Benefits of using a Letting Agent
A new landlord or experienced one, Letting a property successfully can be a time consuming and complex process Using a letting agent can help you to mitigate many of these risks and save you time. Whilst most tenancies run smoothly, a good agent will help you match your property to the right tenant. If for any reason you do have a difficult tenancy, you will quickly come to understand the value of a good letting agent.
Can I afford an agent? Can I manage without one?
Using an agent is not as expensive as you might think and what it costs you in fees, will save you in valuable time, worry and any potential issues that may arise.
Agents are especially great if you’re new to being a landlord and want:
- To reduce stress and hassle
- Guidance and advice
- A safety net if something goes wrong
- Help because the property is far away from where you live
- A contact between yourself and the tenants
- To save time
- Legal aspects covered, taking care of deposit schemes etc
If you decide to use a letting agency, a professional letting agent will begin the process by giving you a substantiated view on the market and a realistic idea of the average monthly rent that you can expect to achieve on your property. They will also be able to offer advice on the type of tenant that your property will appeal to.
What you can expect from an agent
A lettings agent will be able to offer advice on the best way to maximise the amount of rent you can generate. They will often offer knowledgeable simple ideas that will help make your property more marketable and set expectations around the levels of viewings to expect when your property goes on the market.
Professional photography and floorplans are key aspects of marketing your property in the best possible light, so that you can attract the highest calibre tenant, and a letting agent can arrange all of this for you. A floorplan can also allow prospective tenants to get a feel for whether the property is suitable for them and can help weed out inappropriate viewings.
The lettings market is a legislative minefield at the moment and using an agent can help steer you through the maze. There are many things to consider: EPC, gas safety certificates, right to rent, deposit protection, and if you don’t know your Section 21 from your Section 8 then you would be well advised to speak to a local expert.
Once you have found a tenant, it is important that they are referenced effectively. A local agent will not only be able to professionally reference any potential tenants for you but will also be able to offer advice around rental indemnity or any need for a guarantor.
Lettings agents will also register the tenant’s deposit with an appropriate scheme and protect you from the potential fines for not doing so. Most relationships between lettings agents and landlords work very effectively but you always have the confidence that you have access to a redress scheme should you not be happy with any aspect of their service.
Agents will be able to diffuse any minor relationship issues with your tenants as they can advise on what an appropriate request from a tenant that should be fulfilled is, and what it is ok to say no to. A good agent will stop a minor dispute escalating into a rental dispute. Having the rent collected by a professional agent also gives you confidence that should that there be any delay or issue with payments, they will take the appropriate steps to protect you legally and give you the best opportunity for recovering the rent or regaining possession of the property.
As you can see there is much more to renting out your property than worrying about fixing the boiler if it breaks. Having said that it is easy to underestimate the value of having someone coordinating any maintenance issues. Agents tend to have good relationships with local contractors or even their own in-house team that can help get work completed efficiently at a fair price.
A strong local agent can effectively manage the relationship with the tenant which can lead to happier tenants staying in your property for longer, helping to avoid periods where the property remains empty. If your tenant does hand in their notice, a proactive agent, with your approval, will ensure that your property goes back on the market as quickly as possible, again to help reduce the risk of any void periods. They can also manage the deposit resolution process to give you the best chance of agreeing to appropriate dilapidation deductions.
Questions to ask the potential agent:
- How is the lettings market locally?
- Which properties have they recently let that are similar to yours?
- How long did they take to let?
- How many viewings does it take on average to let a property?
- What do they do to proactively generate viewings?
- What sort of rental figures are they achieving at the moment?
- Will you have one point of contact?
- Where is their property management team based?
- What type of tenant do they envisage renting your kind of property?
- What do they include in their marketing? Professional photos? Floorplans?
- Which Client Money Protection scheme do they belong to?
- Do they belong to any trade bodies such as ARLA or UKALA?
- Can they provide any landlord testimonials?