5 Reasons to Use a Letting Agent
If you have a property to rent out, it may be tempting to consider managing the process yourself and therefore avoid the fees charged by letting agencies. But what are the advantages offered by using a letting agent?
1. Stay on the right side of the law
Being a landlord can be complex, and there are specific legal requirements that must be followed or the penalties can be severe. Research conducted in 2014 suggested that more than half of the landlords currently involved in buy-to-let weren’t really weren’t sure what their responsibilities were!
Lettings agencies specialise in getting properties ready for tenants and keeping those properties compliant with legislation. If the law changes, they’ll let you know what you need to do, so you don’t have to scour the news for information, which can often be tricky to understand. Often, the letting agent can manage processes for you as well, so for example, if you need a Legionella risk assessment conducted, they’ll not only make you aware of it, but they can arrange for it to be conducted, any issues addressed and documentation issued without you having to lift a finger.
2. Maximise your rental income
Letting agents see thousands of properties every year. They know what is attractive to prospective tenants, and can advise you on any small changes which you could make to your property in order to maximise your income. Whether that is a quick redecoration or supplying some furnishings, they will discuss with you what the potential cost could be and what a difference this could make to your monthly rental income so that you can make an informed decision.
Letting agents can also advise you on the best price to charge for your property, taking into account its location, unique features, and also your needs for a certain income or for the property to be let in a certain period of time.
3. Find the perfect tenant quickly and easily
After taking on your property, a letting agent will photograph, advertise, arrange viewings for and tenant your property for you, with virtually no effort on your part.
Often, agencies have a list of prospective tenants on hand, so they could match your property up with dozens of interested parties before it even really goes on the market.
They also know the right language to use in an advert to attract the type of tenant you’re looking for, and have access to tools such as Lettingweb.com where your property can be seen by thousands of people.
When a tenant has been found, you’ll still have the final decision, but your letting agent will take care of any credit checks, reference requests, and compliance requirements that are needed. They will also ensure that the tenant’s deposit is correctly secured and managed.
4. You don’t have to be the maintenance man, the bill collector and the noise abatement team
Managing your own properties means that if something goes wrong, you are at the front line of fixing it. Imagine 3am on a winter’s morning, your phone ringing because your tenant’s boiler has broken down. Next steps for you are to ring round contractors, trying to find someone who can go to your property quickly without costing the earth. Or, you could have a letting agent in place who will take that call, and have an engineer out to fix it before you’re even finished breakfast. And because of the volume of work letting agencies send to contractors, they may even be able to get a better deal than you could do yourself.
Letting agents will also be responsible for collecting your rent payment. So if your tenants don’t pay the rent, you can be sure that your agent is chasing your money down, without you having to knock on doors to get it.
And hopefully your tenants will be wonderful neighbours (the vast majority are!). But if they do decide to party hard and this causes problems, your letting agent is the one who will address any anti-social behaviour.
5. It may not cost as much as you think
If even after thinking through the reality of being a self-managing landlord, you still think that using a letting agent will eat into your rental income, it is worth doing some research.
There are a huge number of letting agents out there, and many of them offer a range of services. So if you feel that a full-managed service is more than you really need, you can select a tenant search service instead, where you can be ‘hands off’ until the tenant moves in, safe in the knowledge that the right tenant has been found and all the legal requirements to that point taken care of.
There are plenty of different options depending on your needs, so investigate them all, and compare the fees charged by different agencies before you make your final selection.
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