There are various reasons and triggers that may come to cause you to need to instruct a letting agent to let and manage a property of yours. It is possible that you have inherited a property in which case there maybe some upgrades or general improvements needed. It could be you have decided to relocate owing to a move for your work/career with a prospect of moving back in at a future date. Perhaps you have decided to move in with a new partner – this often results both new partners letting their former homes. A growing number of people are letting their homes as they are unable to sell and need to move; in the industry these are known as accidental or reluctant landlords.
Whatever the trigger is that results in you deciding to let your home you can avoid a lot of issues and heartache if you select and instruct a professional letting agent. Do not select an agent based on what they charge. Cheap relates to poor quality. Of course we all want the best value for money deal but that rarely has the cheapest price tag.
If you are going to use an agent for letting and management and you select a poor agent the decision may cost you hundreds or even thousands in lost money. Poorly put together inventories and poor final inspection records and badly prepared end of tenancy reports will cost you hundreds or thousands of pounds. Instead of asking how much an agent will charge you invest a little of your time and visit them to inspect their system for inventories, final inspections and end of tenancy reports. Check to see if the business is well run. Do they have enough staff to answer the phone; basic requirement but very often overlooked. Ask to speak to the person who deals with end of tenancy disputes and see if in your opinion they have a polite strong persuasive personality and attitude. Get this right and you will get good value for money.
Before making a final decision if you are going to let furnished or unfurnished and on what work needs doing do some research to see what other landlords are offering and most importantly speak to your selected agent. This will most likely save you money and time.
Using an ARLA licensed letting agent will protect you (Association of Residential Lettings Agents). It is a requirement for an ARLA Licensed agent to be a member of the Property Ombudsman.ARLA is the only membership body that requires a comprehensive audit of its members accounts and financial procedures. If you are considering using an agent that isn’t ARLA Licensed ask yourself a question – would you think would you buy a holiday from a travel agent who is not a member of ABTA or IATA?
The moral is don’t rush into any offers that sound to good to be true. If someone is offering very low or cheap management fees it is likely to compromise the service they offer and protection for your asset.