With literally tens of thousands of letting agents to choose from nationally, and a high street (and virtual high street) full of local options, how do you begin to choose who to entrust with your investment property and what should you expect from your letting agent?
We’ve compiled a checklist of four key things to look out for when choosing a letting agent. If the answer’s no to any of the below, you might want to reconsider who you currently let with.
- Has the letting agent got a shop front?
Your experience as a landlord will be partly determined by how well your agent manages the relationship with your tenant – so the credibility and stature of the agent you choose is important.
We believe that you should work with a business that has a physical presence, ideally pavement fronting. Tenants will take confidence from the fact that they are able to walk into the agency should they have an issue to report or if they are not getting an appropriate response.
2. Do they have experience and track record?
In busy times in the property market, agents will pop up all the time, tempted by a booming market and the promise of easy fees. Don’t take a risk on a start-up agent unless the principals have years of industry experience with other agencies. You need to be able to get the very best local market knowledge and the certainty that the relevant legislation will be observed.
3. Have they got happy clients?
Unless your agent is able to show you testimonials from clients whom they have acted for over a number of years, you are taking a risk. Landlords are incredibly loyal to their agents, due mainly to the perception that there is a massive risk in changing agents. However, it is not necessarily the case that long-standing clients are happy with the service they are getting, it’s just fear of change / lack of time and knowledge that prevents them swapping agents. Ask to see written testimonials.
4. Are they on top of recent laws and managing properties well?
Agents are now under all sorts of legal and financial obligations (quite right, too), and as they will be acting on your behalf, you need to be certain that they are both aware of and adhering to the latest legislation.
At the same time, they need to be able to demonstrate that they have systems and procedures in place which will ensure that your property is well looked after, properly maintained, rented at the right price and empty as little as possible.
For more advice and information, visit www.cityliving.co.uk.