Letting Agents – what makes a good one?
Choosing a letting agent really can be a bone of contention, you need the right letting agent to do the best job for you and so what are the things a smart landlord needs to look for. Is it all about the prices, should you just pay the highest fees and retain the best letting agents or is there more to it than that?
Let’s face it, getting the property renovated and ready for the market is only ever the first part of the battle, we are not investors unless we have tenants and finding suitable occupants for the rental property we have in our portfolio needs time taken and you also need to know a bit about human nature as well.
Are you a natural sales person with some psychology in the mix, and do you have time to vet the applicants to put those skills into good effect? If the answer is no then a letting agent is what you need and hiring a good one will save you time and money!
Ok, so the easiest thing to do is actually put yourself in your tenants shoes. Look at the letting agent as a tenant might. Here is a list of things to help you get started in selecting a good letting agent.
- Does the letting agent have any particular types of lets? – rural versus urban, price ranges, what else do they have on their books? Have a look and a browse in their window or on-line, is this letting agent a good fit for your type of property?
- How accessible are they, online, on the high street, in the newspapers? How visible are they and how much activity do they have going on with their lettings?
- Are they sales and lettings or just lettings? Does it matter? That depends on the letting agents themselves, if they have a dedicated lettings team then no, it is rarely an issue but a small estate agents trying to do everything might chase the money and that is usually in sales…
- Are they well established? New can be hungry but are they ethical, have they the skills necessary to be able to let your property and manage that for you (if required).
- Get testimonials, or check out online reviews, are they as good as they say they are? They may treat landlords well but how do they treat tenants? This is your bread and butter so if tenants are not happy then word of mouth travels fast. Check out letting agent reviews and make sure there are some levels of consistency at the very least
- Is the letting agency respectable, are they are member of the letting agent’s professional body ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents).
- What are the lettings agents’ hours of business, late nights, weekends, is this accessible for busy professional tenants as an example?
You can see from the above list, there is a lot for you to consider should you want to hire a letting agent and that list has not even touched on the subject of letting agents fees, of course you need to check and compare but that will vary depending on the services that the letting agents offer, whether that is fully managed or part or just tenant selection.