How to Choose a Great Letting AgentWritten By PropertyLoop February 12, 2021
It is natural for first-time and accidental landlords to want to have their initial steps into the private rental sector guided by the hand of a professional letting agent. With mountains of regulations and legislative changes to navigate, alongside a portfolio to manage, some landlords see their services as essential, whilst many others prefer to take a more hands-on approach. But, how do you choose a great letting agent?
- What Is a Letting Agent?
- What Makes a Good Letting Agent?
- How Do You Choose a Letting Agent?
- Landlord Recommendations for Letting Agents
- Are They a Member of a Professional Trades Body?
- How Will They Market Your Property?
- Are They Easily Reachable?
- How Much Are Letting Agent Fees?
- What Percentage Do Letting Agents Take?
- Compare Letting Agent Fees
- Are Letting Agent Fees Tax Deductible?
What Is a Letting Agent?
Regardless of if they are found on your local high street or online, letting agents help landlords to find a tenant for their property, often making the initial steps into the industry far easier for both new and experienced landlords. The exact role of a letting agent can vary from simply finding a tenant, to handling the tenancy itself depending on the level of service the landlord requires.
What Makes a Good Letting Agent?
As can be expected the qualities that a landlord will look for when choosing a letting agent will vary depending on the size of their portfolio, how long they have been the private rental sector and how much of a hands-on approach they wish to take with their rental opportunities.
How Do You Choose a Letting Agent?
Commonly the expectation when choosing a letting agent is to market any letting opportunity presented to them effectively, seeing the landlord referencing tenants and finalising an agreement within weeks. Unfortunately, this is not always the case seeing applicants rushed through the door in a race to pocket commission. Similarly, to finding a tenant the key is taking your time and assessing what you need from the agents.
The most commonly sought service from letting agents is tenant-only packages. As the name suggests this will see owners pay a premium for letting agents to drum up interest in the rental opportunity, listing the rental on a handful of online portals and perhaps an advert in a high street window. Landlords are left to carry out the referencing of any applicants, alongside carrying out property viewings and registering deposits, however, these can often be handled by the agency for an additional fee. The important thing to note with a tenant only service is that once a tenant has been found for the property the tenancy is left in the hands of the landlord, leaving them to arrange repairs of the rental property, conduct property inspections, collect rent and oversee any issues that may arise.
Alternatively, landlords that wish to take a less direct approach with their properties can choose a fully managed service. This is often hailed as the hands-off approach, with the letting agent handling all aspects of the tenancy. As can be expected the fully managed service will still see the letting agent find occupants for the rental property, but also ensure that the tenancy is fully compliant with current regulations, whilst also giving owners the peace of mind their property is being safeguarded professionally.
Landlord Recommendations for Letting Agents
Asking for recommendations from other, more experienced landlords can often be the best way to find a quality letting agent for new landlords. Online forums or social media groups can offer new offers a Brillant insight into both letting agents to avoid and those that provide a genuine service. Choosing the wrong letting agent can leave landlords more exposed to void periods, seeing their rental sit vacant and unable to generate rental income, with numerous compliance issues and neglected repairs likely to appear further into the tenancy.
Are They a Member of a Professional Trades Body?
Letting agents are legally required to be enrolled with a redress scheme. Put simply, these schemes will hold the landlord accountable, solving disputes between the parties of the agreement and the agent themselves. If a letting agent is found to not be registered with a redress scheme, they are likely to face a fine of up to £5000. Letting agents may also be a member of both ARLA Propertymark and Safegent but are not legally compelled to do so. These memberships are essential for landlords as they will hold letting agents to a particular code of conduct.
How Will They Market Your Property?
It goes without saying that all landlords will want to find a tenant for their rental opportunities as fast as possible. Before signing up with a letting agent not only should landlords assess how they are marketing your property, but how effective their methods are proving to be. Ask the agents what the average time for finding a tenant is?
Will they put it on Rightmove and Zoopla? Do they have a list of possible tenants already? Will your property be advertised in the local newspaper? Clearly understand their marketing initiatives and how other agents could be more effective.
Are They Easily Reachable?
How quickly does the letting agent respond to any queries you have regarding their process or the tenancy? If you can’t contact the letting agent in the evening or weekends then chances are your tenants won’t be able to either. And that’s no good if there’s an emergency repair or you want to chat over a potential issue.
How Much Are Letting Agent Fees?
Of course, letting agents will not offer such services for free, and with buy to let mortgage payments, management fees, and the costs of maintaining a property all bearing upon the landlord, keeping letting agent fees to a minimum is a common approach taken by new owners.rs. Typically, when providing the landlord with a tenant-only service letting agents will charge a one-off fee, usually around a month’s rent, but it is not uncommon for agents to take a cut of the first months’ rent.
What Percentage Do Letting Agents Take?
As mentioned, letting agents will commonly take a percentage of a landlord’s monthly rental income, particularly if they are providing the owner with a fully managed service. This will often be as high as 20% of a landlord’s monthly income, with administration fees also accompanying these deductions.
Compare Letting Agent Fees
When advertising your rental opportunity with PropertyLoop there is zero commission. We ensure that the entirety of the letting process is accessible and free, unlike letting agents that charge landlords for the essentials. Not only does this outdated practice see landlords pay thousands each year, but turns the search for the deal tenant into a money-saving exercise.
With PropertyLoop every letting opportunity is presented to millions of verified renters across all major online letting portals. Landlords will be able to advertise their rental, reference tenants, curate an agreement, register the security deposit and collect rent at no cost! There are no upfront costs, hidden fees, or percentages taken from your rental income, just the future of renting.
Are Letting Agent Fees Tax Deductible?
Thankfully for landlords that are still paying thousands each year in letting agent fees, these costs can be deducted from a landlord’s rental income when completing tax returns. This for some makes opting for a fully managed service more compelling as whilst this may not be the most cost-effective way to let out a property, the funds can be reclaimed.
Why continue paying thousands each year in commission to let your property? With 97% of landlords recommending our services, and with over 50,000 tenants joining our rental community in the last year alone PropertyLoop is welcoming a new era of renting.
The PropertyLoop platform establishes the trust, transparency and personal service that has been lost from the renting sector. We are anything but another faceless corporation looking to profit from your investment, but a community founded on expertise and ambition.
We offer landlords complete clarity on available specialists through a landlord controlled rating and review system, giving users complete confidence of your PropertyPro’s proven results in finding owner’s ideal tenants faster.
With PropertyLoop landlords will have everything they need to let out their rental from start to finish, with no hidden fees, financial barriers or catches; only a revolutionary new way to let.