What should you ask your Letting Agent ?
As a landlord it can be easy to think that you’re on your own, but are you ignoring the benefits a property manager can have for your sanity and portfolio? It’s no coincidence that many estate agents don’t provide a lettings arm within their business. Lettings can often be seen as the poor relation to sales, when actually this more challenging side to estate agency can be the most rewarding.
Choosing a letting agent is often down to something as simple as finances, but does cheaper always mean better? With a strong letting agent by your side, one who spends time researching the local property market, advising you on the right investments, and continually finding ways to maximise your properties’ and portfolio’s potential, there is an incredible amount of value in finding the right agent.
So how can you decide which letting agent you should choose? A great place to start is with these questions.
Who is in charge of the lettings operation on a daily basis?
Because the sales arm of estate agency generates a high income and turnover you will tend to find that the Director of the agency will have daily management responsibilities in this area. As lettings tends to be the lower income side of the business, a Senior Manager will report to the Director, but it will be the Manager who is in charge of the daily activity.
At Bidmead Cook we do things differently. We consider lettings to be an equal dimension of our business operations, and our Director of Lettings, Natalie, couldn’t be more passionate or hands-on when it comes to the way lettings is run throughout our branches. She has even been seen with a paintbrush in hand at weekends decorating a branch or two to make them more appealing to our clients.
With such dedication to the small touches, imagine how seriously she takes the business of property management.
What experience does the property manager have?
Let’s be honest, the years of experience that a lettings agency overall has is completely different to the personal experiences of each property manager. Some agencies see a position in lettings as a training ground to later move into sales.
However, not all agencies are the same, and we certainly don’t see lettings as a stepping stone – in fact, completely the opposite. Lettings is very complex, with regular legislative changes and often complex regulations, which is why we nurture and support our lettings team to be the best.
We hope that when you meet with one of our property managers that their knowledge and expertise in their field will reassure you of our ability to manage your portfolio effectively.
How long has the lettings manager been with your agency?
As a landlord, the last thing you want is inconsistency and instability when it comes to the management of your portfolio. You want someone who is with you for the long term, who can help you create a vision and then ensure you achieve and exceed it.
Retention within some lettings agents can be poor, but our team at Bidmead Cook goes from strength to strength. Our approach is centered on building long-term, evolving relationships and not just quick business wins.
What area do you cover?
You may have established a portfolio of properties in a specific area and therefore the local knowledge of your property manager will be of extreme importance. But what are your plans for the next few years? Will you be looking to extend your reach?
Using an agent with a number of branches means you get the benefits of a local agent no matter where you choose to invest in the future. Therefore, should you wish to look at extending your portfolio to the Valleys, or close to the River Wye, we can support you just as well as if you were buying a property next door.
How flexible are your team for viewings?
Let’s face it, in this digital era we all expect things at our fingertips, so if a prospective tenant wishes to view a property outside of normal working hours, can the letting agent accommodate them? Will they show them an apartment at weekends or evenings? Or, will that potential tenant move on to a property and agent that can?
What happens if things go wrong? What support do you provide?
In an ideal world, each tenancy will be perfect, but we all know that sadly that doesn’t always happen and, in some difficult cases, you may have to go to court to get things resolved. This can be a very stressful and confusing process, so knowing that you have a property manager who has experience of this situation and is aware of the steps you need to take to resolve the situation will be a real asset.
Being able to rely on your letting agent in such a major way requires trust, but you also need to trust their judgment in other areas. They will advise you on the best way to present your property, when is the best time to invest in upgrades, and when to undertake non-urgent repairs.
Therefore, ask yourself this final question: is this a letting agent I can trust to advise me honestly and represent me in a crisis?
We know we have to earn your trust, so we invite you to come and ask us these 6 questions – and hopefully many more – to see if we are up to the task of managing your properties.