Agent vs Open Rent

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    Agent vs Open Rent

    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 do take a reasonable % each month. We live about five minutes from the flat so any infrequent issue that arose we have been able to book plumbers etc to attend the flat very quickly.

    I am wondering if I would be better using Open Rent, I like the idea that I can have direct contact with prospective tenants and also between the current tenants and myself conduct viewings without being restricted to office hours (last time it took the agents 10 weeks to find tenants vs the 1-2 weeks they had been pretty sure of achieving).
    I’ve only rented my flat out once and it’s been a good experience - mainly down to having great tenants, but I wonder if I should continue using an agent or try and save some money/possibly get tenants quicker who via me vetting from the start be more likely to be great tenants again.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Anna


    #2
    Depending on the area, I have found that I got a lot of enquires and booked viewings via OR but 40% wouldn't didn't turn up so a waste of a journey, this is when an agent is better suited to do this. Also I do a pre-interview prior to letting anyone view, this eliminates some more people, agents don't do this as they let anyone view.

    You could get your agent to do based on a let only, but their aim is to get anyone to let it rather than check their details. There are T's out their that prefer to use an agent rather than an LL, and vice versa. Also make sure someone knows your conducting viewings etc, as there are stories of LL's being attacked, also watch out for scammers like gumtree, OR may have some of these types of people on there as well, who are seeing any weakness in a LL's ability, hence why I pre-vet them before viewing takes place.

    Comment


      #3
      Openrent for me, I wouldn't consider letting an agent choose my tenant now. You can find out a lot whilst chatting during the viewing.

      Comment


        #4
        To be a landlord these days you need to be streetwise, which is basically what you need to source your own quality tenants. I only used one agent where the deposit went missing, obviously my problem and liability so the agent couldn't give a ****. Doing the letting myself is the key reason my system works, regardless of handing a big chunk of your income to an agent who wipe their hands when the tenancy goes pear shaped.

        My guide to using Openrent:

        1. Copy good examples of Rightmove adverts when you set up your own, very easy with basic IT skills.
        2. Post the advert on Friday, as most professional people are too busy to scan through the week.
        3. Leave it run for about a week, standard non committal reply to every enquiry, 'we'll be in contact in due course'.
        4. Set up the auto reply system with 5 basic questions: Full contacts / Employers / Jobs / Who will live at the house / Contract length / etc.
        5. During the week filter the enquiries depending on how keen you are for a good tenant. Search Linkedin etc.
        6. Create a shortlist with the best at 1, down to about 5, then offer viewings in that order.
        7. You learn a lot from doing the viewings, so add gut feeling to the other credentials.
        8. Even if the good applicants sound keen, tell them to sleep on it rather than push for a decision.
        9. Non refundable holding deposit to reserve then full deposit within a week.

        * Obviously keep all the above quiet, as you are required to give equal opportunity to everyone, rather than what is best for you!









        Comment


          #5
          Thank you so much, there is lots and lots of great advice above.
          When I did rent the flat originally through the agent I did insist on meeting anyone for coffee first that they found to rent the flat. I ruled out a couple of people, just didn’t get the feeling that they were right. I think the major reason I’ve had great tenants is because I met with them and spent an hour getting to know them and them me. I think reading all the above if I can do it myself and save a little money- it is a no brainer.
          Will be mindful with viewings and try and make sure there are two of us there.
          Many thanks again, your advice is so appreciated.

          Comment


            #6
            If you were a rogue tenant, where would you look for a mug landlord?

            Comment


              #7
              Another vote for doing it via Open Rent. I've been letting eight properties exclusively through Open Rent and before that Upad (before that Gumtree ?) for about 15 years. No shows have not been a big problem - I mostly confirm viewings in the morning. Quality has been pretty good.

              Get the ad right first time as I have found it goes stale quite quickly. If it goes quiet and you want it to mail out again you need to drop rent by 2% or more. I put it on on a Thursday to try to catch people making plans for the weekend. If you can, arrange them at 15 minute intervals in a block to save yourself disruption (with the added advantage that they see eachother coming in and out!)

              Don't be a mug for a sob story. Be very thorough with your referencing. Most people are pretty straightforward but if something feels wrong it likely is. Be friendly but keep a professional distance.
              Assume I know nothing.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by boletus View Post
                If you were a rogue tenant, where would you look for a mug landlord?
                Someone on this forum?

                Comment


                  #9
                  If people are rude enough no to attend a viewing then it is a good thing -you don't want rude arrogant selfish tenants .I can usually find a few tasks so time is put to good use-irrespective of absences.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I have always done it without an agent; It is my show after all. I usually can filter out the right tenant by having a conversation through mailing. The referencing I do through a previous landlord or agent - big name agents is best though, as they are more thorough in their screening; if the Tennant has passed their screening previously and gets a good reference, you can be pretty sure is ok.
                    Tenants seem to like it more to deal directly with the owner of the house, with no major fees for contracts, etc (although that has now been outlawed I think). I am usually upfront with them, say I won't sell, and fix the rent for 12 months.
                    I get many tenants who are forced out of their houses due to the landlord selling, so making assurances always helps.
                    There is also the personal involvement; If they rent through an agent and they don't know the owner, they are less likely to look after the house I think. Of course, there are always exceptions to this.
                    Choosing a Tennant is a skill, I got it wrong on 2 occasions, but now I think I got it pretty much working, with very few problems.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by boletus View Post
                      If you were a rogue tenant, where would you look for a mug landlord?
                      In the window of a rogue agent!

                      -the one's who actually benefit when a rogue tenant brings the landlord back to them much more often than a streetwise OpenRent landlord needs to re-let. My 'fees' are on average £29 for an average 4 year let, with rents only below market rate for exceptionally good tenants.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I've used agents for 'tenant find only'.

                        After a bad eperience, I used OpenRent. I've now used them twice and got great tenants both times.

                        It's so much better to have complete control. You get a gut feeling for the tenant when you phone them to arrange the viewings, even moreso when you meet them in person.

                        I'll never use an agent again.

                        Just make sure you're up to speed with what paperwork you need to give them, and sort out an inventory (copy the one the agent did last time and amend as necessary).

                        Tenancy Agreement is signed digitally on the 'Rent Now' deal. I'm a bit old fashioned, so I print off 2 copies (one for me, one for them) and we all sign both at move in.

                        The only downside to OpenRent (in my opinion) is realizing you've wasted quite a bit of money on agents in the past !

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Berwick thank you that’s so helpful! I will definitely do the inventory and great idea on printing and signing the Tenancy Agreement together- I shall do that too.
                          Does the Open Rent site guide you through the steps of the process? I.e. advertise, meet/accept, reference etc?
                          Did you use the Open Rent site for referencing? I wondered if people do or if they use a separate provider.
                          I have up to date EPC, gas safety certificate and EICR.
                          I think that is all the paperwork I need.

                          thank you so much everyone

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I am a huge fan of Openrent. There are lots of threads showing users experiences of Openrent on these forums. If you type Openrent into the search box at the top of the page on the main forum home page you will see them.

                            If you decide not to use Openrent, and so use a traditional agent, it is very advisable, with the demise of Section 21 on the fast approaching horizon, to ensure that you accompany the agent on any viewings so that you can learn as much about the tenants as possible to reduce risk. Advisable to also get their names and addresses so that you can undertake your own online due diligence using Google (do this even with Openrent).

                            Good Luck!

                            All advice given by me is purely on the basis of being ‘in my opinion’: please check with the relevant professional before acting on it. If my advice saves you money, mine's a pint.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              annam222,

                              Their process is about as simple as they could possibly make it. If you're logging into this forum and posting, it won't be a huge stretch of your abilities to get your property listed on OpenRent.

                              Yes, I used their referencing service (£20 per person, plus £20 for any guarantor). I thought they were okay (there's a sample reference on the website that you can look at), but other people on here say they wouldn't use them.

                              Paperwork - you need to provide tenants with a 'How to Rent' leaflet, and the prescribed information. OpenRent will sort out the deposit for you (they take it from the tenant and register it in your name), but you need to make sure the tenant has the deposit paperwork. List all the items of regulatory paperwork on the inventory and get the tenant to sign that they have received them.

                              You will need to confirm 'right to rent' for tenants too.

                              I also print off 2 copies of a 'handover meter read' document. Everyone signs, one copy each. Saves any disagreements. Have one on the day they move out as well !

                              Please come back when you've got your tenants and let us all know how you got on.

                              Comment

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