Choosing a Letting Agent

Before you choose which agents you would like to market your rental property you need to decide if you will be managing the property yourself or want the agent to do it. If you intend to manage the property yourself then you need not be concerned with the agent’s management services during the selection process only their marketing expertise and the robustness of their referencing procedures.

Unlike estate agents there is little if any difference in the fee level whether you go with just 1 letting agent or several. For this reason it is normally best to put your property on the books of 2-3 agents to ensure that it is widely marketed. Any more than this and you risk overexposing it.

Try clicking through to the websites of some of the letting agents covering your area to see if they have properties on their books that are similar to yours. If you use an agent that has a few properties like yours on their books they are likely to already be attracting interest from tenants looking in your area and price range. Tenants will usually look at a few rental properties in one trip so it helps if they are with a single agent. An agent that is already marketing properties like yours is also more likely to have a better idea about the rental value.

The next step is to invite your selected agents to visit the property and give their views on the current market rent (use our e-mail service to contact your selected agents with a single e-mail). What you are looking for here is not just a figure but some idea of how the agent has arrived at that figure. A good letting agent should be able to give you details of at least a couple of similar properties that they have let recently which are comparable to yours. Having had your valuations decide on the best asking price, giving more weight to the figure quoted by the agent with the best comparable evidence. It is essential that all the agents market your property at the same price.

You should be given a copy of the agents Terms & Conditions when they visit you although there is not usually any need to return these until a tenant has been found. That does not mean that you should leave any negotiation on fees until that time; that should be done at the outset.

As lettings is a relatively fast moving business most agents only provide basic details and photographs rather that full particulars. If the property is vacant you should provide a set of keys for each agent that you are using. Sharing keys causes disputes between agents and may mean that viewings are missed. Don’t forget to collect all the keys once the property is let.

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