New L - Any reason not to set out doin own advertising/vetting etc?

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    New L - Any reason not to set out doin own advertising/vetting etc?

    I'm just in the process of purchasing my first buy to let. I've done some extensive reading up on here, other sites and books so I'm fairly well acquainted with my new responsibilities and as ready as I can be to start our journey!

    One thing I have picked up is that almost every instance of problems I've read about involves a bad tenant that was signed up by a letting agent. Now I understand there are good and bad letting agents but my gut instinct is that its my property and I want to meet potential tenants and suss them out for myself and also ensure that references/credit checks/affordability checks are done diligently. Having looked at sites like tenantverify they seem to make the process look easy enough. Are there any other sites worth a look? I hear the NLA do checks slightly cheaper?

    Also are the online tenancy agreements (such as the one s on propertyhawk.com) ok for general use? Maybe add in additional clauses as needed?

    Thanks in advance for any pointers!

    #2
    Yes - go for it. You're probably already more competent than some if the agents we hear about here!

    Yes yes yes to doing your own vetting.

    Make sure you have available good sources of advice. Here. Motley Fool 'investing in property' board. Also join the NLA if you haven't already - they have a good advice line. Membership also entitles you to discounted insurance among other things, which in some cases may even cover the membership fee.

    The NLA also provide free ASTs to members which are kept up to date with the latest clauses.

    TBH I write my own AST based on all the best wording and clauses I see on all the various available ASTs. Strictly speaking I should probably get it checked over by a lawyer, but it's seeped me ok.
    IANAL (I am not a lawyer). Anything I say here is just an opinion, so should not be relied upon! Always check your facts with a professional who really knows their onions.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by fridaypassion View Post
      I'm just in the process of purchasing my first buy to let. I've done some extensive reading up on here, other sites and books so I'm fairly well acquainted with my new responsibilities and as ready as I can be to start our journey!
      Reading about this business is just the start.
      I think you'll find out some more things once you start dealing with tenants or prospective tenants.

      Originally posted by fridaypassion View Post
      but my gut instinct is that its my property and I want to meet potential tenants and suss them out for myself and also ensure that references/credit checks/affordability checks are done diligently.
      Only if you know what to look for, have a developed gut instinct and know what are the red/orange/yellow flags.
      Tenant assessment agencies only deal in facts and so they won't tell you about the less obvious & often subtle signs of possible problems.

      There's no getting away from direct experience as your best tool & guide, as it is in almost every other avenue of life and until you get that, I would not advise you go it alone.

      Letting Agencies can be poor, incompetent and maddening, but there are good ones around, even very good/excellent ones who are worth far more than they charge and I would urge you to not discount them so readily.


      Originally posted by fridaypassion View Post
      Having looked at sites like tenantverify they seem to make the process look easy enough. Are there any other sites worth a look? I hear the NLA do checks slightly cheaper?
      Letsure
      Homelet
      Maras
      Natural selection is a wonderful thing
      You shall know them by their fruit
      Saying "Never say never", says it

      Comment


        #4
        Buy2Let is a med/high risk investment opp for the uninitited
        LL/T legislation is complicated and you could lose several £K in early years if you rely soleky on free advice
        NLA/RLA membership offers member benefits/trg for an annual fee

        Comment


          #5
          There are good letting agents out there. Remember that you possibly get a biased view of LAs here, as people only post when they have problems, so there must be many 100's of quite happy LA customers, who do not come here for advice because everything is running fine.

          We have had our property for 10 years, and only decided to go it alone when we found the current T. Our previous 2 long-term Ts in that time, both found and fully managed through the agent, were excellent.

          Having now let it ourselves, so far so good. There is a wealth of invaluable information here, and members with far greater knowledge who are always willing the help and advise. We used tenantverify for our credit check etc. Met the T twice. Spoke to previous LL (I know there are those here who say this is not always a good idea, but there was no "previous" previous LL to speak to as T was only renting for 2nd time). Spoke to a character reference. And generally followed our gut instinct, which so far has proved right. However, even the most suitable, 100% solid gold tenant can suffer a change of circumstances which can affect their ability to pay the rent etc, so all these references are merely a "snap shot" of the situation at the time they are made - rather like an MOT on a car, and tomorrow everything could change!

          Remember though, you can always ask to meet and have a chat with any prospective Ts that an agent finds for you, so using an agent would not preclude you from forming your own perception of that person, before you commit to letting to them.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by LesleyAnne View Post
            There are good letting agents out there. Remember that you possibly get a biased view of LAs here, as people only post when they have problems, so there must be many 100's of quite happy LA customers, who do not come here for advice because everything is running fine.

            We have had our property for 10 years, and only decided to go it alone when we found the current T. Our previous 2 long-term Ts in that time, both found and fully managed through the agent, were excellent.

            Having now let it ourselves, so far so good. There is a wealth of invaluable information here, and members with far greater knowledge who are always willing the help and advise. We used tenantverify for our credit check etc. Met the T twice. Spoke to previous LL (I know there are those here who say this is not always a good idea, but there was no "previous" previous LL to speak to as T was only renting for 2nd time). Spoke to a character reference. And generally followed our gut instinct, which so far has proved right. However, even the most suitable, 100% solid gold tenant can suffer a change of circumstances which can affect their ability to pay the rent etc, so all these references are merely a "snap shot" of the situation at the time they are made - rather like an MOT on a car, and tomorrow everything could change!

            Remember though, you can always ask to meet and have a chat with any prospective Ts that an agent finds for you, so using an agent would not preclude you from forming your own perception of that person, before you commit to letting to them.
            A very good, balanced assessment and first hand experience is always much better for newbies than theory.

            I would only change the figure of how many landlords are happy with their letting agent, which i would imagine is at least into the hundreds of thousands given how many people let out their home.

            And yes, landlords and tenants don't really come onto a webforum to say how wonderful things are, apart from mentioning it in as part of saying something else, so this forum can seem like a house of horrors sometimes with what people have experienced.
            If this forum was a barometer of what is going on in the residential property lettings market, there would be no market to speak of.

            Comment


              #7
              This slightly off your question but its food for thought perhaps.

              I suspect that one day, being a landlord will become a licensable occupation/operation, with no doubt a raft of rules and regulations to ensure that landlords do follow the law, safeguards, standards, etc.
              There would also need to be formalised training to facilitate such a change.

              I know there are some local landlord registration schemes but these seem to have a low uptake and identification is difficult and costly.

              If this was to happen, I would imagine the market would shrink given how many landlords are doing it in a non-professional, unintentional and often, quite way, not to mention the number of landlords who have homes that are just a tad above a squat, do everything without documentation, deposits, bank accounts, etc., and which some tenants accept if the rent is cheap.

              Such a change would probably only be welcomed by landlords if there was commensurate changes on the tenant side of the equation, which has been documented at length on this forum.

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