It is advisable when you choose to select a letting agent to select one who is a member of a professional body, for instance the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) or the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) are all recognized professional bodies. All of these have to follow a set of conventional principles and expectations established by the above mentioned organizations.
It is a good idea to get a personal recommendation to find the right letting agent. Your friends and relatives can probably help you with this if not then check online with a quality estate agent review site like agentright.com.
What to expect from your letting agent and what they expect of you
Different letting agents provide different type of services and a lot depends upon your own requirements as well. For instance, do you want a letting agent to help you find a right tenant for your property, or do you want them to stay with you and manage the related affairs throughout the rental agreement? Most of letting agents provide both letting and thorough property management services, however you should speak to more than one letting agents and discuss, understand and negotiate the terms before making up your mind which of the agent to select. Prepare the list of services you will receive and ensure the services worth the payment you will make. Enquire them about the methods they will adopt to market you property. It is better if they use both online and offline methods.
As most letting agents operate on a ‘no let, no fee’ basis, appoint more than one agent to increase the chance of letting your property (some agents charge a fee to have a property included on their list). It is important to remember that agents offering low charges are not necessarily the best agents to use. Opt for those who provide a comprehensive service and can demonstrate success in the local market. Choose a letting agent which lets properties similar to yours, and which you think would attract the right kind of tenant with suitable references and achieve the highest possible rental price.
The majority of agents charge you no fee if the property has not been let to anyone. Therefore, you should appoint many agents so that you may let your property as soon as possible. It should be remembered that there is no guarantee that agents charging high fees will provide you with best services, therefore select those who offer various services and are successful in the market. Moreover, it is better to choose the agent who is experienced in letting properties similar to yours.
Supply your letting agent with information about the kind of tenant you require for your property. For instance, state whether you want students, professionals, married or unmarried let. Also, stipulate whether you want a long-term or short-term tenant. Most landlords prefer long-term tenants as this eliminates the need to look for new tenants time and again.
Letting agents’ fees are generally a percentage of the rent received throughout the letting duration. Normally, it is 10% of the rental income. This fee covers many costs and expenses such as adverting a property, searching and selecting a right tenant, preparing a tenancy agreement etc. However, fees can be more if you require full management services. Fees can start from 15% in this case and the services you will receive include organization of credit checks, payment of bills and collection of rent, regular inspection, and necessary maintenance of the property. For these extra services, you may hire a property management agent as well.