Landlords have a tough time as it is. As well as having to manage their property portfolio, they also have to ensure maintenance is up to scratch, handle enquiries from their tenants and importantly, ensure they have enough people in their properties so they can make money.
While online systems aren’t going away, using a letting agent can help massively.
However, in the rush to sign one up, they can be guilty of making the wrong choices. Here are seven such mistakes that, while easy traps to fall into, are easily avoidable.
Mistake One – Choosing an agent based solely on their fees
The web has made everything easy to check, including fees. Many of us have now got into the mindset of looking for the cheapest version of any service or product we buy, to the detriment of quality, and it’s the same when hiring a letting agent.
If an agent is good, why would they be the cheapest?
Similarly, just because they’re expensive doesn’t mean they’re the best.
You should do far more research than just sorting by price, take a look at many other variables, too.
Mistake Two – Not checking the letting agent’s references
Research can be time-consuming, but it can also save you a lot of money.
Before making the final choice on which agent to use, do as much research as you can.
Even better, see if you can find existing customers. A reference from someone you trust is worth its weight in gold.
If you really can’t find someone to offer guidance, then take your time. Research using all the tools available. Look for Google reviews, local websites and other places.
If you do end up signing with an agent and then realising you made a mistake, your letting agent will often charge if you decide to leave mid-term! So it’s worth taking the time to get it right.
Mistake Three – Not checking that the estate agent properly publicises their fees
Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 it is now a legal requirement for all letting agents in England and Wales to publicise details of their fees and to say whether they do not have client money protection.
It’s also a requirement to give the name of the redress scheme of which they are a member, membership of which is compulsory.
If you can’t find this information out, or the agent is being difficult with you when you ask for it, then alarm bells should ring!
HomeXperts are a fully licensed letting agent by the way!
Mistake Four – Using an agent that doesn’t understand the eviction process
There are certain things a letting agent must know well in order to operate a professional agency, and one of those is a complete understanding of the eviction process.
If you ever get into the unfortunate position of having to evict a tenant, you want someone on your side that knows the process inside out and won’t leave you in a mess if things go wrong.
Mistake Five – Using an agent that doesn’t offer Rent Guarantee Insurance
Evictions are on the increase year on year, and when you have to evict someone, it means you’re out of pocket for sometimes a long time, as well as having to cover all the legal fees.
Rent guarantee insurance will give you the legal help and peace of mind to know that your rent income will be covered.
Mistake Six – Using an agent that doesn’t know how to properly market a property
Let’s face it, one of the biggest benefits to using an agent is that they will market your property for you, and hopefully keep it let.
Not all agents are created equal, however, and if yours doesn’t know how to properly market properties like yours or in your area, then this should ring alarm bells.
Mistake Seven – Using an agent that doesn’t understand your requirements
If you make it clear that you don’t want to let to students, will your agent honour this?
Do you want people who smoke to rent your property?
Do you allow pets?
These are all things that a good letting agent will check with you up-front, before the property is let to any client.
If your estate agent does not ask these questions, consider going elsewhere!