If you’re a landlord who rents out a property to a tenant, or maybe a portfolio of properties to numerous tenants, you’ll know that it’s essential to have a good letting agent in order to assist you with the day to day problems you can face in the property market.
These problems can range from sourcing replacement appliances that may be broken or damaged, to adhering to the strict compliance rules and regulations that landlords must follow.
In short, having a very good letting agent can turn a potentially demanding vocation into a fairly stress-free and lucrative business.
However, there are essential things to consider when looking for a good letting agent, and landlords should be careful not to simply opt for the first one they encounter.
Choose for service
You should always make sure that any letting agent you wish to work with has an in-depth knowledge of the local area in which they operate. This knowledge can be decisive when it comes to marketing your property astutely against your competition. They’ll know the benefits and advantages of how to best promote your residence when compared to other properties in the area.
It’s also worth choosing a letting agent that has a strong online presence. Getting your property out there so it’s seen by as many people as possible is the sure-fire way to maintain a steady flow of applicant tenants coming in, and therefore rental money in your pocket.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, think about working with a letting agent that can keep you fully up to date with all the compliance obligations involved with renting out property in the UK. As all landlords will know, staying on top of the ever-changing compliance laws that are regularly amended and updated can be difficult, so letting the experts take care of the paperwork will remove a lot from your plate.
Making the right choices
The letting agent that you pick for your rental property will end up having a big impact on your whole experience of being a landlord. Working with a competent and efficient agency will make renting out the properties in your portfolio a potentially profitable and enjoyable business as their expertise and diligence will keep problems to a minimum, and tenant satisfaction at a maximum.
However, if you choose to work with a letting agent that fails to address the issues that can arise in property letting, you could end up assuming more and more of the many responsibilities upon yourself, adding unwanted worries to an already strenuous occupation.
Decide exactly what you’re looking for
Starting out as a landlord can be overwhelming. There’s so much to take care of and most landlords will end up seeking assistance from a letting agent.
However, not all letting agents offer exactly the same services. Some letting agencies are what is known as let-only, which means that they will market the property, source an appropriate tenant, complete all the reference checks and finally draft the tenancy agreement. Then, they’ll leave you to make it on your own.
Other letting agencies will offer to take on the full management of your rental property, which, aside from all the above, additionally involves sorting out all the repairs around the property, resolving any queries that the tenant raises, and even chasing the rent when it is in arrears.
You should think carefully about which service you require. Although you may think that you can do it all by yourself, if you have a large portfolio, another day job which occupies your time, or if you don’t live in the vicinity, hiring a reliable letting agent who can take care of all the problems can save you time, money and stress.
Fully Managed Plus
Townends offers landlords the Fully Managed Plus service which covers every base involved in letting out a property. We’ll take care of every step along the way, from finding you the perfect tenant, preparing the paperwork of the tenancy along with all the reference checks, producing the AST, carrying out the check-in assessment, and getting the residence fully compliant with the law.
We even offer the Fixflo service – an online repair reporting tool that enables tenants to resolve any maintenance issue with the minimum disruption to you.
Whatever happens during the tenancy, at Townends, we promise to deal with it, right up to re-negotiating a contract or re-letting your property.
Possessing that local knowledge
As mentioned before, one of the most important factors to look at is whether the letting agent has a good knowledge of the local area where you operate your property portfolio. Knowing the area is fundamental as you can advertise your property appropriately in accordance with the market comparables to keep your prices attractive to potential renters.
It’s a common mistake amongst landlords letting their properties to set non-viable asking prices. Although there are basic valuation tools available online, arriving at an appropriate value requires specific area knowledge and a thorough understanding of market conditions.
Why is it crucial to find the right price? In short, if applicants interested in renting your property consider the monthly rental amount too expensive, it could well be overlooked and will sit on the market longer. You’re simply making other comparable properties in the area much more attractive. On the flip side, if you set your rental asking price too low, you may be losing out on legitimate income you could be receiving.
At Townends, we have over 25 years’ experience of letting properties, as well as enjoying a significant branch presence, all over your local areas across London and Surrey. This means we have all the local knowledge and industry experience necessary to best market your home to potential applicants.
Keeping up with compliance
Often cited as the most stressful part of a landlord’s job, failure to observe the numerous letting compliance rules that exist in the UK could mean that you end up with heavy fines and penalties, or even a prison sentence. The UK property lettings market is heavily regulated, and new legislation is constantly being introduced.
When looking for a letting agent to assist you with your property portfolio, one of the most important things to consider is whether they can adequately help you to stay compliant.
Any letting agent that can help with obtaining the lengthy list of gas and electricity safety certificates you’ll need, verifying the statuses of the applicant tenants to ensure they adhere to the right to rent rules, and taking care of the deposit protection schemes is worth their weight in gold.
Townends are fully-qualified experts in these rigid compliance regulations. We leave no stone unturned in making sure your property fully adheres to the law.
We also work with my|deposits which is a leading tenancy deposit protection scheme provider. What’s more, if a claim ever arises, my|deposits provides a free and impartial dispute resolution service.
Find out how the lettings agent markets your property
Different lettings agents will all have their own specific ways to find tenants to fill your properties. Whether it’s simply placing a To Let sign outside the garden gate or listing your home on any number of online property portals, each estate agent will try to convince you that their way works best.
Although it may be tempting to think that bigger letting agencies with hundreds of branches are likely to have better marketing resources, it’s worth remembering that smaller agencies may have more intimate local knowledge.
Townends provides our landlords with an unrivalled service by combining a strong branch presence across London and Surrey, excellent online connections with which to market your property to the widest audience possible, and an intricate knowledge of our core areas.
We specialise in the most forward thinking marketing strategies available, consisting of:
- Listing your property on all major portals including Rightmove and Zoopla as well as our own website
- Investing in Google PPC advertising to capture huge additional tenant interest
- Regular, targeted email communications
- Additional products to attract tenants to your property by offering such schemes as Zero Deposits, Rent and Legal Protection, attractive insurance incentives
- Friendly, fully-qualified and dedicated branch staff who are passionate about property and well-known for their reliability
Make sure they’re always contactable!
When you’re letting out a property, things can go wrong at any time. Faulty boilers and leaky water pipes don’t respect the working timetable of 9am to 5pm. Therefore, it can be really frustrating if you’re trying to urgently contact your letting agent and no-one is picking up the phone as it’s 5.15pm. It’s especially exasperating if no-one is available just because it’s the weekend.
It’s definitely worth working with a letting agency that offers availability outside traditional working hours. This doesn’t have to just be for emergency problem solving either. You might like to schedule viewings on a Saturday or a Sunday if you have a demanding day job too.
Townends has onsite staff over the weekend, and by choosing our Fully Managed Plus service, we offer landlords an out of hours emergency service if anything ever goes wrong in the property.
Tenants can then access us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in over 40 languages. You’re never stuck in a jam with Townends.
Townends are the best lettings agent option for you
We genuinely believe that we’re the best option out there for landlords. We’ve spent more than 25 years developing and evolving all our processes which means that we’re your local lettings experts.
Aside from everything we’ve mentioned above, there’s more we can offer you too.
We’re proud to be able to provide a wide range of additional but essential services including mortgage advice from our sister company dot Financial Services, quality maintenance upkeep, surveying and conveyance. This is all designed to make your life as a landlord hassle-free, so you can reap the benefits that your property or properties bring you.
Townends recommends that you get in contact with us today in order to organise a free valuation of your house. We’ll give you more than just an arbitrary number too. Our experienced property valuers will take on board all the factors which make your property unique. We’ll get to know your residence extensively and comprehensively so that we can advertise it to its maximum potential, bringing you the biggest applicant pool possible.
Choose Townends, choose the best in class. Book your valuation with one of our experts today.