The estate & letting agent profession is deemed the 7th most untrustworthy profession. However for a busy landlord, having a good letting agent is critical to enjoying leisure time & safeguarding a property investment. So how does a landlord find a good letting letting agent, in an industry with such a bad reputation?
In our opinion, there are two types of letting agents. The vast majority, have your best interests at heart. They want to provide a good service to landlords, ensuring a long term partnership with both benefiting.
Then there’s the minority, the reason why the industry tarnished with a poor reputation. These are the letting agents that offer a poor service based on a high fees & a lack of accountability.
The repercussions of using the wrong letting agent are substantial.
You’ll soon see large %’s of your rental income eaten up before it hits your account, poor tenants and a lack of compliance to property regulation.
Here are a list of things to look out for when trying to get the best letting agent.
Letting agents that are regulated
Whether looking for a new bank, plumber, builder or even a hairdresser, compliance to regulations is a key indicator to a service providers quality.
There are many regulatory bodies in the letting industry. One of which is each agent should be part of a government-approved letting agency redress scheme.
Partnering with a letting agent who are part of one of the schemes, points to an acceptable code of conduct and adherence to the letting industries regulator requirements.
Searching to get the best letting agent using Rent Round not only shows you letting agent fees & performance in your area, but landlords also get to see which schemes a letting agent is part of.
Rightmove & Zoopla
The supply line for finding tenants are these two big players. If your perspective agent doesn’t have a big presence on these two portals, it may be worth looking elsewhere.
Costs in the small print
We’ve all been suckered into a decently priced service, to later find a list of add on fees being thrown your way (making the sole reason you picked the cheapest service obsolete!)
Luckily under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, agents must prominently display a list of their fees at each of their offices as well as on their website.
Hence a breakdown of fees & potential charges are helping landlords understand what to expect.
A common hindrance to landlords is the tenancy renewal fee.
If a letting agent has charged you £X amount to find a tenant, then after 12 months, you could be left paying the exact same amount, just to renew documentation, even though it’s the same tenant
Terms & conditions
This is the paperwork between a landlord & the letting agency. It’s usually full of legal wording which won’t make much sense to the average person.
The key item to look out for is exit stipulations. Landlords can be subjected to heavy fees if they decide to disengage with the letting agent early. Ensure you clarify what the fees are if you decide you know longer want to work with the agent.
This can get even more complicated if you have a tenant a letting agent found for you, currently in your property.
Years in the industry
When trying to find a good letting agent, years established can be a tricky method of establishing the quality of a letting agent’s service.
Many years in the industry can point to a strong foothold in the market with a wealth of knowledge.
Alternatively, a newly established letting agent could imply a fresh look on letting services, streamlining old processes to become more cost efficient and therefore offer more competitive prices.
We certainly seeing that in the online letting agent movement, with extremely low fixed prices now on offer.
The above is why it’s key to also factor in letting agent ratings.
On Rent Round, ratings are assigned per letting agent based on a host of sources, Trust Pilot, Google, All Agents and so on.
Letting agent response rates
When looking for the best letting agent, their responsiveness to your queries is essential.
If even before you have signed up to a particular letting agents service you’re experience delays, you can only expect that to get worse once they have your business (after all, at this point the large part of the money is already in the bank for them).
If the letting agent isn’t quick before they’ve got your property, it won’t be any quicker after.
Packages on offer
Another tip on how to find a good letting agent is the types of packages on offer. Packages indicate letting agents are able to adapt to differing needs of different landlords, a strong indicator to a good letting agent.
Some landlords are happy to collect rent and fix properties themselves, whereas others may want to completely hands off approach.
Plus there’s the essentials landlords need in place with their tenants, certificates, legal documentation, inventory taking as examples.
If a letting agent is restrictive in terms of the services & essentials on offer, it indicates a lack of know how across landlord needs and the market.
Non-refundable tenant-find fee
Fancy paying an agent even if they don’t find a tenant for you? Me neither.
You will want to ensure you have the right to reject tenants and have references in place before any agreements in place.
For some agents, they quest to fill a property as quickly as possible with the goal, without consideration to the type of tenant that is found.
It’s your property and £100,000’s spent, so you will want to ensure the person living in the property is going to respect the premises and work well with other tenants, should you have them already in other rooms of the property.
Type of tenant
If a letting agent doesn’t ask what type of tenant you’re looking for, that’s a serious warning signal.
Other rooms in your property may be filled with professionals going to bed early every night.
If the letting agent fills the property with a fun loving, party animal student, you could have a mutiny on your hands!
How often a letting agent is available is another pointer to finding a good letting agent.
Firstly, for your queries, you want to be able to make contact over evenings and weekends.
Then you have to look at it from a tenant’s perspective. Tenants move quickly. So if your letting agent isn’t offering competitive opening times as compared to competitors, you’re at risk of missing out on inquiries
We’ve all been surfing the web being nosy in regards to what properties are on offer in our areas. Nothing is more annoying than missing floor plans, poor quality pictures or a lack of detail about the property.
If your potential letting agent is a culprit, regular posting poor postings on Zoopla & Right Move, then that’s a signal to avoid.
A neat and clear website indicates a professional company, this is a basic necessity.
Without such a website in place, you have to ask if the company can’t make a good first impression on the internet, how good can the company really be?
Savvy landlords will always be looking for promotional offers.
Letting agents often offer discounts on multiple rooms & properties, deals on insurances & some services for free if rent is over a higher amount.
Make sure when you’re picking the best letting agent you’re taking advantage of these cost cutting opportunities.
We hope our tips on how to find a good letting agent have helped! Remember, to compare letting agent fees & performance, Rent Round offers free searches for landlords.
Just type in your property postcode below & you’re on your way to finding the perfect letting agent for your property.