11 questions we ask every agent: Mint Homes
Helen Westwell is the Owner and Director at Mint Homes, a lettings agency covering Kendal and the South Lakes. Here, she shares why the agency decided to make the move from Jupix to Alto and what makes the software “so much better”.
Can you tell us a bit about your agency? What areas do you cover and how long have you been operating?
I founded the business in 2008. We do lettings and property management and are a team of six, including myself.
How and why did you get into estate agency?
My story is probably different to most. I had rental properties and used lettings agencies, but felt they were all missing something. I knew I could offer something different.
In 2008 I had three rental properties of my own – now we manage a much larger portfolio of properties.
What would you say are the biggest challenges your agency has faced over the past year?
Stock remains the biggest challenge, but we’re having to manage expectations with both tenants and landlords, too. Tenants want properties – we’re having tens of people apply for each property, and we’re disappointing so many applicants because demand is outstripping supply.
Plus, since the pandemic and with the change in economic climate, it’s been difficult to get contractors too.
How long have you been using property software and how has it changed the way you run your business?
I’ve always used property software since day one and Alto is my third platform. I like to be organised and have a to-do list.
I see software as that to-do list, putting everything in one place.
What made you consider Alto, and were there any business challenges or problems that encouraged you to make the change?
We were using Jupix but it became clear that Alto is an upgrade, with new investment in features and enhanced functionality. I watched a demo video and it was clear Alto would give us everything we needed and more.
Did you and your team have many concerns about changing software?
I think it’s fair to say everyone was concerned in case they lost anything in the data migration – it’s just knowing if everything will be moved across. We all have a designated role, so everybody wanted to make sure their area was covered.
How did the reality of the upgrade experience compare to what you expected?
Alto gave us all the information we needed in the run-up to migration, which set out what we needed to do before and after the upgrade. Overall we’re really pleased so far. It’s clear that Alto is a step up from what we were using before.
We cleaned up our data as best we could, took in all the useful advice from the team and although migration wasn’t quite as smooth as we anticipated, it wasn’t anything that couldn’t be easily resolved.
How did your team find the Alto training?
The training was great and the system is so easy to follow. We have access to videos on demand through the knowledge base and the system is so logical.
The team got most use out of the training after they logged into Alto for the first time – being able to switch between the software screens and the help pages is ideal.
The Alto team has been fantastic and the resources give us everything we need.
How long did the data migration take?
It took around two weeks to get everything moved over, get the system set up, and get the team familiar with it. Now there’s an ongoing process of learning as we go.
One of the best features of migration was importing our property commission charges. We thought we’d have to do it manually, which would have been a lot of work. But Alto managed to offer it as an extra feature and we were one of the first to take advantage.
We brought all our accounting into the system without having to input anything ourselves.
What tips would you give other agents who are preparing to upgrade to Alto?
The most important thing is to get your old system as clean as you can.
Also, pick your date carefully – choose a quiet time in the month and make sure everyone’s paid to minimise any pending transactions. This will help cut down what needs to move over.
If you had your time again, would you upgrade to Alto knowing what was involved?
Absolutely. It’s so much better. Change is daunting at first, but you’ll be glad you did it.
Still weighing up the move from Jupix to Alto? Find out more.
Not a Jupix customer but interested in Alto? Book a quick-and-easy, no-obligation demo with a member of our team.