Having a professional estate agency on your side is vital to your success, regardless of whether you are thinking about becoming a landlord for the first time or already have a property portfolio. The issue is that as the popularity of buy-to-let investments has grown, so has the number of low-quality agents. There are several attractive policies by the estate agencies like free no-obligation house valuation which is one of the essential things to look for while choosing a letting agent. To help you choose the best agent, consider the below factors.
Examine their credentials.
The first thing you should seek for is membership in the National Approved Letting Scheme by your letting agent of choice. Any agent worth their salt will be a part of it, and any literature they provide you should conspicuously disclose their affiliation with the plan. Remember that letting agents are not required by law to be regulated, so look for those who are proactive in joining programmes that demonstrate their professionalism.
Other trustworthy, professional organisations to keep an eye on are:
The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)
The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
There are other initiatives to be aware of as well. Make sure the agency you’re considering is a SAFEagent. If they are, it implies they are a member of the Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme, which protects your money and is approved by the government.
Members of the Property Ombudsman will also provide you with additional peace of mind, since they will ensure that you and your property are always properly protected.
Verify their insurance coverage.
While the Client Money Protection Scheme helps a lot, you should still double-check that your new renting agent is properly insured. Inquire about their professional indemnity insurance and the amount of coverage they have. Professional indemnity insurance not only protects the agent in the unlikely event that they are sued, but it is also a sign of a well-run company.
Verify if their service meets your requirements.
Because letting agents’ services vary, it’s crucial to double-check that what they have to offer is right for you. The first step is to figure out what you want from your agent, so spend some time thinking about it before making inquiries. Do you want to be more hands-on in your business? Or would you rather have someone else manage your property? Every landlord has their own set of criteria, and only you can decide how engaged you want to be.
You’ll be in a better position to make the best selection for your company once you know what degree of service you require. Many agents provide a three-tiered service option list that looks like this:
Only let – This option is ideal for landlords who see their investments as their primary source of income and principal business. Professional landlords generally prefer the Let Only option since they have the time and knowledge to manage their properties directly.
Rent collection — Some landlords are glad to take care of the day-to-day aspects of property management but want to stay out of the financial details. This form of investor is ideal for rent collection. It’s also worth remembering that many tenants will pay an agent first before paying an individual. This is largely because they know that if payments are lost or late, agents will follow them promptly.
Complete management – This top-tier service level is appropriate for anyone looking for a long-term investment that practically looks after itself. All of the day-to-day chores connected with being a landlord will be handled by a dedicated management team, leaving you free to do anything you choose!
Check to discover if they handle legal matters.
Being a landlord entails more than just purchasing a property and finding a renter; you must also meet a few legal obligations. Gas and electrical safety rules, as well as the Right to Rent inspections that went into effect earlier this year, must be adhered to (Feb 2016).
For the uninformed, meeting these legal requirements might be a headache. As a result, choosing a rental agent who will take care of them for you is critical if you want to be confident that your company remains compliant throughout the tenure.
Examine their promotional efforts.
A vacant home is every landlord’s worst nightmare, so you need to trust that your rental agent will do everything possible to find you a suitable tenant as soon as possible. While every agent will offer similar claims, there are techniques to double-check things yourself.
Keep an eye on how the agent promotes other homes that they have on their books. Do they only use one type of promotion? If they do, there’s a good chance they won’t reach the widest possible audience in your area. Quality letting agents will have a presence on the main street as well as on social media.
See if they make thorough checks
It’s regrettable, but true: some tenants will not treat a property as if it were their own, despite having to live there! Good renting agency will thoroughly research potential renters before placing them in your home, reducing the odds of you getting stuck with a nightmare tenant.
It’s also a good idea to inquire about how often the agent would inspect the property throughout the tenancy. Staying on top of things and doing regular inspections can help you keep your tenant in line and guarantee that your investment is kept in good shape.
Examine the fees
When it comes to costs, the amount you’ll have to pay varies a lot from one agency to the next. Make sure you’re fully aware of all fees that may apply so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises down the road. Vacant property fees, specific service charges (such as drafting agreements, taking inventories, and so on), renewal commissions, admin fees, and estate agency fees are examples of these.
While you should be wary of the costs you’ll be charged, it’s also crucial to consider the big picture while making your ultimate decision. Choosing the cheapest agent just on price may result in problems, so be sure the level of service is up to par as well. When it comes to selecting the proper letting agent, as with so many other things in life, you often get what you pay for.