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Buying a Rental Property; The pros and cons of a letting agent

March 27, 2021

Purchasing a rental property? Unsure whether to pay a letting agent or go it alone?

What are the pros and cons – apart from the obvious?

This is a question I am often asked and there is no definitive answer. Ask me if you should use a certified electrician or gas engineer – then the answer is an unequivocal “yes”. Legally and on safety grounds, it’s a complete no-brainer. With rental properties it’s less clear cut. Some landlords obviously do manage properties themselves and it can go very well – providing all goes to plan. So what’s the main advantage of this hands-on approach? It’s obviously going to save you cash but you do need the time and energy to deal with tenants’ queries and problems, plus a good knowledge of current and changing legislation. Many people think about it and then say no! Now thinking of using an agent but unsure about what we actually do – or cost? Fees can range from 10% of the rent to 20%, depending on the level of service. Always make sure you know exactly what’s covered, so there are no “nasty surprises” via hidden fees.

You can pick from the following levels of service:

Finding tenants and arranging the let: this involves handling a raft of initial requirements but after that the landlord goes it alone. Most rental property owners no longer choose this option.

Rent collection: including chasing late payments.

Full management: With this option, we manage all aspects of the rental, including maintenance and repair work; tenancy deposit protection schemes; and Right to Rent Checks. Before proceeding, make a short-list of what you’re looking for and read the small print before making a decision. Then talk to your agent! Make sure you know to what you’re signing up. What your agreement will include. How they’ll deal with things if anything goes wrong. Agents also know the local market – what rents easily and what doesn’t. The advantages of furnished and unfurnished homes. Please take the opportunity to pick our brains as “forewarned is generally forearmed”.

Agents can also help you with the following:

  • Tenancy agreement checklists to make sure you don’t forget anything
  • Choosing the right amount of security deposit that will attract good tenants without pricing them out.
  • Ensuring compliance with all relevant legislation – this ensures you operate within the law and can issue notice, if required.
  • Finding tenants that want longer rents – helping to avoid costly “void” periods.
  • Drawing up contracts that are both legally binding and easy to access
  • Specifics such as garden maintenance and what’s considered “wear and tear”.
  • Releasing deposits when the tenancy ends and any dispute resolution.

For more information, do give me a ring for a friendly and informal, no-obligation chat. I’m always very happy to talk anything through.

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