Employing a letting agent can be a great way to ensure your properties are properly managed especially if you’re don’t have the time or the experience. There are two main types of letting agents that you can choose to work with. If you want to work with people who have a good knowledge of the local area, you can choose to work with a small independent company. If you have more than one property or you’re dealing with company lets then an agent from a larger company may serve you better. If you need marketing resources, a letting agent from an estate agency can be a good alternative.
Factors to consider when choosing a management company
1. First Impressions: Most letting agents are only paid when the property is occupied. You should get in touch with more than one company to get a better understanding of what a management company is offering you. You can also visit their website and view their ads. When agents are hard to reach, rude or sloppy, this doesn’t bode well for your future relationship.
2. Personal recommendations: Get in touch with other landlords and see if they can recommend a good letting agent. You should also search the web since some landlord somewhere may have had something to say about the service.
3. Experience: A company that has been around for a while will likely be a better choice. Look for companies who’ve had experience managing properties similar to yours in terms of tenants and location.
4. Additional Fees: Some agents charge tenants a registration fee, which helps to reduce the number of time-wasters. This, however, can dissuade some tenants so it’s best to find out if your agent charges this extra fee. Avoid agents with fees that are too high.
5. Professional association membership: Agents who are members of professional associations are bound by a code of practice and they are also kept well informed when there are changes in relevant laws.
6. Type of service needed: There are three types of services that you can usually get from a letting agent. A letting-only service is the most affordable and in this case, the agent will only be helping you to find tenants. The second choice is letting service with rent collection. This means that the agent will be in charge of finding tenants and collecting the rent from them. The last option is a full management service which means that the agent will be handling everything including daily operations.
7. Fees: Some agents are paid a flat fee while others are paid a percentage of the rent collected. A full management service can take up 10-15% of the rent. Be careful though, about any extra fees.
8. No ambiguity: The responsibilities of the letting agent has to be clear with regard to the operation and maintenance of the property so read the contract carefully.
9. Notice period: A long notice period can complicate things when you’re looking to get rid of a letting agent. Two months is a normal notice period but some can be as long as six months.