New landlord: should I use an agent or not?

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  • Madison
    replied
    As a first time landlord myself, I would say that its fairly easy to find tenants and manage a property without a letting agent.
    They don't do anything that you couldnt do yourself with time and research. Its more time consuming if you go down the DIY route but at least you can rest assured that all the credit checks have been done properly and that no corners have been cut. After all no one is going to want to make sure your property is in safe hands more than you.
    As most agents charge their commission upfront, they arent too bothered if your tenants turn out to be rent dodgers as long as they have their money. They also charge a whopping fee for renewing the tenancy which is essentially reprinting the tenancy agreement.
    There is loads of information and free documentation available on this site and on the internet about letting so forget the agent because you will probably end up knowing more than they do!!

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  • mind the gap
    replied
    Originally posted by gabbi8856 View Post
    My sister used an agent once and they let her house to gypos who trashed the place big style.
    Your sister did not have to accept the tenants the agent found.

    Incidentally, making such an unequivocal connection between their behaviour and their ethnicity, is - intentionally or otherwise -racist in its effect and it weakens your argument.

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  • gabbi8856
    replied
    Yes, DO meet the tenants yourself. My sisters tenants were through an insurance company ie they needed temp accomodation whlist work was being done on their house, so my sister (in hindsight foolishly) assumed all would be well.

    Doesnt change the fact that the agent washed their hands of it all when things got tough. Said "bad tenants are not our fault, we didnt know, not much we can do blah blah"

    Could my sister have sued the agent for anything? She was too stressed to do anything like that at the time.

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  • Sorrel
    replied
    Well theres always going to be people who have had good and bad experiences one way or another. But I agree with Phoenix the majority of agents/Property Management companies are worth the money that is paid and do a lot more for the landlord than is let on!

    I would still say that if its your first time and you arn't even 50% sure of what your doing, you should use an agent. After all its only for 6 months, if your not happy you turf the tenant out and start again or if your confident turf the agent out and manage yourself. Just make sure if doing so you have checked the LA contract and there is no penalty for doing so...otherwise in 6 months time you will be back on here complaining that theres a fee and you didnt see it cos all landlords are far too busy to read a simple agreement. If its a good agent there shouldnt be a fee at all.

    Plus unlike gabbi8856's sister, ask to see all the information on the tenants ie, credit check/employment status and also ask to accompany the viewing to meet the tenants. Then you won't need to complain on this forum later on down the line when you didnt know who the tenants were and what they were like.

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  • PhoenixPropertyShop
    replied
    Originally posted by gabbi8856 View Post
    I would avoid agents, all they do is take your money! 1 months rent as a finders fee which if you are changing tenants regularly (ie students) means little profit. If they manage the property then they take a monthly fee which is way too much based on the fact that they generally do b*gger all and run a mile when things get tough.

    My sister used an agent once and they let her house to gypos who trashed the place big style. The neighbours called the agent and reported there were big issues going on at the house but the agent did nothing and didnt pass that info on to my sister. It was terrible. We would never use agents, they are just money grabbing kids interested in nothing but their commision.

    Don't tar us all with the same brush!!! Most agents are honest and will try to find the best tenants for your property. A few are worth more than the monthly management fee with the work they do! For some, agents are the best/only way forward, and all I would advise is to use an agent that is experienced and trustworthy.

    It is not in an agent's interest to put bad tenants into a property, as this causes more work at the end of the tenancy, means shorter-term tenants (especially if they have to be evicted), and loses the trust of the landlord.

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  • gabbi8856
    replied
    I would avoid agents, all they do is take your money! 1 months rent as a finders fee which if you are changing tenants regularly (ie students) means little profit. If they manage the property then they take a monthly fee which is way too much based on the fact that they generally do b*gger all and run a mile when things get tough.

    My sister used an agent once and they let her house to gypos who trashed the place big style. The neighbours called the agent and reported there were big issues going on at the house but the agent did nothing and didnt pass that info on to my sister. It was terrible. We would never use agents, they are just money grabbing kids interested in nothing but their commision.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sorrel
    replied
    If its your first time, I would use an agent.

    Yes you will need to pay a fee to the agent but better that for your first 6 months till you learn the ways of the world and the trials and tribulations of being a landlord.

    Inform the agent that you want to be informed about any maintenance issues before they carry them out so you can get a feel for response times, who they use etc. Use the time to read up as much as possible and speak to the many fine people on this website and others.

    Then when your confident enough try managing the property yourself!
    Last edited by Sorrel; 18-09-2008, 09:28 AM. Reason: typo

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  • Attention to detal
    replied
    For your first one, definitely DIY especially if it is close and you have the time. There is so much information on this site and you only learn by experience.
    You can use Letmatch to advertise your prop on Rightmove, and use local papers also - but make it big and colourful to compete with the agency ads (better 1 or 2 expensive ads that do the trick than 4-5 cheapo ones that eventually get the right tenant).
    Phone round local builders/decorators/plumbers/corgi/electricians and try out the ones that seem good - better still get recommendations from other people.
    I would only use an agency if the property was more than an hours drive away, or if I had 10 or more properties and was time limited. Why give up 10-15% of your income for a job you can do just as well?
    Regards
    Rob

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  • PhoenixPropertyShop
    replied
    I would say that it completely depends upon a number of factors:

    Do you feel comfortable with all of the various legislation etc regarding the rental of your property?

    Do you want to pay a percentage of your rental income to an agent for them to manage it?

    and mainly: do you want to be contacted by the tenants for any problems etc. that they may have.

    I would say that if you are looking for a monthly income with little/no work, then go with an agent, but if you are planning on eventuallyu buying more properties to mange yourself or want the experience, then do it yourself.

    Best of luck!

    Leave a comment:


  • MGS
    started a topic New landlord: should I use an agent or not?

    New landlord: should I use an agent or not?

    Hi all,

    I have recently bought my first buy to let property and get the keys on the 1st October. The flat needs a little bit of "touching up" and I need to funrish it, so I think il be looking to let it out from October 10th onwards. The flat is in an area of Glasgow that has a high demand for rentors as it is a km away from a Uni and call centres etc. I would be pretty confident I could get a lettor myself through gumtree, rightmove etc. I also have plenty of time, so i could manage it comfortably myself.

    However, I am wondering if this is the best idea as it is my first flat, dont have real contacts yet ie plumbers etc. Or is the only way to learn by doing it yourself? As I am hoping to get another flat around Christmas.

    Any comments/advice are much appreciated......

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