When selecting a letting agent the savvy landlord goes straight to a specialist. In the same way that you would go to a dentist if you had toothache or an optician if you needed an eye test, there are times when you really need to find a lettings specialist!
This is The Letting People’s top tips for selecting your letting agent, and for using their letting services effectively.
- Visit the agent’s offices. Satisfy yourself that the agent has a good local presence with offices situated in an area where you and your tenants can easily visit. Yes, we all know that the vast majority of tenants search online for a property, but when it comes to making an application and paying over any fees, rent or deposit monies, most tenants want to know they are dealing with a local reputable agent and many will arrange a personal visit to the agent’s offices. Also, you and your tenants may want to visit to discuss your tenancy in more detail and to ensure that before signing the tenancy, at the agent’s offices, all parties fully understand the terms of the tenancy.
Top Tip 1 – Check the Agent has local, secure, private and confidential office space.
- Talk to the business owner(s) or director(s). As a valued landlord client, have your property appraised by a senior business decision maker, who has done it all before, so you can benefit from their experience and ensure you get the best rental advice and are able to discuss and negotiate the terms of business specific to your individual circumstances.
Top Tip 2 – Do your research. Check the agent’s business profile on Linked-in.
- Confirm the agent’s membership of professional bodies. Ensure your agent is a member of one of the professional bodies such as UKALA, NAEA, ARLA, or RICS and ask to see evidence of the agent’s client money protection insurance. If your agent is not a member of a professional organisation which has a redress scheme, or does not have client money protection, are they trained specialists in lettings? What would you do and where would you go for compensation if things are not done properly?
Top Tip 3 – Check for the certificates.
- Do not pay a penny until your property is let. This may sound obvious, but it still needs saying. However, if you are just starting out on the process, you will need to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) prior to marketing and your agent should be able to arrange this at your cost. Otherwise, save your money. It is your agent’s business to find suitable tenants for your property and to seek your agreement to proceed with taking up the references and to the signing of the tenancy agreement – before charging you for the service.
Top Tip 4 – Read the Agency Agreement carefully and watch out for ‘upfront’ fees.
- Check your Agent is advertising on all the major property portals. Be aware of your agent’s ability to obtain a tenant quickly. Advertising on the main property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla will be at an additional cost to the agent and be reflected in their fees. However, you do not want to have long void periods. The main property portals, taken together with the agent’s own website, should enable the agent to find a suitable prospective tenant quickly.
Top Tip 5 – Choosing an agent simply on low cost may eventually mean you will wait much longer for a suitable tenant and this will cost you considerably in lost rental.
- Let the Agent do the viewings. Your agent should be available to arrange viewings at a reasonable date and time convenient to the prospective tenant applicant. The agent will be able to identify the prospective tenant’s needs and match your property to their requirements, including any negotiation to secure the deal. Prospective tenants arrange viewings, usually at short notice, and often during office hours. Generally they do not hang about or wait patiently. Are you available to leave work at short notice, or able to leave a meeting early?
Top Tip 6 – Let the specialists do the job of securing the best deal for your letting. If you want to meet the prospective tenants, before giving your agreement to proceed, instruct the agent to arrange a joint meeting with the prospective tenant, the agent, and yourself – all present at the property.
A specialist letting company
Residential lettings is a specialised business and, as a landlord, there are numerous legislative issues for you to be aware of. Many of these issues will be costly if you have been found to be negligent or operating illegally. This is where a specialist lettings company will be able to add value to your letting, as typically all the staff will have been trained in lettings and will be able to utilise their skills and expertise to ensure your letting goes as smoothly as possible.
We set up The Letting People to meet landlord demand for a local, independent and specialist letting agent. Whether you are renting for the first time, or are an experienced property investor, we can give you advice on every aspect – from choosing the most suitable property to finding the perfect tenant.
Contact The Letting People now on 01926 888255 (Leamington Spa) or 01908 713000 (Milton Keynes) for further information