How to Let A Property With a Letting Agent in England

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This guide is for landlords in England for how to use letting agents to rent their property out.
 
  1. Step One: Investigate Local Letting Agents
    1. Search on Google or another leading search engine: for the phrase "letting agents in XXXXXX" and then your town or city name in place of the XXXXX, because this is what your future tenants will most probably search for - for instance, in our area people search for "letting agents in St Albans" - the results of this search are very important, if your letting agency does not appear high enough on this search result, then your future tenants probably won't find them either. At Let Me Properties letting agents in St Albans (letmeproperties.co.uk), we are very proud of the fact that we appear right at the top of the listings for many phrases including "letting agents St Albans".
    2. Check Google Maps reviews: many agencies have multiple reviews on Google Maps - if they don't have any or only have one or two, you can probably take this as a sign that they do not invest a lot of time and energy in online marketing. Due to the huge percentage of letting enquiries that are generated through the internet in today's market, you want to pick a letting agency that is both highly involved with online marketing, and one who is highly reviewed. Obviously as time goes on any business might get one or two bad reviews from people who just couldn't be pleased, or people who seek revenge for something unrelated, however multiple bad reviews from people who seem legitimate should be a big warning sign.
    3. Visit your local high street or town centre. Walk around and see which letting agents stand out from the crowd. Pop into a few and pretend to be looking for a property to rent - see who is welcoming and who wants to sign you up to their waiting list - these are probably the agents you want marketing your property because they will respect your future tenants, and they are proactive.
      • Pay attention to their office:
        • is it smart and clean?
        • is it modern and fresh?
        • or is it too flashy and expensive?
        • You probably want an agency that is well looked after, yet modest and fitting with the local community.
      • Pay attention to their manners:
        • Did they welcome you?
        • Did they treat you with respect?
        • Did you feel comfortable?
        • You probably want an agency that made you feel welcome and respected, because you and your tenants will have to deal with these people for years to come.
    4. Check Rightmove and Zoopla for properties similar to your and in a similar location:
      • If a letting agent has rented a property just like your already, or has one similar on the market, then you can be sure that they know what they are doing when it comes to finding tenants for your exact property. This how ever is the least important of the steps above, because any agent worth his salt can let anything he sets his mind to. Service and market impact are much more important than exacting experience.
  2. Step Two Create a Short List of possible Agents
    1. From the exercises above, create a list of 2 or 3 agents you might want to meet with to find out more information.
    2. Call those agents and ask them for their terms and conditions to be sent to you, along with their marketing pack.
    3. Ask them if they charge any extra fees, and if they say yes, ask exactly what those fees are.
    4. Ask them what their typical maintenance jobs cost:
      1. How much is a gas certificate?
      2. How much is a gas certificate and a boiler service?
      3. How much is a call out from an electrician for a small job like changing a light switch?
      4. How much is a call out from a handyman to change the sealant around the bath?
      5. How much is a call out to paint an average double room?
      6. From these things you can deduce how spendthrift the agents will be with your money.
    5. Offer the agents who pass the above tests to meet with you on a specific day at a specific time - they should be willing to meet with you when and where it suits you - if they can't meet on your terms then that's not a very good start to the relationship.
  3. Meeting with the agents on your shortlist:
    1. At this point the you should have weeded out the worst of the agents, and should hopefully be left with the best of the best. The agents who have good offices in good locations, good websites that were high up on google, good reviews, good service when you visited their offices, low or no extra charges, and good rates for repairs and contractors.
    2. Then it is mostly about who you like and who you believe you will work best with, because remember you will be dealing with this person for years to come.
    3. Final thought - remember commission fees are not all about getting the lowest price - you wouldn't hire someone to run your business because they were willing to do it for the least amount of money - your property rental is a business, and should be run and managed accordingly - as with a lot in life, you get what you pay for and the best will cost you more than the rest - however don't be fooled by the flashy overcharging agent who will charge the most and give you nothing - at least if you're going to pay a higher fee than the cheapest, make sure you get the top quality service you deserve.
  4. Sit back and let the letting agent do the rest - if you have followed this guide, then you should have found yourself a brilliant agent who will deal with everything from here, or will walk you through what they need you to do.
  5. Enjoy your rent and your new hassle free management arrangement.
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