When should landlords decide to switch letting agent?
Finding a reputable letting agent that delivers the results you need as landlord is critical. Strong financial returns and a reliable property management service will give you peace of mind that your investment is in safe hands.
One of the purposes of using a letting agent is to reduce or remove the timely tasks involved in letting a property in the UK as a private landlord. However, choosing the wrong letting agent can be both costly and frustrating.
There are a variety of reasons why landlords may opt to move on from their current letting agent, such as access to in-house property management teams, greater online presence and improved customer service.
In this blog, we outline some key factors for landlords to consider when instructing or working with a letting agent. We would encourage landlords to challenge current letting agents about the aspects listed below. This will help you get a good idea if your agent is up to the job of letting and managing your property with optimum results, or if it’s time to switch letting agent.
Is your current letting agent delivering the optimum results for you? Are they keeping you and your property 100% compliant with letting laws and regulations? Are they achieving the optimum rental returns?
Here are a few compelling reasons why landlords may want to switch to a new letting agent if they are letting properties in and around Greater Manchester.
1. Access to a large network of potential tenants
The success of your let property business largely depends on your ability to find quality tenants quickly and efficiently. A good letting agent should be well-connected to a network of potential tenants. This means they should be able to source tenants from within their own network, as well as by utilising various online portals, social media and other advertising channels.
2. Low void periods
Proactive marketing, advertising and a good pool of registered tenants should ensure that your properties don’t remain vacant for extended periods of time. Your agent should be able to show you their plans to reduce void periods between tenancies. At Hills, we work hard to reduce any void periods between tenancies, sourcing and securing tenants quickly and efficiently.
3. Online presence
In the digital age, having an online presence is critical to connecting with a wider audience of potential tenants. It is also important to ensure your website is up to date, professional, and reflects your brand. A good letting agent should have a web presence that optimises SEO for the best results. The letting agent’s web site should have good search functionality for tenants looking for properties as well as useful content for tenants – such as Guide to Renting etc. It should also have clear functionality for tenants to report any issues or repairs online, 24/7.
Does your letting agent have experience in the Manchester lettings industry and a proven track record of successfully managing properties in the Greater Manchester area? This is important as local knowledge and experience will help your agent find suitable tenants who will be happy in your property.
5. Customer service
Your letting agent should be considered your partner in property. You should be able to depend on your letting agent to deliver clear, concise communication, stay in touch regularly with updates regarding your property. They should also liaise efficiently between you and your tenant.
6. Suitable landlord services
Does your agent provide the letting service you need including Tenant Find, Rent Collect and Fully Managed letting services ? Are they flexible in their approach to accommodate your personal circumstances and preferences? Your letting agent should work around you and your needs, so that they deliver real value where it matters.
7. Rent reviews and property value retention
Does your agent provide regular rent reviews with advice around what’s happening to the local lettings market in terms of rental prices in the Greater Manchester area? You need to feel assured that your property is attracting optimum yields and rental returns. Your agent should also discuss ways to make sure your property retains, and if possible, increases in value, such as regular maintenance, enhancements and improvements.
Check that the agent is registered with professional bodies such as the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) or The National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS). Accreditation or membership will reassure you that your letting agent works to professional standards and are a credible force within the sector.
9. Legal compliance
Check that the agent is up-to-date on all legal regulations governing the rental market, such as gas safety, electrical and fire safety regulations. This is increasingly important and ever changing – your letting agent should be able to demonstrate that they adhere to all the latest legislation.
10. Transparency around fees
Ask for a breakdown of any fees involved in the services they provide, such as administration fees, renewal fees etc. Your agent should be transparent and open about their fees and costs and should be able to demonstrate the returns on your investment (ROI) – the profitable returns you can expect, after fees and any costs have been deducted.
11. Tenant selection
Make sure that the agent performs comprehensive tenant referencing and credit checks. Tenant checks are required by law in the UK.
Ensure that the agent is adequately insured for public liability and professional indemnity. Do they offer Rent Guarantee insurance that gives the landlord full protection against any non-payment of rent? This can be a useful option for many landlords. Can they provide insurance for the tenants?
Your letting agent is handling your investment and you need to trust that they are professional in their approach, processes and systems. Is your agent a member of the ARLA Propertymark which means they will abide by professional standards. Check out the reputation on Google reviews, social media channels and if you can, speak to exciting landlords and tenants to assess a letting agent’s professional reputation.
Discuss the availability and responsiveness of the letting agent when urgent matters arise, ensuring they are available 24/7. Do they provide a 24/7 online facility for tenants to report any issues or repairs?
Make sure that the agent has the capability to carry out repair and maintenance works promptly and efficiently. Do they have an efficient property management service managed in-house? Do they use local, reputable contractors?
If you feel your agent is falling short on any of the points mentioned above, it’s time to switch to Hills. We let and manage hundreds of properties of all types in Salford, Eccles, Swinton and across the Greater Manchester area. Our landlords benefit from maximum rental returns, exceptional service and the friendly, professional Lettings and Property Management team that is Hills.
If you would like a no obligation discussion, please call our Letting Team today. They will be happy to discuss any question you may have and give you an up-to-date rental assessment of your property.