As estate agents look to lettings for survival, expert warns tenants and landlords to be wary of ‘amateurs’
There’s no doubt that times are tough for Britain’s estate agents. Britain’s leading lettings specialist Belvoir, Britain’s leading lettings specialist which has a growing network of franchises stretching across the whole of the UK including Milton Keynes and which manages a property portfolio valued in excess of £1 billion, warns that as the residential sales market continues to go into freefall, more and more estate agents are frantically launching lettings divisions in a desperate attempt to avoid bankruptcy.
Increasing numbers of home owners, unable to secure a sale, are putting their properties up for let - welcome to the new breed of landlord. Meanwhile, renting is back in fashion with demand for quality properties showing no sign of slowing down.
“It’s no wonder that estate agents are trying to cash in on this trend,” says Mike Goddard, Chief Executive of Belvoir, “It’s the one area of the residential property sector which is still booming and, with estate agents being forced to close offices on high streets across the country, this is a move which many are making in a desperate bid for survival.”
Of course, a number of estate agents have been operating lettings divisions for some time and many will have a certain amount of expertise in the sector. However, many more are total newcomers to the residential lettings market and Mike is warning prospective new landlords and tenants to tread carefully before signing on the dotted line with such novices.
“It really pays to work with a specialist lettings agent when looking to let out or rent a property,” explains Mike. “As increasing numbers of people find themselves becoming landlords, what they really need is sound, solid and specialist advice to ensure they know how best to present and market their properties and secure quality tenants and good rental yields. Try and find an experienced agent who can help manage your property and make sure that all deals are done within the correct legal frameworks.”
“Many of the new ‘lettings agents’ – estate agents who are dabbling in the sector as property sales dry up – are aggressively marketing their services as they try to keep the wolf from the door,” continues Mike. “But people should see beyond these glossy marketing campaigns and seek advice and recommendations before making any decisions about who to place their property with. It goes without saying that a quality lettings specialist will have far greater market knowledge and a much better understanding of a landlord’s or tenant’s needs than someone who has just moved into the sector in a bid to make a quick, and much-needed, buck.”
Belvoir offers landlords and tenants the following advice when looking to appoint a lettings and property management company:
- Ask around. Speak to other landlords and tenants and find out who they work with and who they recommend.
- Speak to several agents before making a decision.
- Try to find out how much specialist knowledge an agent has, particularly in terms of the legal side of things. Mistakes can cost the landlord thousands of pounds.
- Ask to speak with other landlords or tenants on their books to find out if they are satisfied with the service they receive.
- Make sure you read the small print before signing on the dotted line.
- If an agent is uncomfortable about you asking questions or tries to fob you off, walk out of the door.
- Confirm that all landlords on their books are members of an accredited landlords’ association such as Safeagent.
- Ensure that there will be clear understandings or contracts in place when considering aspects such as repairs, deposits, inventories etc.
“Not all estate agents are lettings novices,” says Mike. “However with so many new kids coming onto the block at the moment it pays to do your homework and make sure you work with only the very best in your area.”
He continued: “After all for the tenant, there are few things as important as having a safe, secure and comfortable home to live in. And for the landlord, especially the new breed of landlords who will be novices themselves, working with a specialist company will ensure that they don’t get their fingers burnt.”
For further information or to request a free appraisal of your property please contact:
Belvoir! Milton Keynes
T: 01908 562582