Letting Agents - what do you look for?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Letting Agents - what do you look for?

    New member here! I've been scouring the forum looking at everyone's thoughts on letting agents and there is a fairly mixed bag of comments from everyone, I've enjoyed reading the various experiences that people have had - both good & bad! It appears that the general consensus is that Letting Agents are a kind of necessary evil for both Landlords & Tenants alike! The reason I am interested in everyone's thoughts is that my wife and I have recently bought a franchise in an Estate & Letting Agency and are looking at what kind of service we provide to landlords (don't worry - I am not touting for business in here - just after some honest feedback).

    We are able to set our own charges and fees etc and we are both new(ish) to the property industry - so are looking to provide something that a lot of agencies (particularly the ones we have dealt with previously) have lacked - these include honesty and value for money!!!

    So the question I have really is to both Landlords & Tenants - in an ideal world what do you want from your agent? We're looking at offering three levels of package which increase our involvement as they go up, from a simple entry level "find a tenant", right up to a full package which would include everything including insurances for building, contents, rent arrears and vandalism of the property.

    What are the key things you look for, and more importantly, the things you want to avoid?

    Like I say, we're not touting for business - just looking for some honest input from the people who we'll ultimately be working for! Thanks.

    #2
    I look for experience and their knowledge of the industry, this extends to any staff they employ.

    Comment


      #3
      Being honest as a tenant what I would look for is a private landlord and cut out the middle man.

      We are able to set our own charges and fees etc
      You are aware that letting agent fees are on their way out?
      https://www.gov.uk/government/news/g...d-letting-fees

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by nukecad View Post
        Being honest as a tenant what I would look for is a private landlord and cut out the middle man.


        You are aware that letting agent fees are on their way out?
        https://www.gov.uk/government/news/g...d-letting-fees
        Apologies, I maybe wasn't clear - charges and fees was meant with reference to the cost of our packages for Landlords for the various levels of service/packages offered.

        Thanks for the reply though - and the honesty, although when you say "cut out the middle man" do you mean from a cost point of view or from a level of service point of view? Or a bit of both! I'd like to think that we will be set up so that Tenants actually feel more at ease dealing with us rather than the Landlord as they can vent a little bit harder without risking upsetting them! And vice-versa with the Landlord about the Tenants. The main area we'll be concentrating on is customer service - and this means on both sides, as, although our money will be coming from the Landlord, the Tenants opinion of us is going to matter just as much.

        I know some of the agents near us seem to have a list as long as my arm of "additional charges" for both Tenants & Landlords - this is one of the things i don't agree with i.e. charging for things like sorting out neighbour disputes/additional visits to the property and renewing contracts if the same tenant is extending their tenancy etc - the list seems endless with some folk up here! Our opinion is that we are going to have to take the rough with the smooth i.e. some Tenants/Landlords are going to be more "high maintenance" than others - lets just hope its the minority!!

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by HantsAgent View Post
          I look for experience and their knowledge of the industry, this extends to any staff they employ.
          Thanks HantsAgent, this makes a lot of sense I suppose, but it is tricky as from my experience in having dealt with Estate & Letting Agents when buying or renting properties in the past, the level of customer service just isn't there with some of the more established guys. The more experienced agents around here seem to carry that bit of arrogance about them and they seem to focus less on helping out their clients and keeping them up to date with where things are at and, instead, focus more on churning properties through their books. I think they are really trading on their brand name being known to people in the local area, even though their reputation is poor. The last house we sold, we didn't decide who to use via fees or experince, we chose them on the enthusiasm they had for our property, it just so happened they were a fairly new agency - the "best" agent in the area didn't seem in the least bit interested in what we were looking for - I appreciate i'm talking about sales now rather than renting, but the basis is the same(ish)! Although I appreciate that the point you make about experience is a very valid one! Thanks

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by HXRichmond View Post
            ..when you say "cut out the middle man" do you mean from a cost point of view or from a level of service point of view? Or a bit of both!
            Mainly dealing direct with the LL, without the delays that can be caused with going through an intermediary.

            Although of course the extra cost is a consideration.
            Whatever the agent is charging the landlord ultimately gets added to the rent one way or another, it's a business arrangement.
            Whilst a private LL may still charge the market level, if he is not paying an agent he can make the same profit for a lower rent.

            Maybe I've been lucky, I've had 2 landlords in the last 18 years (had my own house before that) and both have been decent.
            My current LL is a bit slow to put his hand in his pocket for repairs, and likes a 'budget' job when needed, but I don't see that having an agent in place would change that.
            Likewise if I want to do minor repairs myself he knows me personally, and we have worked on a few repairs together so he knows what tools and skills I have, and that I am capable of doing a good job.

            I suppose it depends on both the LL and the tenant, if both are reasonable about their relationship then the only need I see for an agent is advertising available properties.

            Of course absentee landlords will need a local agent to do more than that, but I'd prefer a landlord who lives local and knows the area (and his properties).


            Comment


              #7
              Sales is a very different beast to lettings. The transaction (and therefore the relationship with the clients) is generally over within 6-8 weeks, so customer service, whilst always important, usually comes second to an agent’s ability to get a result (a good sale price in an expected timeframe).

              With lettings, you will have a relationship with your landlord that will (hopefully) last for many years. Giving great customer service is what will keep those landlords loyal to you when your competitors are knocking on their door for their business.

              But great customer service is expected. It may not be the norm in the industry but every agent proports to give a level of service unrivalled amongst their competitors and to tailor their services to suit the individual.

              Whereas in reality, the majority just offer the three basic levels you mention and actually don’t differentiate themselves from the smorgasbord of options out there.

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks for the reply Nukecad, it's great to get a Tenants view on this and the points you've made make a lot of sense, cheers.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by HantsAgent View Post
                  Whereas in reality, the majority just offer the three basic levels you mention and actually don’t differentiate themselves from the smorgasbord of options out there.
                  Thanks again HantsAgent, this is kind of where I was coming from with my original question as to what people look for in their Agent. In our area for example there are around 10-15 Agents, all offering the same service but with various different fees, then having several "bolt on" options and a long list of small fees for everything from lost keys down to visiting the property to appease neighbours! This is quite involved and means a lot of "small print" which is only there to catch someone out, which is why I am interested in simplifying the way we structure our packages - hence trying to find out what both Landlords & Tenants look for so i can see what would be appreciated and what wouldn't.

                  The customer service point goes without saying, i may be treading the same path as many agents before me, but I do truly believe that we can offer a level of service that not many others in our area can - we have to, as this is our business, we're not just employees of a larger company, so peoples opinion of us really matters (plus we are quite rural here, and people talk in the pub on a Friday night!). Most agents near us are established companies that have been going for years, where the owner has now taken a back seat and the staff are running the show, they are basically trading on their name alone - when you talk to them it is as though you are doing them a favour, so the potential is there for us to offer clients something better, I'm just trying to make sure that we do and don't end up giving them more of the same!

                  Thanks for your input, it's much appreciated and has definitely given me something to think about.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    When we started up we tried to make ourselves a little different to many of the High Street agents by not adopting a corporate approach to things and dealing with every person as an individual. Many years later we still try to do this but it becomes increasingly difficult as the number of people you deal with increases. Also, bear in mind that probably the best thing about the job are the people you deal with but they are also the worst thing as unfortunately many tenants and landlords are not always honest and reasonable.

                    My view is that it is much better to set out clearly what you will charge for things and then you can always choose not to charge if you are so inclined. Forget dealing with neighbour disputes as all you become is a sounding board for neighbours who lack the backbone to deal with the issue themselves. The three levels we offer are finding a tenant/rent collect/full management although often the boundaries do get a little blurred as you don't want to leave inexperienced landlords floundering.

                    After five years of trading we were the number 1 letting agent in the area in terms of new business but obviously not managed stock as some agents around us have been trading for over 40 years. We also do sales but have found that a harder nut to crack because I think as Hants Agent mentions, sellers tend to be less concerned with customer service more about how quickly and for how much the property is sold. We will doubtless get repeat sales business as the years progress but its hard work.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Another example of tenant LL comunication came up today.

                      Our bath has needed resealing for a month or so, I bought the sealant, then remembered to ask LL for his premission to do it myself.

                      Text messages, he offered to reimburse the cost (probably knowing I'd tell him to forget it), 5 minutes all sorted.

                      How long would it have taken with an agent involved?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by nukecad View Post
                        How long would it have taken with an agent involved?
                        One phone call/email/text/WhatsApp/Facebook message if it were me.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by nukecad View Post
                          How long would it have taken with an agent involved?
                          same as HantsAgent for us too... and you wouldn't even have had to go out and buy the sealant so that would have saved you time.

                          Comment

                          Latest Activity

                          Collapse

                          • Reply to Agent vs Open Rent
                            by Beswick
                            I've used it twice, no complaints from me. However, I haven't used it since 2019 so things might have changed.

                            From memory, when the prospective tenant clicks the 'Rent Now' button, you have to click to accept them as a tenant to start the process.

                            Both times, when I told...
                            29-06-2022, 11:51 AM
                          • Agent vs Open Rent
                            by annam222
                            Hello all,
                            I wondered if anyone could give me some advice please.
                            Tenants who have been renting my one bed flat for the past three years have just given notice that they will be moving out. I have used a local agent on a ‘let & rent collection’ basis which has worked well but they...
                            20-06-2022, 20:07 PM
                          • Reply to Agent vs Open Rent
                            by annam222
                            Has anyone used the ‘rent now’ package and find it good? Can’t decide whether I should do this package or just advertising (ultimate) then pay for everything else on top after finding tenants I am happy with.
                            29-06-2022, 07:22 AM
                          • Reply to Agent vs Open Rent
                            by annam222
                            boletus Thank you, that is what I am
                            a little worried about- the flat is in London so expect there could be a lot of interest but possibly a high majority of them not be the tenants I am looking for.
                            I would prefer to take my time talking to potential tenants and arranging viewings rather...
                            28-06-2022, 20:28 PM
                          • Reply to Agent vs Open Rent
                            by boletus
                            I wouldn't use 'Rent Now'.

                            If I advertise a property today I'll get over 50 enquiries, the majority will be unsuitable.
                            Most of those will want to rent now.
                            Many will offer to rent sight unseen.
                            Some will offer 6 month's rent upfront sight unseen.

                            Advertising...
                            28-06-2022, 09:55 AM
                          • Reply to Agent vs Open Rent
                            by annam222
                            Thank you everyone so much. I have the advert ready to go live but will wait until Thursday/Friday to publish it. I am keen to use Open Rent for referencing but as suggested will also follow up each myself. Does anyone have a view on whether the Open Rent £29 'Ultimate Advertising' or £49 'Rent Now'...
                            27-06-2022, 20:09 PM
                          • Reply to Newbie needing serious advice!
                            by Lawcruncher
                            Conveyancers fall into two broad categories:

                            Good ones

                            Not so good ones

                            Those in either category can be solicitors, licensed conveyancers or chartered legal executives. Each of those do roughly the same amount of training and have studied the law needed...
                            27-06-2022, 19:14 PM
                          • Newbie needing serious advice!
                            by steeveyboy64
                            Hi All. I am very new to all of this and need some guidance. I am at the point where I am about to purchase a holiday letting chalet in Lincolnshire. Unfortunately the banana skin has been delivered in that the 3rd party solicitors are indicating that I can NOT use a 3rd party agent platform to advertised...
                            26-06-2022, 14:15 PM
                          • Reply to Newbie needing serious advice!
                            by SouthernDave
                            Lawcruncher gives good advice.
                            interesting question, is your ‘solicitor’ actually a solicitor? Or are they some rubbish high street conveyancer?...
                            27-06-2022, 18:11 PM
                          • Reply to Newbie needing serious advice!
                            by nukecad
                            "No 3rd party letting agenrs approved" is not the same thing as 'no 3rd party agents allowed'.

                            So it depends on what you sign up to.whether you can use an "unapproved" 3rd party letting service or not.
                            27-06-2022, 17:09 PM
                          Working...
                          X