What should you look for in a letting agent?
08 June 2018
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If you are a landlord and are considering using a letting agent, you are not alone. In less than two decades the UK’s private rental market has undergone a transformation, with housing stock more than doubling, from just under 10% in 2000 to 20% (the equivalent of 4.7 million households) in 2017. With 92% of private landlords letting less than five properties and 59% letting only a single property that is a significant number of landlords with property to let.
Why use a letting agent?
Why do landlords use letting agents and could it work for you? The diagram below uses the answers from 600 UK private landlords who participated in the Landlord’s Perspective Survey 2017 to show their reasons for choosing their existing letting agent.
Knowledge of local market
As a property owner, you already know the importance of researching an area and how valuable first-hand experience of a location can be. Knowing that the agent managing your property also has a good knowledge of the local market provides a reassurance that they will find the right tenant for your property and that you will receive the best rental income. Established in 1991, Arun Estates have long known the value of specialist neighbourhood knowledge, which is why we have local experts in every location covered by our branch network.
Good reviews/word of mouth
The same survey showed that almost a quarter of landlords chose their letting agent based on the recommendations of other people. It may come as no surprise to learn that since the changes in buy-to-let legislation in 2016 and the recent ban on tenant fees, the number of landlords entrusting the running of their rental properties to property management companies has steadily increased, rising by 7% since the end of 2016. Currently around 70% of the UK’s private landlords employ letting agencies to manage their private rentals.
Richard Price, Executive Director of the UK Association of Letting Agents, believes that private landlords could benefit from property management services now more than ever, commenting that the figures show that “an increasing proportion of landlords rely on agents at present, which is testament to the professional work undertaken by the vast majority of agents in the sector. It’s an uncertain time for anyone who owns a buy-to-let property, so the steady hand of a reputable agent is exactly what many landlords are looking for right now.”
It can be helpful to find out about other people’s experiences, in person and through online reviews. This will give you an insight into their property management choices and gives landlords and indication of the service they can expect to receive.
The feedback also showed that 41% of the 600 respondents had left a letting agent and poor customer service was the reason for this almost two-thirds of the time.
Many property management companies mistakenly believe that fees are a landlord’s only concern. Whilst no one wants to spend more money than necessary, we all know the truth in ‘you get what you pay for’.
Knowing that someone is on hand when you need them and that your property is being regularly inspected and well-maintained, can far outweigh the prospect of saving a few pounds. That does not however mean that those providing property management services should be complacent when it comes to price.
Good customer service
The majority of those with a property to let are prepared to pay for a quality service package, perhaps having previously experienced the false economy of employing the cheapest letting agent, with little or nothing to show for it. Over half (51.7%) of the landlords who had never left a letting agent advised that they would do so in any of the following scenarios:
These responses reflect that landlords, quite rightly, expect those managing their property to offer a full customer service and support package, find and regularly liaise with the right tenant, routinely inspect the property and freeze fees.
The other things that landlords considered when choosing a letting agent were that they found a tenant quickly and whether they were the existing agent that already managed the property.
Having the largest independent estate agency network in the South East means we are able to reach potential tenants and landlords throughout the area, providing all the benefits of a larger organisation, including competitive pricing, 24/7 customer support and branches that are open 8am to 8pm seven days a week – all whilst maintaining the personal touch of a smaller independent agent.
Arun Estates meets all of the criteria raised by the survey and more. If your letting agent doesn’t, maybe it is time to switch.
Recent government changes have made it more important than ever to have a reliable letting agent on your side and that is why we have introduced the ‘Lets switch’ initiative. Taking the stress out of switching your letting agent and allowing you to get more from renting your property, ‘Lets switch’ is easy and straightforward. We will even give you up to £250 cash-back towards any early release fees payable to your existing letting agent. Simply give your existing agent your authority to deal with them directly and we’ll do the rest. Then feel free to take advantage of the many benefits we offer, including:
- Frozen management fees until 2020
- Annual rental value reviews
- 6-monthly property inspection
- 3 months’ FREE rent protection
- FREE mortgage health check
- Open house scheme & extensive tenant database