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  • Property-a-holics

    How many Landlords here use an agent? How many do not, and whats your reason for doing either?

    I am really curious to know who uses agents, what they think of the service they get, how they could make it better, I also want to know why people dont choose an agent? What are the benefits and what are the cons. Treat as a free for all - and be totally honest. Are Letting Agents in a high street behind the times? Will there still be sales and letting agents 10 years from now - or will this change? Totally open and frank discussion please because I'd love hearing everyones views.
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    Hi Sally,
    We use a fully managed service from a letting agent for the majority of our properties simply because we believe that our time is best used finding new deals and building our business ... not arranging for a plumber to unblock a loo!
    I think some letting agents are behind the times in as much as they are not pro-active enough or communicative enough. I like to know how many viewings are lined up, what the feedback was etc., so that I can get a feeling for how the property sits in the market place and adjust my marketing accordingly.
    I think letting agents should embrace social media like you are doing as this is a great way to spread your messages and get instant feedback and response.
    Out of hours and Sunday viewings are also useful of offer for people who are very busy.
    Generally, we are very happy with our lettings agents, and, if we weren't, we would change them and find someone better.
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    Vanessa said:
    Hi Sally,We use a fully managed service from a letting agent for the majority of our properties simply because we believe that our time is best used finding new deals and building our business ... not arranging for a plumber to unblock a loo!I think some letting agents are behind the times in as much as they are not pro-active enough or communicative enough. I like to know how many viewings are lined up, what the feedback was etc., so that I can get a feeling for how the property sits in the market place and adjust my marketing accordingly.I think letting agents should embrace social media like you are doing as this is a great way to spread your messages and get instant feedback and response.Out of hours and Sunday viewings are also useful of offer for people who are very busy.Generally, we are very happy with our lettings agents, and, if we weren't, we would change them and find someone better.
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    Hi Sally
    We tend to use letting agents for sourcing tenants in areas not local to us. All the ones we use (see the testimonial hall of fame thread) have been with us for a while and we have worked hard to find good agents.
    As far as management goes, we do that ourselves.
    Regards
    Wasim
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    Hi Vanessa
    Thanks for your thoughts. I love hearing about peoples experiences with Agents and what people want. I find it essential to understand. I think Lanldords do feel like lone warriers sometimes - and I do think this forum will be a tremendous asset to them. I was reading your comments about Singing Pig, (and others) and I am constantly shocked at how business treat the customers and do not listen to opinions and take on board comments. I think its essential for all businesses to move and adapt to the market place, just like you as a Landlord will listen to feedback and make changes to your properties.
    Kind wishes Sx
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    Hi Sally
    We sometimes use agents to find tenants or we find them ourselves. It depends on the type of let and the location of property. We manage the portfolio ourselves and collect the rents direct.
    In our experience, the virtual agents are far more proactive and cost effective than the High Street agents. Also the High Street agents have a niggling habit of charging tenants lots of bolt on fees and tenants are becoming more switched on to this.
    The internet has levelled the playing field for letting agents and you don't have to have offices to advertise on the property portals. Also, I believe most tenants look on the internet rather than the newspapers so tenants can key in their exact requirements and they only get properties that meet their criteria rather than sifting through pages of classified ads
    I believe there will be a need for agents in the future because finding a home to live in is a personal business and people deal with people. How agents go about marketing themselves will probably change and the cost base of High Street agents may become unsustainable, particulalrly in the current economic climate
    Cheers
    Adrian
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    Hi Sally,
    Meant to say that, if you do out of hours viewings, please be careful about your personal security. Might be worth investing in a personal alarm or some such?
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    Hi Sally
    Im going to be totally honest and specific about the problems I've had with Letting Agents in this post - please dont think Im a moaner or negative, I think I'm just shocked at the service I received.
    I have a small portfolio of 3 houses - 1 of which I was lucky enough to let myself to a couple I know (although I still did DD and put an AST in place etc.)
    For the other 2 properties, I used LAs on a 'tenant find' only service, as Im currently able to manage the 3 properties myself (they're all local and I'm lucky enough to have the time to do so)
    They are both well known, high street agents and both gave me a similar service..... i.e. not a very professional one!
    I hate to be negative, but I found that both agents made silly mistakes throughout the whole process, which were:-
    Agent 1 (Most well known AND expensive agents in my town)
    Didnt market my property in store or newspaper for 2 weeks
    Told me they'd taken someone around my property but then rang me up before the 'next' viewing to say they didnt have any keys (I'd bought this property from them, to rent out & they'd said they had spare keys)
    I signed for a tenant find only - they registered me as full management..... which meant deduction of management fees from my initial funds, which then took 6 weeks to get back
    They set the tenants standing order up to be paid to them - then wouldnt release the money to me (this was rectified by me having to take advice from ARLA and complain to their MD)
    They told me they had rectified the STO - but I discovered that rather than them sending out a new STO form to the tenants, they had phoned them up and given them my account no. etc over the phone (so, of course, the tenant didnt set a STO up and I had to collect cash)
    It took over 5 weeks to get copies of the AST, gas cert etc.
    Agent 2 (Lettings only agents)
    Advertised my property at £50 over the agreed rental (cue no viewings that week!)
    Post let problems - I had to continuously chase up the AST, gas cert, EPC etc. and finally got them 6 weeks after the property had been occupied.
    It took over 2 weeks for them to pay out the deposit / rent after deducting their fees - they then called me up to say that I still owed them £60 as they had miscalculated. I had to virtually beg them for a final statement which gave a brerakdown of what they had deducted.
    I would love to be able to recommend their services to people, but I feel that I've had my fingers burnt badly by these 2 agents (both big high street names in my town!) purely on the basis that their basic administration was so poor. Yes, they marketed my properties and yes, they found me tenants - but I felt that as soon as they had done so they really gave the impression that they couldn't be bothered to tie up all the admin (and money!) afterwards.
    This obviously led me to feel that I'd only been given 70% of the service I'd paid for.
    As I say, I hate to be negative about anything but I was just so shocked at the service I received from them. I suppose, being an ex BTSer I've been spoiled by the professional service these agents reserve for property buyers & sellers! Shame
    So, in a nutshell, I would say that (in my experience) agents have a long way to go when it comes to getting the basics right.... and by delivering a professional service throughout, they might just bag themselves a long term client.
    Surely in this climate, where there are more rental properties than ever, they need to be competetive in terms of service?
    (Sorry to waffle, I just feel so strongly about this!)
    Kind regards
    Karen
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    Karen - I love you for your honesty. I really thank you for your comments and sharing your experience. Thank you. Sally
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    Hi Vanessa. TY. I am respectful of the site to "plug" by diverting - but yes I do and Yes I am ! Thank you!
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    Adrian
    I think you are totally right in your comments, and I think the indusrty needs to change towards the on line - opposed to office in reflection of costs. Its clear that service is the most important but most neglected.
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