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As a Landlord, Should I Use a Lettings Agency or go it Alone

As a landlord renting property to tenants, you are undeniably going to face a few bumps and hurdles along the way. Be them big or small, the problems come in all shapes and sizes with varying levels of urgency. Knowing how to juggle and solve these problems in an effective way, is all in a working day for a landlord, if they let privately that is.

In this article, we hope to inform and highlight the pros of managing a property solely as a private landlord or using the services of a lettings agency.

The two paths for a landlord

There are two different approaches you can take when it comes to letting your property. You can opt to utilise a lettings agency to handle your tenancy or you can go it alone and control every aspect of the tenancy.

Generally, when it comes to decisions like these it’s always essential to know exactly what to expect with each choice, so we’ve highlighted the pros of utilising a lettings agency to manage a property against solely managing a property as a private landlord with a couple examples of where each case would work out well for you.

The path of management

So the big factor here lies with the landlord. Put bluntly, do you as landlord want to do a lot of work? Regardless of what you answer it’s important to know what lettings agents can do for you and if they are a worthwhile investment.

To begin, a lettings agency will without a doubt, offer a far more extensive marketing package than a private landlord can utilise. The mixture of professional photography and a leading property portal license means that not only is your property being marketed to thousands of potential applicants, it’s standing out of the crowd with enticing professional photography and more. Comparatively speaking, a property with eye-catching photography is going to garner a lot more interest than average photos, this is something we cover in our article about the importance of property photography and standing out from the crowd.

Aside from the initial marketing, choosing the tenant is fundamentally one of the most important steps when it comes to being a landlord. Being that the rent will be paid from this person it is important to know whether or not they can even make the payments.

Most lettings agencies, including ourselves, have a lot of knowledge under our belt about more than just legislation and rules. We understand people and can deduce whether or not they might suitable, and can help you make the right choice.  Coming from a local community and helping hundreds of landlords to find their right tenants, they certainly have the experience behind them.

Over the years, lettings agents have served as loyal customers for neighbouring local tradesmen. This means that by developing good working relationships, a property managed by an agent could be a priority when it comes to boiler breakdowns or other maintenance issues. For example, last Christmas, amongst the boiler breakdown chaos, our dedicated and loyal plumber worked after hours to ensure our properties boilers were back to normal. Normally this would not have been the case and was only possible because we had developed such a great working relationship with them; unless a private landlord can carry out the works himself or has good relations with local tradesmen then this might not have been a possibility.

Additionally, when it comes to disputes, you need to ask yourself how equipped you are with resolving them. Lettings agencies are masters of defusing high-risk situations and can work, bearing in mind their legal experience and relevant property law advisors at their side, to handle all disputes to the best of their ability.

The path of ‘going it alone’

Let’s be honest, we are a letting agency ourselves and so you may think we are biased, fear not, we understand that there are times where it’s ideal for a landlord to manage their own property.

Ultimately managing a property yourself will mean you will have to be more heavily involved. If you are happy with investing your time into managing the property and can do this on a consistent basis without delay, have experience in letting property and understand the legal headaches, then obviously you will not pay agency fees. In addition, you will be in more control of who you rely on for your property maintenance, if you are able to carry out work yourself to a legal standard then you could make considerable savings.

Whilst we have called it ‘going it alone’, that’s not strictly true, letting agencies will offer different service levels depending on how involved you want to be. Here are some examples of common service levels:

  • “Tenant Find” – the letting agent will do the marketing for you at a fee, this could include viewings and referencing as well.
  • Handling the deposit and the legal work involved with this
  • Carrying out an in-depth inventory of your property
  • Handling the contractual work and ensuring it is done to a comprehensive standard

There are more options that can be mentioned here, so it’s important to know that whilst you can manage the property yourself, you can still use letting agencies on an ad-hoc basis for specific elements on renting property to make things easier for you.

I’m still undecided, which is the best for me?

If you are new to renting property, choose a letting agent. It will make your life much simpler in regards to renting property and if something goes wrong, you have someone to speak to. In addition, if you wanted to try managing the property yourself in the future then you will have this option still open to you. For those with more experience or ‘know-how’, then the decision is dependent on your confidence. Whatever you are thinking of doing, why not call your preferred letting agency and arrange a meeting to discuss how they can help you. Most agents will make this free with no obligation, so what is there to lose?

If you are a landlord and have a question relating to your rental property, then give the team a call on 01454 316 718, we are here to help.

About The Author

Everyone at Edison Ford works as a team to bring you this content however, the content is generally written by Peter and the advice included in our guides comes from our own experiences and research collectively. We hope you find our content insightful and if you have any suggestions, then please feel free to email Peter.

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