to find a reputable letting agent.

Investing in property has grown in popularity for many reasons and in many instances purely down to personal circumstances. With continued record low interest rates, the attraction of property investment is unlikely to change. Following this trend, an increase in the number of letting services has naturally followed and whilst many are professional there are several that should be avoided.

Regardless of whether you are just thinking about becoming a landlord or have a sizeable portfolio, with so many legislation changes in recent years, ensuring your investment is in safe hands must be a priority so why not read on…..

Professional Accreditation

There are a number of professional bodies that Letting Agents can become members of and whilst not currently a legal requirement, the more professional companies will not only be members but will promote the association and membership in their marketing literature, windows and on their website.

A selection of associations to look out for are as follows:

Suitable Services

The service offered by letting agents can vary, so it is important to check what they offer will be right for you. Knowing what you want from your agent is the first step, so take the time to explore your requirements before making enquiries. Do you want to take a hands-on approach to your business? Or, would you prefer to have someone manage your property for you? Every landlord has different requirements, and only you can answer the question of just how involved you want to be.

Most companies will offer the following two service packages:

TENANT FIND/LET ONLY

Primarily geared towards professional Landlords that will be running their properties as their main business so can be on hand to deal with any issues that may arise. Landlords will have a fair amount of knowledge of the legal requirements and processes.

FULLY MANAGED SERVICE

This tends to be the most popular following increased legislation. The most thorough service that will allow you to sit back and enjoy your investment and let someone handle the day to day running of your investment.

Professional Insurance

Where companies belong to a professional trade body such as ARLA, NAEA, NALS, they will offer a Client Money Protection scheme that will provide landlords (and tenants) with the peace of mind should there be an issue.

It is a legal requirement to show whether they belong to a CMP scheme or not, so keep an eye out or simply ask any Letting Agents you are in contact with.

Legal Requirements and Advice

You must ensure your property meets the legal requirements when letting a property and in the UK we tend to have a few more than other countries. Whether it’s the electrical testing, gas safety certificates or more recently the Right to Rent checks that were introduced.

It is worthwhile asking the letting agent exactly what you must comply with to get a feel for their knowledge and also whether they are able to help to arrange any required tests/works to be carried out. Be aware that getting this wrong or ignoring the responsibilities can prove costly so it is an important point to check.

Clear Charging Structure

Many Letting Agents compete with one another using their headline percentage rate and whilst you may get attracted by the lower rates, it may not always appear as it seems.

What is it you will be getting for that advertised rate and what other charges will or may apply moving forward after that period?

Ask the questions and check some of the popular add-on costs:

Interim inspections

Schedule of conditions

Weekend move-ins

Vacant property charges

Administration fees

While you should definitely be careful about the fees that you’ll be charged, it is equally important to take a look at the bigger picture when you come to make your final decision. Opting for the cheapest agent for that reason alone may lead to trouble, so make sure that the level of service is up to scratch, too. As with so many things in life, when it comes to finding the right letting agent, you often get what you pay for.

Quality Marketing

It is important that your Letting Agent doesn’t sit back and hope that one form of marketing will attract the right tenant, at the end of the day it could be you that is sat there with an empty property and that will ultimately cost you money.

Where are they going to market your property? How attractive are the photographs? Do they include a floorplan? Whether window displays, websites, social media or even their database of tenants, it is essential to understand they are trying to reach as many potential tenants as possible.

Previous and Existing Clients

The final check and one of the most important ones will be to research what their customers say about their service. Word of mouth is particularly strong and now you can use the internet to check whether they actually carry out all the marketing, professional service and whether they always easy to get hold of when you need to contact them.

If you would like to speak with us regarding the letting or purchase of an investment property our staff are all trained to handle both aspects of selling and letting and would be we would be delighted to hear from you.

You can contact our Customer Services Team until 10pm, 7 days a week on 0333 0146 140 or visit our website to find your local office contact details.

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