New to the game - why use a letting agent?

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    New to the game - why use a letting agent?

    Hi guys,

    I'm a new landlord and only just let out my first property. I used a free online service and will use their management tool to help me manage the property.

    My question is why would I use a letting agent? I got a quote from one close to me and they said it would cost 13%+VAT for the tenant find only and then a couple of % on top to manage it.

    Why would anyone use a letting agent at those prices? I understand if you need someone to be on the ground but I live 15min walk away, so for me it's no problem. Is there something I'm missing? Is it basically just a convenience fee? Or do lettings agents provide expertise in any way that you can't get anywhere else?

    Thanks for helping me out. I'm trying to self educate myself on how to be a good landlord etc. But the extortionate cost does make me question whether there is something that I've missed?

    #2
    I initially used a letting agent for their 'find only' service because I thought it was the only way to get a property onto Rightmove & Zoopla.

    When I experienced service issues with an agent, and then with another, I mentioned it to a landlord friend who told me how to get a property onto Rightmove & Zoopla using one of the various websites.

    I'll never use a letting agent again, the work involved simply isn't worth the fees they charge. I prefer to do things myslef, then you know it's getting done - and getting done properly.

    However, if I lived a fair distance from my properties, I was too busy with other commitments, or if my properties were in an area that attracted tenants I didn't want to deal with myself (Frank Gallagher types), I'd probably use an agent.

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      #3
      * myself ... pity that typo was in the same sentence as 'getting done properly'

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        #4
        I use agents, with fees between 7.5% and 10%. I lived abroad for some years so it was necessary and I have continued to do so now I am 'retired'.

        What do I get for my money? A local pair of boots on the ground (not all my properties are local to me); someone who does the communication with the tenant (so I don't get phone calls at 3am); a reference service; someone between me and the tenant which prevents things becoming too personal; a rent collection & DPS service; a key holder local to properties for tradesmen to access.

        Its horses for courses really - it suits me but it doesn't suit everyone.

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          #5
          whether you use an agent or not, you are still legally liable for everything as LL so you will need to learn as much as possible either way. So, having an agent because you think you can pass responsibility to them doesn't work.

          If you are 15 mins away, there's another reason not to use them... unless you don't want the tenants popping round to you as their first point of call (they have a legal right to know where you live though in any case).

          If you are worried about your yield then there's another reason not to use them.

          You seem to have answered your own question!

          Like jpucng62, we lived abroad for years and used agents as a necessity throughout the majority of that time. However, unlike jpucng62, our plan was always to return and live within a 20 min drive of all properties and self-manage. That's what we've been doing for the last year and a half and it's worked out better than we'd hoped. However, we did put the work in to do the NLA (as was) accreditation so we'd know what we're doing. I recommend that.

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            #6
            Thank you all. Very useful to know. It doesn't look like I would try them, but I can see the allure of not getting a 3am phone call from tenants. I hope I've chosen well.

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              #7
              Originally posted by Ted Newman View Post
              Thank you all. Very useful to know. It doesn't look like I would try them, but I can see the allure of not getting a 3am phone call from tenants. I hope I've chosen well.
              The 3am phone call is pretty much never going to happen. I doubt that many letting agents have a facility to answer phone calls at that time anyway.

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                #8
                Originally posted by Beswick View Post

                The 3am phone call is pretty much never going to happen. I doubt that many letting agents have a facility to answer phone calls at that time anyway.
                One one the conditions of Selective Licensing in Nottingham is an out of hours contact and in this 'woke' world we live in now nothing would surprise me!

                I had one tenant who had a leak from the tank in the loft and had water running down the light in the bedroom. She waited until 9am to ring the agent - WITHOUT turning off the water at the stopcock!! I'd rather she had rung the agent at 3am!!

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                  #9
                  Seriously though - having a 'professional' between you and a difficult tenant can be very useful. An agent can go and talk to a tenant when they are behind with the rent / causing problems etc without being accused of harassment and if a relationship does turn sour the agent gets the abuse not me. That objective person in the middle can stop things escalating or becoming personal and that is a big plus for me.

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                    #10
                    I use an agent and would suggest that any novice landlord should consider it seriously.
                    Not all agents are knowledgeable and not all agents are good.
                    But they're probably real world experienced and have managed to stay in business for some reason - something a novice landlord usually hasn't.

                    Many of the threads on this site are created by landlords dealing with the consequences of decisions made in error.
                    And this particular forum shows that not all relationships with agents work out perfectly either.
                    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

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