Pros and cons of using an agent?

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    Pros and cons of using an agent?

    I have only ever done so as a last resort for a 'tenant find' situation when my advertising has failed.

    I have certainly never even considered using them as a management proposition.

    What are other people's thoughts on the matter?

    #2
    They can make a big hole in your profit, if your rent only covers the mortgage on the property plus a bit. The 'bit' (usually 10-15% of the rent) will go to the management company.

    If you've got lots of properties, or live a long way from where you rent out, it will proably be impractical for you to manage them all yourself. If you only have a few and they are well-built and well-equipped to start with, it isn't too onerous to do it yourself, especially if you are handy.

    Agencies have access to emergency local plumbers, etc, but there's no reaosn why you shouldn't sort one out for yourself before you ever need one, or even better, a local handyman/woman who can fix minor problems or get an electrician/corgi gas person out if necessary.

    Management companies vary wildly in their quality, so if you decide to use one, always get a recommendation from an independent third party and be sure you know what the charges (to you) will be every time they are rung in the night by the tenants, or arrange some decorators for you (in other words, make a phone call! Can be up to £50 arrangement charge).!

    I'm personally sceptical about the value for money they represent, but I appreciate that in some situations they may be your best option.
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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      #3
      I can only speak from my own experience, they do more harm than good, after all, you have a vested interest in your own property !, are agents affected when things go tits up?.

      Do your research and do it yourself.

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        #4
        I have no choice and a couple of the agents I use are really very good. If I was in the UK though I would do it myself without a doubt. You must keep up to date though.That tenant deposit business would have caught me out.

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          #5
          A good agent will advertise on various media, which can be expensive/not available to you average LL, will reference tenants correctly and use legally checked tenancy agreements/inventories, chase tenants/guarantors for arrears, inspect properties and have decent reliable tradesmen who will return if there is a problem because of volume of work the Agent gives them, I have issued lots of summons on landlords behalf but never gone to court, and never advertised for LL's and would advise all Landlords to get recomendations before handing you property over, beware of Agents who are advertising heavily/low commission for new LL's as they may play the numbers game and not deal with problems but just walk away.

          In the last month I have been asked advice by 3 Landlords who did no referances/guarantors, rented to "friends" issued wrong notices and between them are 20k short of rent and still have not got thier properties back, if your confident and know what your doing great, but if not then use a professional !
          "Better an empty property than a tenant without a guarantor"

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            #6
            Originally posted by Sportingdad View Post
            A good agent will advertise on various media, which can be expensive/not available to you average LL, will reference tenants correctly and use legally checked tenancy agreements/inventories, chase tenants/guarantors for arrears, inspect properties and have decent reliable tradesmen who will return if there is a problem because of volume of work the Agent gives them, I have issued lots of summons on landlords behalf but never gone to court, and never advertised for LL's and would advise all Landlords to get recomendations before handing you property over, beware of Agents who are advertising heavily/low commission for new LL's as they may play the numbers game and not deal with problems but just walk away.

            In the last month I have been asked advice by 3 Landlords who did no referances/guarantors, rented to "friends" issued wrong notices and between them are 20k short of rent and still have not got thier properties back, if your confident and know what your doing great, but if not then use a professional !
            Had a tenancy started 19th May 2007,
            agents didn't know about protecting deposits (I had to tell them) they neglected to get inventory signed and agreed (as instructed) failed to pass on communication from tenant, they got a guarantor for the tenant, but forgot to get the guarantors agreement (made the guarantor worthless)

            Would I use an agent to manage for me again, NOT IN A MILLION

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              #7
              A good agent will advertise on various media, which can be expensive/not available to you average LL, will reference tenants correctly and use legally checked tenancy agreements/inventories, chase tenants/guarantors for arrears, inspect properties and have decent reliable tradesmen who will return if there is a problem because of volume of work the Agent gives them, I have issued lots of summons on landlords behalf but never gone to court, and never advertised for LL's and would advise all Landlords to get recomendations before handing you property over, beware of Agents who are advertising heavily/low commission for new LL's as they may play the numbers game and not deal with problems but just walk away.

              In the last month I have been asked advice by 3 Landlords who did no referances/guarantors, rented to "friends" issued wrong notices and between them are 20k short of rent and still have not got thier properties back, if your confident and know what your doing great, but if not then use a professional !
              "Better an empty property than a tenant without a guarantor"

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                #8
                Obviously quite a mixed experience.

                Personally I find the average agent simply too expensive for what they do, even when done well. Part of rip-off Britain, sadly, although probably not quite in the same league as estate agents on that count.

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                  #9
                  I believe the agency fee is offsetable against income tax, which makes them seem a little bit better in terms of value for money?

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by wolvertonlandlord View Post
                    I believe the agency fee is offsetable against income tax, which makes them seem a little bit better in terms of value for money?
                    Yes, it is tax deductible, and a higher rate taxpayer "saves" 40% - assuming he/she is making a profit.

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                      #11
                      Oh dear, some people have got it bad here.

                      I have to say you generally get very negative comments when someone asks such a daft question as this one.
                      There are good agents out there as well as bad one's as there are plumbers, electricians, lawyers, doctors, policemen, shopkeepers etc etc.
                      The stigma attached to estate/letting agents is nearly as bad as traffic wardens.
                      You never hear about how nice a traffic warden has been when your pregnant wife needs to go to the loo desperately and stands by the car, on double yellow lines until she's had time to go. The reason? It's because they don't usually do it and if they did it's not something that causes a stir down the pub over a pint.
                      If a warden is horrible to you then you'll drag the story on all night which will in turn remind your mate of the time when . . . .

                      Same with agents.
                      The only people you hear bigging themselves up is the agents themselves and unfortunately with the attitudes expressed above and on many other forums is that of negativity so agents HAVE to do it themselves.

                      One comes a cropper (for whatever reason) and then every agent gets tarred with the same brush.

                      Well here's a rant from an agent :-

                      We are not only good at what we do but great. We are the best in the town we are in. We are the fastest growing agent in the area and are increasing our market share daily. We do our job properly and don't deal with s**t tenants OR LL's. If we get problems we know how to deal with legally and properly. We don't over charge LL's for this service, infact if anything we do more than is expected for a fair percentage. We don't have hidden charges, they are all very transparent and we certainly don't bury our heads in the sand with regards to keeping up with legislation.
                      Part of rip-off Britain haha, it was only a matter of time before WE were blamed for the demise of this country. We're going the same way as witches did of old!!

                      Could I add in here that no LL has ever given us notice and parted company with us. Not one.

                      COLOR="blue"]beware of Agents who are advertising heavily/low commission for new LL's as they may play the numbers game and not deal with problems but just walk away. [/COLOR]


                      So far from the truth, 7.5%pcm and no hidden extras. Just a good deal for a great service. This is why we get inundated with new referrals on a weekly basis and many LL's jumping ship from the 10-15% agencies that were also quoted above. The numbers game may well work in some industries but with an increased portfolio, requirements for a larger team mean increased costs and wage bills, larger premises so the numbers would have to be HUGE to make a fortune.

                      If it's done well you as a LL can sit back and know that your property is in safe hands and is working for you.

                      If it's done badly I agree it could cost you a lot of lost income, and a wrecked house.

                      The onus is on the LL though to choose the correct agent. If YOU ask the wrong questions or don't ask them and something goes wrong the agent gets it in the ear. Who is to blame though? The LL? The agent? or both???

                      It'd be interesting to ask here
                      What sort of questions do you/would you ask an agent that with the answers you could judge whether they know their onions or not and whether you would trust them?
                      How do you decide who to use, if to use at all?
                      I have come across LL's (of many years experience allegedly) who don't even know the basics.

                      It'll be intersting to see if anyone lists any questions here so inexperienced LL's or agency virgins can get an idea on WHAT to ask when looking rather than just a post where agents get dragged to hell and back!
                      Ambition is Critical

                      I don't profess to be a knowledge in all areas, my advice is based on life experience.

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                        #12
                        Hear Hear

                        I agree with everything J4L has just said. Also he has saved me typing out a long post with one finger.

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                          #13
                          well done to J4L from me too!

                          I have clients on my books who have been with me for 13 years, never has a landlord given us notice...we do a bloody good job and in fact do more so than other agents....its about your own personal morals and integrity and thats what makes one agent rise above the other.

                          by the way , I know a lovely traffic warden - never books me!!!

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                            #14
                            Well said J4L. I've been in buy-to-let for over 10 years and my first agent was completely useless I subsequently managed myself for years. However, due to lack of time over the past few years I decided to try with another agent and what a breath of fresh air. So professional, helpful and efficient to the point when I told her I had decided to study for ARLA and set up on my own she offered to help!

                            I've had a few awful tenants and some really nice ones - I also know a lot of excellent LL's and some complete plonkers.

                            You simply can't tar everyone with same brush.

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                              #15
                              apologies for the late reply but we're busy. haha

                              Rebecca, you're correct, no brush should be tarred.


                              Luckily for those unsuspecting tenants we are here ........
                              Ambition is Critical

                              I don't profess to be a knowledge in all areas, my advice is based on life experience.

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