Politicians may take first prize in the award for least trusted professionals but following closely behind are estate agents.
Not known for their honesty or helpfulness, estate agents and letting companies potentially hold a lot of power in their hands. Therefore, choosing the right one as a landlord is of paramount importance for a number of reasons.
“Your property is an extremely valuable asset, so firstly it is crucial to pick an agent you can trust,” explains Jane Wilkinson, lettings director for Sussex at Leaders. “If you make a shrewd choice, a quality agent will help you to enjoy the highest possible return on your investment, provide great tenants and take all the strain out of being a landlord.”
Jane has put together five top tips to help those looking to change agents or considering a buy-to-let investment.
- Prioritise professionalism
A professional letting agent is more likely to attract professional applicants, so factors such as high street branches and large teams of property experts should be looked upon favourably. These are signs that an agent is reputable and able to put your property in front of a large audience of prospective tenants.
- Face-to-face contact is crucial
Having an agent you can meet in person at a moment’s notice is important, particularly if you want to discuss prospective tenants, authorise repairs to a property or query a missed rent payment. Some online-only agents cannot offer this valuable service.
- A comprehensive service provides peace of mind
Another of the major downfalls of online-only agents is that they are typically unable to provide a fully managed service. So choose an agent that can take control of every aspect of a tenancy, from finding and vetting quality tenants to maintaining your property and collecting rents.
- Look for maximum value
Cheapest is rarely best in the lettings market, as agents that offer headline-grabbing low rates often fail to deliver even basic services such as conducting viewings. Spending a little more on a quality agent with a track record of success and the ability to get the highest rent for your property is likely to provide the best value for money.
- Marketing is key
Putting your property in front of as many people as possible is a priority, so try to avoid agents that do not invest adequately in marketing. They may offer the lowest rate, but if they cannot match your house or flat with a tenant as quickly as possible you will lose out.