Ten Top Tips For Choosing a Letting Agent to Manage a Property or Let Your House
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Many landlords have used a letting agent to let or manage a property at some point, and even more landlords will also tell you how difficult it is to know if the letting agent you are choosing is the right one to use for your property. There are thousands of property management companies, letting agents and estate agents, who all claim to be able to get you quality tenants, in record time, at the highest rental yield. But which agent really can?
Here are Which Property Agent’s top 10 tips when selecting a letting agent to let your house:
1. First of all, consider what is important to you as a landlord.
Are you just after the highest rental income in order to cover a large mortgage or is the quality of the tenants more important so that your property doesn’t get ruined? Each letting agent will have a different track record for price achieved for previous lets, the fees they charge, the quality of their staff, etc. All these points need to be considered depending on what is most important to you.
2. Ask other landlords for their recommended letting agents.
Sound obvious doesn’t it? You’d be surprised how many landlords simply choose the agency they walk past each day on the way to the shops without considering if they will be best at managing their property.
3. Get into the mindset of a potential tenant.
Where would a quality tenant look when wanting a home to live in? The agents you find here should be on your list of letting agents to talk to about looking after your property.
4. Don’t just go for the cheapest letting agent.
Although the cheapest may be the best, there could be a reason why the agent needs to lower their prices so much in order to gain new landlords. With most things in life, you get what you pay for, so just bare that in mind when selecting a letting agent.
5. See which agents have LET boards up locally.
As a landlord you probably already do this one but it’s important to include it in our top 10. Make sure you find out which letting agents are letting similar property types in your area. Don’t concern yourself too much with “To Let” boards; “Just Let” is far more promising!
6. Find out what is included in letting agent fees and what is not.
The last thing a landlord wants is to receive a bill for £150 for a “property inspection”. Be sure to check the small print and ask to be consulted before any additional charges are added to your account that aren’t included in your flat fee.
7. Check the letting agent’s credentials and trading history.
Unfortunately there are no mandatory qualifications or memberships to become a letting agent but you will find that most of the experienced agents are members of certain accredited bodies (ARLA, NALS, Property Ombudsman, Tentant ID, SafeAgent to name a few) and have relevant qualifications. The best way to verify an agent is to ask for references / testimonials from their existing landlords, and speak to that landlord in person to check validity of the testimonial!
8. Don’t be afraid to shop around and compare letting agents before you choose one to manage your property.
Just like you would compare a mobile phone contract, compare property management companies in order to find the best agent to let your property. Make a list of pros and cons for each agency or use a website such as http://www.WhichPropertyAgent.co.uk
9. Consider using different letting agents for different properties.
Each letting agent will have its strengths and weaknesses and will be better at managing a particular property type in a particular area. Even if your property portfolio is in one town or city, you may find you get better results by using several letting agents. A bit of healthy competition amongst agents always helps too!
10. Ask the potential letting agent plenty of questions.
When choosing a property management company to let your property; refer to the points above and here are a few additional questions to help all landlords find the best letting agent for their property:
• What type of tenants do they usually let to?
• How do they vet tenants? Which referencing provider do they use?
• How often do they let properties in your area?
• Do they have a list of tenants waiting for properties?
• How quickly can they let your property?
• How will they advertise your property?
• How long have they been letting properties?
• Do they belong to a professional association?
• What are their fees? What is included and what isn’t?
• Do they offer any additional services?
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