As some landlords will know, there are many pros and cons to using a letting agent. A letting agent can be particularly useful if you live too far away from your properties to be able to manage them properly. Sometimes, the many pros and cons all boil down to cost and time management. Many landlords switch to using a letting agent when the DIY approach becomes too overwhelming and restricting.
Firstly, what are letting agents?
The role of a letting agent is to find suitable tenants to occupy a property on behalf of a landlord. The agent will assess a property and once a rental agreement is made by the agent and landlord, the agent will then advertise the property. They will then update the landlord about received interest and will then act as a negotiator to settle a deal. The agent will also create a letting agreement for the property.
Choosing the right agent
There are two important areas to consider when choosing a letting agent: fees and services. If you are new to using an agent, word of mouth can sometimes be the best way to pick out a reputable agent.
In order to establish their list of services, question them rigorously so that you are clear about what you will be paying for. Many agents offer on a ‘no let no fee’ basis so it is worth considering hiring several agents to increase the chances of letting your property. You should also weigh up the pros and cons of using either a large agency or a smaller, specialist letting agency which sometimes offer a more personal and tailor made service.
Many agents charge a percentage of the monthly rent as a fee – usually 10% for the first year. It is best to shop around for the best deals and prices. Ask for testimonials from past clients and their history of letting in the area. Ask how they intend to market your property and which types of tenants they have let to in the past.
For a full management service, an agent’s fee can rise to 15%. Extra services include regular property inspections, overseeing maintenance work, and collecting rent money. If you feel that you require this full service, you should also investigate property management agents, particularly if you are letting on a short-term basis.
It is important to note that you can always advertise property free online, so it is worth evaluating whether an extra pair of hands would be worth the fees or if you can actually spare a bit more time to oversee your own property management.