How can you spot a top letting agent from a master of mediocrity? Read on to find out.
Landlords use letting agents for all sorts of reasons.
Some need help navigating red tape and lettings legislation, while others want a third party to deal with inspections, inventories and disputes.
And some want peace of mind and to know that a safe pair of hands manage their investment property.
Whatever your motivation as a landlord, once you’ve decided to use a letting agent, choosing a good one is essential.
Here are some valuable tips to help you weed out the posers from the professionals.
Recommendations: Ask other landlords in your area who they use. Word-of-mouth endorsements can be invaluable.
Marketing: Look at how agents advertise rental properties and drum up business. Does their online marketing look professional? Does it target high-quality tenants?
Rapport: Find an agent who is responsive and has a professional manner. Choosing someone with whom you can develop a solid business relationship and a sense of trust is essential.
Value for money: Most agents offer different levels of service, ranging from tenant selection services to full property management. When researching agents, ask for a list of fees to know what you’ll get for your money. Some agents might charge less, but if they’re disorganised or cut corners, they could cost you more in the long run because they’ve missed out on a vital check or deadline.
Organised: Ask prospective agents how they manage and schedule repairs, maintenance and safety inspections. A good letting agent has systems to ensure their clients meet essential deadlines for things like electrical and boiler checks.
Industry body membership: While membership to a professional body is voluntary, it’s a sign the agent takes their job seriously and has access to training, courses and seminars about changes in the industry.
Legal knowledge: The lettings sector has changed enormously in recent years, with the number of regulations landlords must follow skyrocketing. Quiz agents on their legislative knowledge; if they’re wishy-washy on the detail, steer clear.