“Research before making the decision on a location and a property is commonly accepted as being essential” says Belvoir Peterborough MD Terry Lucking, but as a cautionary note for investment landlords continues, “Researching who you are going to chose as your letting agent is equally as important but almost always ignored.”
Try not to get carried away once you have found the property you like.
Many investors form great working relationships with the developer or estate agents but over look the fact that the sellers interest ends when the sale completes. The sellers come in many forms;
- investment groups/clubs estate agents
- new build developers
- buying agents
- letting agents
Although most businesses are run professionally and honourably some are not. Watch for those offering something for nothing. If it sounds too good it probably is…..take advice from a professional local letting agent. You may well retain your investment property for 10 years or more. It is highly likely you will add to your investment and buy more, maybe in the same area. So who is likely to offer you the most honest advice? In my opinion there is only one answer; a letting agent. A letting agents income is achieved over the long term not in a few days so you can expect much greater care and attention.
If they advise you badly or fail to manage customer service you can change suppliers or make a complaint to the letting agents redress scheme (non such offered by the other methods of purchase). If you chose the wrong area or property there is no one to blame but yourself and no chance of any form of compensation.
Often investment groups, clubs estate agents and new build developers want you to deal with their preferred agent. Ask how the agent has been selected; is the selection based on outstanding business performance and voluntary membership of a redress scheme such as an Ombudsman Scheme or if it is down to the amount of money one the letting agent will give to the introducer??
So when selecting a letting agent please don’t just think of what they charge. A 1% difference in annual fees is tiny compared to how much you can lose in come or incur in legal expenses.
Look at the service they offer, check how the deal with complaints, check if they are a member of the National Federation of Property Professionals (ARLA and NAEA) or the Guild of Letting Agents, the Safeagent Scheme.
Remember a professional letting agent will save you thousands of pounds over a long term investment. They will ensure you property is correctly managed having fully credit scored and referenced tenants. Correctly documented agreements and will advise you how to handle the various hurdles, issues and disputes you will inevitably be faced with.
Terry concludes, “the law protects tenants more than landlords; you need to get it right each time. Errors are expensive! As with most things the devil is in the detail; I urge you to invest time with your selected agent to understand what they do to manage and protect you and your assets. Follow this link to see the range of services we offer for investment landlords .”