How to Choose a Letting Agent
Learn what to look for in a letting agent. Discover what is important to look for when trying to find an agent for your property.
Table of contents
Have you recently invested in a buy-to-let property? Are you looking for someone to find you tenants and manage your property? Finding a letting agent can be tricky. For instance, we all know the household, high street names like Foxtons and Dexters but do they really give the best value and/or service? It's important to do your research and this blog will help get you started on your journey to renting success.
In 2015-2016, 20% of all households in England were renting in the private sector, according to the Office of National Statistics. That's a large chunk of the housing market. Luckily there are loads of great agents to choose from that can help you achieve rental success.
Remember, your letting agent will be responsible for managing your property, collecting the rent and dealing with your tenants regularly. Choosing the right one is essential if you want to get the most out of your property.
Currently, there is no regulation or statutory quality of service or cost for letting agents in the UK. This means that it is up to you to understand what you are agreeing to when you sign on with an agent. Make sure you've done your homework!
Step 1 - Do your research
Understand the service level the letting agent can provide
It is important to understand the kind of tenancy service you will need. Here are the three levels of service provided by most letting agents:
Tenant Find Only - This means that the landlord will be involved in the day-to-day management of the lease.
Tenant Find & Rent Collection - In this agreement, the agent will find the tenant and collect the rent, but the landlord will deal with all other matters.
Full Management - The agent takes care of everything from start to finish with the letting.
Know the trade bodies the letting agent is associated with
Some landlords tend to use agents like those who are part of the ARLA Propertymark (formerly the Association of Residential Letting Agents) or Safeagent (formerly the Association of Residential Letting Agents). This can add extra security and validation for the landlord when selecting an agent.
Check the letting agent's website and get to know them better
You can use online communities and websites to help you narrow your search and see what current landlords are saying. On the allAgents.co.uk website, agent reviews can be found by searching for a location or agent name. This is worth the time and effort as you would not want to deal with any Letting Agents having a lot of poor reviews on how they do things.
Step 2 - Let's get analytical!
Make sure the letting agent understands the contract
When you work with a letting agency, you will need to sign a contract. Any agency or agent worth their salt should be able to walk you through this contract in full, giving you a transparent understanding of what you are agreeing to. If the agent does not display a good knowledge of their letting agreement or seems like they are hiding something, you should move on and look elsewhere.
Make sure the letting agent has a good property marketing strategy
What good is an agent if they are not able to find tenants effectively? Marketing your property is an essential requirement for all agents, however, not all agents do this successfully. Make sure to ask how they plan to fill your property with good tenants. If they're not advertising on Rightmove and/or Zoopla, then you probably want to look elsewhere.
Make sure they do their paperwork!
Everyone hates paperwork. This is why it's important to know that your agent can handle yours. It is critical that your new agent understands the importance of safety certificates and other documentation. When selecting your agent, ask them about how they have done this in the past. A good agent should be knowledgeable of this and be able to put your mind at ease.
Understand the flow of money
Letting agents will typically manage deposits, rentals and funds for upkeep. Letting agents will typically manage deposits, rentals and funds for upkeep. When selecting an agent, ask them to demonstrate if they are part of a Client Money Security Scheme. It is important to ensure your agent does not hold money on you or your tenant's behalf. If your agent asks you to send them rent money, it should set alarms off right away.
Make sure they are clear about the security deposit process
If you choose the service level tenant find + rent set or the full management service from an agent, they should be able to deal with issues related to the security deposit. This will be charged at the beginning of the lease. By statute, such deposits need to be registered with a tenancy deposit scheme licensed by the government.
Step 3 - What do you do now you've selected your letting agent?
Once you've chosen your ideal letting agent, take the time to look at all information and read the contract in full. Firstly, have a clear understanding of what's critical, especially the fees and charges. Now is the time to ask a lot of questions in order to secure your understanding and be confident that you have chosen the best letting agent for you.
Firstly, make sure that you have a good read to understand the contract. Secondly, look at the fees and assess the impact they have on your profit on rental income. Once you have evaluated all of these important factors, it is time for you to begin the process of letting out your property with the agent.
Why We Are The Best Choice
Oasis Living are an online letting agency that will take just 10% for tenant find and another 5% for property management. All in that's just 15% to fully let and manage your property. Comparing this to the usual 20%+ fees of a traditional agent, we can safely say that Oasis Living is the cheaper and more efficient alternative! We use tech to keep our prices low without sacrificing the experience or service. Here is a list of some of the perks you get with us:
- 24/7 Helpline - We are here to help you with any issues or queries you have
- Premium Advertising as a Standard - We advertise on Rightmove and Zoopla, getting you tenants fast!
- Beautiful Photography - We provide incredible photographs of your property as a standard. Getting the most out of your property
- Compliance Monitoring - We'll make sure that each of our properties are up to date with the latest safety certificates and regulation requirements
Find out more about how Oasis Living can help you find the perfect tenants and improve your property management experience. Head to our website now or contact with one of our property experts. See our Guide on renting for tenants here!
More transparent letting services with Oasis Living