A Guide to Choosing the Right Letting Agent
When the time comes to let your property, how do you choose which letting agent to appoint? You have a tremendous choice of agencies and, on the surface, most appear to do more or less the same thing. However, there is far more to a successful tenancy than just finding a tenant, and it is critical that you select the best letting agency for you and your property.
Landlords overwhelmingly prefer to work with local experts, whom they regard as "in the know". A local letting agent will have an in-depth knowledge of the lettings market in their area and can give you the best advice. Location have been letting properties on behalf of our landlords for almost ten years in Mansfield and the surrounding areas.
Beware! It is well known that some agents deliberately over-value your property in order to impress you to secure your instruction, so don’t fall into the trap of simply choosing the agent with the highest valuation. An inflated price attracts the wrong viewers to your property, and the right tenants never see it, resulting in the property going stale on the market. This often leads to the properly falling below its true market value, and the landlord suffering loss of income from a longer than necessary void period.
The issue of correct valuation is paramount. It is critical that you appoint an agent who not only has a track record of successful letting in the area (not just properties on the market) but also has a thorough knowledge of current rental market activity, and who can interpret prevailing market trends to your advantage, making sure that your property is let quickly and at the best price.
Many landlords are unaware of the considerable differences between agencies and have no alternative than to decide whom to appoint based on the level of commission charged. This is often a huge mistake and is a bit like buying a car purely on price considerations. All cars go from A to B, but the vast price differential is related to issues of quality, reliability, security, performance and the whole driving experience.
The same is true of estate agents. Some agents simply cannot afford to provide a level of service that is either effective, or makes the letting experience hassle-free. For example, by failing to provide adequate staff training or a dedicated property management team resulting in a poor quality service for you and your tenants.
At Location, we believe in offering the very best value, rather than the cheapest costs.
Too many letting agencies only communicate good news! That’s easy! Good lettings agents are in frequent contact with their clients and have the guts to advise you if anything needs to be done to improve your chances of letting your property. At Location we take communication and customer service seriously, which is why our landlords come back to us every time.
If an agent is not enthusiastic about your property - don’t instruct them. A positive approach to letting your home is essential if tenants are to be inspired into renting your property.
Does the agent accompany all viewings? It is incredible that so few estate agents provide accompanied viewings. Apart from the obvious security issues, only when agents accompany potential tenants around a property can they probe, listen and understand what the tenant really wants. Agents who develop a picture of the tenants’ preferences, tend to have a much higher viewing/let ratio and do not frustrate their clients with unsuitable viewers.
Dedicated Property Management
Some estate agents rely on their lettings staff to manage landlord’s property, this can result in poor service as a lot of the time the staff do not have the time to look after your property properly. Location have a dedicated property management department, whose sole focus is to manage your property, so they make sure rent is collected on time and any maintenance issues are resolved quickly and hassle free. We can effectively manage anything from a single property to large portfolios.
The Internet is a valuable tool in estate agency. But don’t be impressed by any “hit” claims. All web- enabled agents are exposed to many potential tenants, but how well do they qualify those tenants when it comes to discussing your property. It is very easy for a “tenant” to register a passing interest, it takes a well-trained agent to identify those who have a serious and pressing need to move. Find out how easy it is for tenants to use the agent’s property search facility by visiting their website yourself. Is it impressive, state-of-the- art and does it provide useful lettings advice? At Location, we invest in our website to make sure that it is easy to use, informative and above all gets your property let!
Over 80% of people looking to rent use the internet when looking for a property. So you need to be sure that your property is found and promoted - quickly and easily. We are on Rightmove and Zoopla. Good agents list their clients’ property on one of these, but very few list on all. But if you want maximum coverage leading to more tenants and therefore the chance to achieve the very highest price for your home, then you really should use an agent who subscribes to these major portals.
Choosing your Agent
Ultimately, you are best served by choosing a locally based agent who holds values similar to your own.
One who has time to listen; one who understands your needs and concerns; one who can offer real, straight-talking advice; one who takes pride in his/her integrity, combined with a passion for results.
Needless to say, Location not only fulfils, but also goes beyond many of the recommendations outlined here.
You owe it to yourself to make the right choice. So when the time comes to let your property, choose wisely.