From the right marketing, to tenant vetting, to negotiation, and ongoing maintenance, there’s a lot to think about when letting a property. Anyone planning to do so has to carefully consider how much to manage themselves and where to seek out the help of an expert agent.
The right letting agent can be a valuable resource and take as much stress out of the process as possible. Here’s what to look for.
Setting the right price
A good agent should have specialised knowledge of the local area, and what attracts people there. They should provide you with well-considered and realistic estimates of how much the property could command on the market – backed up by clear evidence.
Marketing power and expertise
Economies of scale mean an agent has more purchasing power when it comes to marketing than an individual landlord. They’ll also have valuable expertise regarding the right kind of photos to take and description to write that makes the property more appealing. And, as well as doing the basics like getting ads up on Rightmove and Zoopla, a good agent should look to use other channels like social media to bring your property to a wider audience – and find the best tenants swiftly.
Finding the right tenant
This is the crux of it all: a successful let depends on finding tenants who will respect and enjoy the property – and be sure to pay the rent of course. Before arranging viewings, the agent should establish that the prospective tenants would be able to pass referencing checks, and have a good understanding of their rental and employment history. Agents should have a scrupulous referencing process to ensure that your property will be let to trustworthy tenants who will pay on time and treat your property as their own.
Before handing over keys, you should ensure that the following checks are carried out on your tenants (and their guarantor if applicable):
- Confirmation of employment and income, to establish affordability and stability (minimum 6 months)
- Continuous employment and 2.5 x rent for earnings ratio.
- Residency checks over the last 3 years including land registry confirmation for home owners and Letting Agent/Landlord references where applicable.
- Verification of identity, bank account and next of kin.
Maintaining the property – and the relationship
Agents help landlords fulfill their responsibilities towards their tenants – especially when landlords don’t live locally. From a leaky pipe to a broken boiler they should step in rapidly and efficiently if and when the need arises. Make sure they’re set up to do so, with relationships with respected tradespeople. Also, do they offer you the right level of protection? Your agent should be able to provide free Rent Guarantee Insurance with no excess: covering legal expenses up to £50,000, eviction costs, tenancy property damage and rent recovery in case things go wrong. And, do they have an easy-to-access online portal where you can view and manage all paperwork and contracts for your property and tenants – ensuring communication is clear and no confusion or doubts arise?
Fair and open fees and charges – with no nasty surprises
Your agent should have a simple and completely transparent fee structure in place with no hidden costs or unnecessary admin charges. Check if they charge for renewals – you do not want to have to pay these fees every year if you have long term tenants. Urban Village do not charge renewal fees as standard, as we feel that this is an unnecessary charge.
At the end of day, as with so many other things, it all comes down to having a relationship based on trust. You’re trusting someone to look after one of your most valued assets. If you don’t believe that an agent would take as much care of your property as you would, then chances are they’re not the right one for you.
We’re here to help
Here at Urban Village Homes we pride ourselves in giving exceptional and friendly service that puts you in the driving seat. If you’re thinking of letting your home and want to know what you could achieve for your property, give us a call on
020 3519 9121 or click here for a free instant online valuation.
Urban Village Home
Address: 121, Denmark Hill,
SE5 8EN, London,