnt everything from the ground up, to put myself into a position to help develop the business.
Since I’ve been here, we’ve continued to grow. We opened the Hounslow branch in 2019, then completed our first acquisition towards the end of 2021.
What would you say are the biggest challenges your agency has faced over the past year?
Executing the acquisition, without a doubt. It was very new to us and a significant move for the company.
We brought staff from the existing business into ours and integrated the entire operation to align with our high standards. This was a big task because they used manual data, with lots of Excel spreadsheets. We had to teach them how we work with all data in one place using software.
It was a learning curve, but we enjoyed it.
How long have you been using estate agency software and how has it changed the way you run your business?
We’ve always been a company that wants to use technology to assist with the customer journey. Even back in the early 1980s, my dad made sure we had computers even though it was very expensive.
Now we use estate agent software to store data correctly and reduce wasted man hours on tedious tasks that can be automated.
What made you consider Alto, and were there any business challenges or problems that encouraged you to make the change?
We had limitations with our previous software and I knew I needed to change to take our business to the next level.
The last platform did all front-office tasks fine, but I wanted something that could integrate our accounts system with sales, lettings and property management, all in one place. And it had to be cloud based.
Alto offered all of that and it was a plus to see the modern looking interface, too. It’s very user-friendly and intuitive. I made the decision very quickly once I saw the platform.
Did you and your team have many concerns about changing software? What did you think of the Alto training?
There were no concerns because I made sure the team understood that we needed this to grow as a business. The system is very easy-to-use. If you’ve dealt with other estate agency software before, you can work your way around the platform easily.
We’ve used the support functions like the Alto Help Centre for more intricate tasks, and the training has been good.
How does Alto compare to other software you’ve used?
The beauty of Alto is you can press a few buttons and tasks are automatically completed – like sending an offer letter to vendors, or getting an e-signature on a document.
It has really helped speed things up.
What’s your favourite Alto feature?
Client accounting. It’s just a game changer for us compared to how we used to operate. We’ve been using the accounts side of Alto for a year and we can do so much more, like the way landlord statements are sent automatically by email at the click of a button.
That’s what you want from software –when it does the majority of work for you. One landlord even said, “‘Don’t spend so long putting these statements together.” I had to explain that our software does it automatically.
How do you think the market will change over the next 12 months? And how do you think having the right property software will play a part in that?
I have a positive outlook for the rest of 2023. We’ve been off to a very good start with sales and lettings stock coming on and a lot of viewings are happening.
Internally, I have more growth plans for the business and I can very confidently say Alto will help us achieve those plans without having to worry about anything.
We know that our software is fit for purpose as we continue to grow, and that’s a really big plus for the business.
What tips would you give to another agent looking to move software?
If you’re looking to grow, you need a platform like Alto to assist you on that journey. That’s another benefit of Alto – I know the team at Alto is always looking to develop the platform and that’s what I want to hear as a customer.
They’re always looking to make the software better for agents using it.
If you had your time again, would you move to Alto knowing what was involved?
I would, 110%. It wasn’t difficult, in fact they made it a breeze. I’d definitely recommend it and we love using Alto.
Choose an estate agency CRM that’s right for your business. Book a chat with one of our Alto experts today.