A Guide To Finding The Best Lettings Agents In The UK
Choosing a good lettings agent is an important factor for success when investing in buy-to-let properties.
Without a good professional marketing your property, you’ll probably end up leasing your property to unpleasant tenants, one after the other.
What to look for in a lettings agent and where to find them?
The most important quality that you should look for in a lettings agent is membership to a professional organisation.
Some well-respected organisations for lettings agents in the UK are: Association of Residential Letting Agents, the National Association of Estate Agents, and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
So why is professional accreditation important, anyway? I always advise aspiring landlords to be on the lookout for recognised and licensed professionals, because these professionals follow a code of practice in their line of work. Without these standards, these agents may abuse your confidence and demand unrealistic fees.
The website, Prime Location, can help you locate good and qualified lettings agents near you. However, if you can’t find a lettings agent who fits this description online, you can always ask recommendation from fellow landlords, preferably one which has a wealth of experience dealing with local agents in your area.
What do lettings agents do?
Lettings agents have 2 basic responsibilities. The first one is to look for a tenant and the other is to manage a tenant’s rental agreement from the beginning to the end. Depending on the agent you talk to, they may offer only one or both of the services I mentioned.
It’s crucial to ask what services they perform, because it will determine how much you’ll have to pay them. The more services they offer, the higher the fees. That’s the basic rule.
Be aware that most agents operate on a ‘no let, no fee’ basis. This means that they won’t get paid until they’ve successfully found a tenant for your property. That’s why it’s also acceptable to hire multiple agents at the same time to maximise your chances of getting a tenant right away.
Even though it’s tempting to hire as many cheap agents as you want. This isn’t an advisable scenario either. Rather, hire agents who offer multiple services and has a proven background of finding the right people for rental properties in your area.
Don’t forget that lettings agents won’t be able to perform their duties if you don’t give them all the information they need. You have to specify what type of tenants you want in your rental property (i.e. students, young professionals, small families) and if you want to entertain long term or short term leases.
How do you compute the fees?
Agents usually take 10 per cent or higher of the total rental income over the letting term, but for a full management service the rate starts at 15 per cent. It may seem a lot of money, but it already covers the cost of marketing a property, finding and vetting a suitable tenant, obtaining references and preparing a tenancy agreement and inventory.
I hope that you consider these tips on finding the perfect lettings agents for your property. They are the link that connects you with your potential tenants, so don’t dismiss their importance on the success of your property investment.