Landlords’ frustrations against agencies
Having come across various articles, forums and comments I feel it is absolutely necessary to address several issues that have been aimed against letting agencies by various landlords over the years.
I completely understand the frustration and stress that some landlords must have gone through while dealing with a letting agency, although that should not be the reason not to trust every other agency and not considering an option of having your property managed by an agency again.
Being a landlord is not as easy as some may think, especially if you are only starting to build your portfolio and are still in a process of learning the legal aspects of renting the property. At the same time you want your property to be occupied by serious, respectable and fair tenants. With all this comes the responsibility of legal checks within the property inc. Gas safety or Pat.
As an agent in my opinion you should try and manage your 1st property just to see how many legal checks, paper work and trips you will be taking on. This way you learn all the basics of what it is to be a fully managing landlord and whether you have time to manage all the other properties you might be investing in.
When should I use an agent?
If you find yourself not able to manage your properties with full time job on a side, this is when an agent comes in handy. The most important thing for you to do before signing up with an agency is to get quotes from various places and then really think them through. DO NOT think the cheapest offer you get is the best offer. Often agencies might give you a discount of 70% of a set up fee for a fully managed service. This most of the time means that they desperately need your property but will not provide you with the service you deserve. You need to learn that the cheapest is not the best because at the end of the day if you don’t pay an agent enough money then you will never be a priority to them. This is the most common mistake landlords make – going for the cheapest.
At the same time you as a landlord want to make money and don’t end up giving up half of it to an agency every month. Some agencies offer you various deals with a fully managed service but you do need to read your contract, because often you may see costs that you might not be aware of until it is taken of you. Most agents – if they are fair and honest should tell you about them upfront. For example as an agent carrying a valuation with a landlord I will make him aware of a monthly and set up cost but will also mention that the cost of any repairs in the property will be taken of your rental income. If the landlord believes that he/she can get a cheaper deal themselves that is fine but you have to mention that to the agent.
Another issue that always comes up is a “house visit”. Many landlords think that this is included but often you need to ask your agent to do that (extra fee may apply) so the suggestion is to be honest with each other and don’t be afraid to ask for things in details while discussing a deal.
Which agency should I choose?
Letting agencies can be very good – all you need to do is browse around and get to know them too if you can. Look out for agent’s attitude and passion towards their work and how they deal with you as a primary customer. Another idea is to look for smaller independent agencies where there might only be one or two offices with only few people employed. The advantage of those is that you can get in touch with the right person without troubles and that they normally treat landlords very personally not as a whole. As an agent myself I know all my landlord’s names by heart and am very familiar with all of the properties, tenants living in them, and the landlord’s requirements.