Top Tips for Landlords: Choosing the Right Letting Agent

There are many things you should know before you let your property, such as choosing the right letting agent for your needs. For any landlord, the prospect of finding the perfect letting agent can be challenging, yet rewarding. Whether you have a single rental property or a large portfolio of properties, the knowledge, expertise and experience of a letting agent can make a significant difference to your journey of letting.

Everything from finding tenants to running the ongoing tenancy and everything in between can be made much easier with the helping hand of a letting agent, most importantly while you fulfil all the legal obligations.

As a result of the thriving industry we see today within lettings, you are likely to find more than one letting agent in your area, so how do you choose the right one for you?

Fisher Wrathall have some essential tips for any landlord looking to find the right letting agent for them. Follow these four guidelines and you are sure to find the perfect letting agent to fit your requirements.

Costs and Fees

Perhaps one of the biggest issues which many landlords face when dealing with a letting agent is the fees. Some agents may also put fees in the small print so be sure to thoroughly check all the terms and conditions.

An honourable letting agent will be honest, upfront and open about all their fees and will break down all the numbers for you, however, it should also be clearly written in a digestible way in the service contract.

Be aware of the tenancy renewal fee for landlords, if any, as a good letting agent will not force these charges. However, some will. Be sure to ask about this when visiting a letting agent.

Other types of fees to be aware of are the admin fees and the reservation fees. While you will most likely not find a letting agent, which doesn’t require some form of admin fees, it is still worth enquiring about how much the letting agent charges tenants, as well as the landlord.

You should aim to choose a letting agent which is upfront with their fees, as this could reflect the rest of your experience with them. At Fisher Wrathall, we are open with all our landlord fees. You can view a breakdown of each level of service we provide, at what price and what is included here.

Reputation and Regulations

No matter the size of the area you are planning to find a letting agent within, reputation and regulations are everything.

Make sure you do your research on the letting agent you are thinking about going to, but not just online. Word of mouth is just as important as well as reviews, and testimonials.

Any established letting agent will already have a solid reputation and a positive one at that. If possible, talk to other landlords who have used the letting agent’s services. Facebook is also a great place to see some reviews.

If a letting agent has ever provided a less than high-quality service, or likewise an exceedingly good service, it is sure to be written online somewhere.

Not only is reputation key but making sure that your chosen letting agent abides by rules, regulations and the law is vital.

Make sure the letting agent you choose is associated with higher professional bodies such as ARLA and RICS, as well as The Property Ombudsman in Lettings. This way you know that your property is being handled by experienced and skilled professionals.

If you want to ensure reliability and professionalism you could choose a letting agent which is a member of a prestigious office such as The Guild of Professional Estate Agents in Mayfair.

Timing and Image

Any good agent will have a quick vacancy fill rate, however its worth asking the letting agent how long the current time is on average to fill vacancies as it can vary.  It is always good to get a benchmark figure.  If you need a quick turnaround time its best to make this clear so they can’t take on anything which can’t be achieved.

While timing is a critical point to secure, the image of the letting agent is just as important. Presentation is everything when it comes to letting your property and as a landlord, you want to reflect a good image for your tenants.

You will most likely get a feel of the letting agent once visiting them at their offices, alongside their verbal manner and level of customer service.

Take into consideration other factors of the letting agent such as opening times of the agency, their branding, the quality of marketing and their website, level of service, response rate and the types of customers they usually attract.

Tenant Type and Structures

Tenants vary- some are better matched to certain properties and landlords. A good letting agent will find out exactly what type of tenant you want in your property, such as tenants with pets or single tenants, accepting DSS, families etc. If the agent doesn’t ask these types of questions before you agree to work with them, make this clear.

Find out what the letting agents structure usually looks like. What are their processes? How flexible is their price structure? Don’t forget that everyone is trying to keep costs low, so how prepared will the letting agent be to break down any costs, or potentially even craft you your own package?

A high-quality letting agent will offer a variety of service and will make sure they cover your requirements; however, each level will have its own price tag. Choose the right letting agent that has the right structure and service for you.

Fisher Wrathall is a dedicated letting agent and one of the most respected leading agents in Lancaster and the surrounding areas. If you are a landlord and on the search for the right letting agent for you, we would love to discuss your requirements. With our array of lettings services, we are proud to say we can cater to your needs. To take the worry out of letting, you can get in touch with our team today who will be more than happy to have a chat.