Choosing A Letting Agent
Local property expert, Lucie White, explains the important things to look for in a letting agent
If you’re a private landlord, chances are you’re feeling a little squeezed. Unprecedented changes in legislation, mortgage interest tax relief restrictions and a tight rental market mean that we’re having to think hard about how our property investments are working for us.
It has never been more important for your lettings agent to get it right. You need the best possible tenants, paying market rents, on time; and you need to minimise the costs associated with maintenance and wear and tear. But with so many agents competing for your business, how do you find the right one? Here are a few things to look out for:
- Are they well established, with plenty of letting experience? Well established doesn’t have to mean a high street chain. Lucie White & Company is small and independent, but we have been in business for over a decade.
- Are they local? If your agent is based elsewhere, they are unlikely to have a good handle on local market trends, or know where to find high quality tenants.
- Are they buy-to-let experts? There is a raft of legislation around buy-to-let property ownership, so your agent needs to be on top of that.
- Do they have strong property management skills? A good property manager can save you money by staying on top of maintenance issues, identifying ways to minimise wear and tear, and connecting you with trusted contractors.
- Are they a member of the Property Redress Scheme or another appropriate consumer redress scheme? This is a legal requirement for property agents.
- Are they a member of Client Money Protect? This is not yet a legal requirement, but is likely to be soon. Organisations like this protect your money against theft or misappropriation by your agent.
Fees are, of course, a factor – but before you go for the cheapest option, consider what you’re getting in return. Will your agent go the extra mile and help you get the most from your investment?
If you’d like further advice, give us a call. You can check off everything in the list above and you might even find that our fees are a pleasant surprise.