Eight simple tips to help you choose a letting agent.
1 Check Online Reviews
Online reviews are becoming increasingly important, with 88% of consumers worldwide consulting reviews when looking for a local business. The volume of negative reviews is the most important metric. Look on respected sites, such as Google and Trustpilot.
2 Ask Around
Online reviews are a great indicator, but nothing beats a personal recommendation. Look for other signs that you’re making a good choice, though. You may have heard how privileged his victims felt when they invested their life savings with Bernie Madoff.
3 Give Them a Call
If they don’t answer the phone, take the hint. We get calls every day from exasperated landlords who cannot get through to their letting agent. Do they have someone available who is willing and able to talk to you about the market?
4 Look for a Solid Guarantee
Western Lettings promise to refund one month’s management fee if we don’t answer your call within six rings or respond to your email on the same day. No other agent will offer that, but they might offer some guarantee. The more specific, the better.
5 Look for Accreditations.
Membership of industry bodies is a good indicator of professionalism. This gives you confidence that you have someone to turn to if you’re not happy with the service. The main bodies are the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) and The Property Ombudsman Service (TPOS). We are members of those, as well as several others.
6 Ask for a Dedicated Contact
You don’t want to have to start over with a different person every time you call. Western Lettings will provide you with a dedicated property manager. If they are not available, you will also have a named backup property manager.
7 Insist on Transparency
You should have instant access to all invoices settled on your behalf. Any commission added to contractor invoices should be declared. We don’t add commission, and we pass the savings on to our clients by securing better deals with contractors. Pricing should be clear and simple. It’s important that you can see historical data on fees and maintenance.
8 Choose a Specialist
Lettings is difficult to nail, so look for an agent that is dedicated to the task. If they’re selling houses and doing land development, they are probably not going to be sufficiently focused on your rental property.