Which Service Should I Go For?

If you are letting a property out for the first time and using the services of an agent you will have to choose between the different services that they offer. These generally come under 3 headings.

Let Only (or Introduction Only)

This is the most basic service and as the name implies means that the agent will market your property with a view to finding a suitable tenant. The agent will take up references (although the prospective tenant will be charged for this) and draw up the Tenancy Agreement (you may be charges extra for this) on your behalf. Once the tenant moves in it becomes your responsibility to manage the property and collect the rent.

Rent Collection

This is marketed by the agents as an add on to the “Let Only” service. The idea is that the agent will collect the rent on your behalf but is limited in scope. The agent will set up a standing order from the tenant’s account in to their client account and as the rent comes in each month transfer it to you. What it is not is a rent Guarantee. The agent will probably have a couple of standard rent reminder letters on file and may make a call to the tenant on your behalf but then it is over to you. If you need to take the tenant to court to claim back rent the agent will not do this for you. You could just as easily set up the standing order yourself, save the additional 2-3% and get the rent in your account more quickly.

Full Management

This is the most difficult decision; whether or not to mange the property yourself. These there questions should help you decide.

Do you live locally?

It is virtually impossible to manage a property if you cannot get there in the case of an emergency or to do check-ins, check outs and periodic inspections. Your friends may agree to help you with this but they will secretly resent you for putting upon them rather than paying a professional.

Do you have a basic knowledge of maintenance?

One of the most difficult things about managing a property is knowing what is wrong and who to call. A basic knowledge will also prevent unscrupulous or cowboy tradesmen taking you for a ride.

Do you have a good team of tradesmen?

This is where a busy management agent should have an advantage. If they manage several properties they will hopefully have gathered a reliable and knowledgeable team of tradesmen together. Tradesmen will often prioritise the clients that give them regular work; such as letting agents.

Do you have the time?

Your other commitments are of little importance to your tenants. If they have a problem they will expect you to solve it immediately. This can play havoc with your personal or family life as problems have a knack of occurring at the worst possible time.

If you answered “Yes” to most of those questions then you should be able to manage the property yourself. Otherwise try and negotiate a good deal with the agent to manage. Agents will often be flexible on their management fees as they like the benefits that come with managing the property such as repeat let only fees (as long as you are happy with their service).

The management fee will generally be taken monthly as opposed to the “Let Only” fee which is taken up front.

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