Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Benefits of Using a Letting Agent

Many landlords when renting a property will look to letting agents to help management the process. Many others will do it themselves, and this leaves newcomers to the business thinking why would should they let a letting agent do the work and take a cut of the money. It surely can't be that difficult surely?

If you are new to the letting property, there is a great benefit from using a letting agent as they have lots of knowledge and will be able to advise you accordingly.

I like to think letting agents clear up four key areas for landlords renting property:

1. Preparing the property for being let.

2. Getting tenants.

3. Managing the client and the property.

4. Smoothing over the end of a contract.

If you choose the right agent, you should have a hassle free relationship (with the tenant and the agent themselves) and be able to sleep soundly at night knowing everything is taken of. Oh, and let's not forget that you'll see money in the bank.

Preparing

This is a step that many new landlords tend to overlook when they first think about renting out a property. Preparation is the next step you take before you start earning money, so it is best that you move swiftly through this phase and do not cut corners so you can let the property as soon as possible.

A letting agent will be able to advise you of a variety of conditions in the local area that will affect how likely your property will be on the market for. They will be able to help you prepare your property so it is more appealing.

As an example: Do they need a furnished flat in the area? If not, would you be better ditching the old furniture you don't want anyway and then let it unfurnished? Or, would buying a cheap cooker help get a tenant quicker? If so, would you prefer an empty property for another month or invest a small amount into the cooker?

Other advice a letting agent can give is your legal obligations as a landlord. Does the property meet current fire regulations and have you had the gas boiler and fire serviced?

Getting tenants

A letting agent's business is exactly that - getting tenants. It is in their interest to let your property as soon as possible so they earn money too. They will aim to let to a tenant with a good background, carrying out any necessary credit checks and will often let the property for the highest amount that they can achieve. It is also worth noting they can also handle the deposit, placing it in a secure deposit scheme which is a legal requirement in the UK.

Managing tenancy and property

This is the part that often gets many people into hot bother during their time as a landlord for a number of reasons. Thankfully a letting agent will deal with this stress for you if anything does not go as planned.

They are the ones who handle any problems a tenant may have and only feedback to you as you are needed to be involved. They are the frontline for helping when there is financial issue or the unlikely event that there is a troublesome tenant. If you are not local, you can handle more control over to the agent so you are only involved in emergencies and they can also help with the maintenance of the property.

End of contract

The end of many contracts will often go smoothly, but there is still the inventory to be checked and having to give the deposit back and all this is happening whilst you are frantically looking for your next tenant so the property is not empty for a lengthy period of time!

As you can tell from this brief overview of these four areas, there is a lot to consider and do when you are a landlord. A property management service from a letting agent may just be what you are looking for to help ease your workload. Even if you are veteran in this business, you could be spending the time doing much more enjoyable activities.

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