What’s the best way to let a property?
You need to find tenants and I’ve no doubt you’ve given quite a lot of thought to the different ways you can do this, and more pertinently how much it’s going to cost you.
Although estate agents will tell you differently, finding tenants and managing a property isn’t something that’s exclusive to them, because you can actually do it yourself and just as well too, you just need to give up a fair amount of your time.
Our advice is different from what other estate agents will tell you (and perhaps it’s slightly controversial), but we know it works.
In fact we’ll tell you things other agents just wouldn’t dare to, because lets face it, the more ‘insider stuff’ they give away, the more business they’ll eventually lose.
If you’re on board, awesome: you can either use our ideas to let your property without an estate agent, or you can give us a call to find out how we can help you more.
Many landlords however do eventually opt to use an estate agent
How exactly do you choose the right agent?
There's no one right answer, but there is the best answer for you. And the answer depends on the service you want and the goals you’ve set for your investment – because the property you are renting is your investment. It’s your pension, your growth plan and your start to a better life for you or your children.
Here are a few ideas we have that may help you make your selection.
If a friend of yours has had their world shaken by a brilliant agent, we’d recommend you put them on your list of people to call.
If you don’t have any recommendations from friends, then the next best thing is to check out what their clients say about them on a review site such as allagents.co.uk. And once you have spoke to the agents you’ve shortlisted, why not ask to speak to an actual client of theirs. Go on, dare them to pass you real client details.
Decide what kind of service you actually need?
Most agents will offer a range of services, the most basic being a tenant find service through to full management services, so you’ll need to decide exactly what you need. If you require management services, you need to make sure the agent has the right kind of insurances in place to protect your money.
Most good quality tenant-finding services will include:
• An initial review of the local property market along with a valuation / marketing plan for your property.
• Professional photography & floor-plans to maximise the response to your advert.
• Advertising on Rightmove, Zoopla and the biggest UK websites.
• A tenant criteria check before viewings are booked.
• Negotiating the best rent possible for you.
• Detailed reference checks on tenants and results reports passed to you for review.
• The option of whether you require an AST agreement prepared and administered.
• A professional inventory check-in report provided.
• The option of whether you or the agent registers the tenant’s deposit and the sending (and signing) of relevant mandatory prescribed information forms.
• The option to protect your rent and avoid rent arrears.
A full management service should look like this
Make sure your letting agent is registered with an approved redress scheme
Make sure the agent you use belongs to a redress scheme, such as the TPO (The Property Ombudsman) and furthermore (and especially if you require your property managed) a regulatory professional body such as ARLA or NALS. You can read why this is important to you here.
Fees & charges (and eating into your long term profits)
We would suggest you understand the true cost of the agents fee’s by knowing:
• The fee to find tenants.
• The monthly fee to manage your property and whether it includes any insurance to protect your rent.
• The fee to prepare your tenancy agreement.
• The fee to carry out an inventory check-in and check-out.
• The fee to register your tenants deposit with a Tenant Deposit Scheme.
• The fee to visit your property and wait for trades (applies to management services only).
• The fee if your tenant stays for an additional term (renewal fee).
• Whether the agent adds a surcharge for maintenance jobs booked (management).
• The fee to handle a deposit claim.
Do you like the agent and trust them to look after your property?
If you are going to use an estate agent (and especially if they will be managing your property) you’ll need to trust them to be competent, at the very least and check they have the right insurances to protect you (because they will be dealing with your rent and deposit monies)
Has the agent spoken honestly and candidly, appears to be knowledgeable and builds rapport with you easily? Or are you hearing all the usual guff, empty promises and hot air?
We all tend to work better with people we like, and trust, and the feeling should be mutual.
Over the next few weeks we'll send a series of emails telling everything you need to know about finding the best tenants, how you can 'bullet proof' your property and why it's so utterly important you follow the TDS scheme rules. The next email however shows you how following a few simple steps can help you attract a higher rent for your property.
In the meantime if there is anything you want to ask about this mail or about letting or managing property in general, we love to talk, so please call us.