As a landlord, you need to place a lot of trust in your Estate agent to find reliable tenants and manage your property portfolio successfully. But how can you be sure you’re choosing the best Estate agents for your needs?
By asking a few key questions, you can qualify prospective letting agents and check that they’re the perfect fit for you. Here are our top ten questions to ask your Estate agent before signing up with them.
Questions For Your Estate Agents:
#1 What Is Included In My Management Fee?
There are many different levels of service packages available to landlords, including full management and tenant-find only. With the latter, the estate agents only deal with the initial stages leading up to your tenants moving in – once this has happened you’ll be required to collect rent from tenants yourself and deal with all the day-to-day management issues. Some estate agents will offer different options for landlords, whereas others will only provide one type of service, depending on their business model and capabilities. Find a letting agent that offers a package suitable for you.
#2 How Often Will You Be Visiting the Property?
Properties can easily fall into disrepair if left with an unruly tenant. Asking your letting agent how often they plan to visit the property shows how proactive they plan to be and gives you the reassurance that they will be able to monitor wear and tear throughout the year, preventing any unpleasant surprises at the end of a tenancy.
#3 Which Bodies Are You Accredited Through?
There are many national recognised and approved bodies that any good estate agent will be a member of. These include ARLA, The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and The Royal Institution Of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
#4 What Steps Do You Take If A Tenant Doesn’t Pay Rent?
Establish how many tenants are in arrears with the letting agent and how they will secure your rent if a tenant fails to pay. The agent should have a clear policy detailed which outlines how rent is collected, when it will be paid to you and how late fees are secured. The letting agent should also have a clear policy on how to stop tenants consistently falling into arrears, to guarantee you peace of mind during the tenancy.
#5 How Do You Plan To Market The Property?
An unoccupied property is costly to you, so it’s important your letting agent is proactive at getting the space filled as quickly as possible, and that they have the confidence to market it desirably and achieve the maximum market price. By listing the property on platforms like Zoopla and Rightmove, as well as internally, the agent is ensuring your home is seen by the right people. A good agent may also include your property on email database newsletters and draw prominent attention by supplying you with a ‘To Let’ sign that can be seen clearly. Ask if the agent will take their own professional photos or if you will be required to supply these yourself.
#6 What Experience Do You Have?
You want to choose a letting agent that has a credible reputation on the market. Look for how long the company has been working in real estate and what their reputation is like by reading reviews online. Asking the letting agent to demonstrate knowledge of the current rental market in your area, or to show you similar properties to yours that are on their books, will demonstrate that they have the correct capabilities to manage your property successfully.
#7 How Do You Deal With Maintenance And Emergencies?
Your letting agent will most likely have a trusted supplier they use for any house repairs or emergencies but you need to ensure they clearly set out their policies on this – will they get your approval on costs before carrying out any work? Will an expected amount of money be allotted and agreed between you and the letting agent to be used on basic repairs without consulting you?
#8 What Level Of Communication Do You Have With Landlords?
Letting agents have varying forms of interaction with landlords. Some will send a monthly basic report, whereas others will have a more regular interaction with you. Many letting agents will work on a computerised system now, but others will stick to more traditional methods of phonecalls or written communication. It’s important to understand how any problems with the property or tenants will be conveyed to you and how quickly you will be expected to respond.
#9 How Do You Select Tenants?
Its’s important that the letting agent you’re using screens tenants properly and chooses the right tenant, instead of selecting an unsuitable candidate just to make a quick fee. There are many questions your letting agent can ask a prospective tenant to ensure that they understand the requirements of the tenant and are confident that they’re a good fit for the property.
#10 Finally…Why Should I Choose You?
Remember that you’re the client, so it’s up to the letting agent to convince you that they’re right person for the job. Satisfying all of the above questions are relatively standard points of service that you would expect to receive from all agents – so what is it that sets this particular agent apart? Asking them to define their unique selling point will give you peace of mind that you’ve chosen a company that will get the most return on investment for you.
Book An Appointment With Affitto
Our friendly team are more than happy for you to ask us questions! We pride ourselves on outstanding customer service and can provide you with a wealth on information before partnering with us, to ensure that you’re completely confident in our ability to manage your property portfolio. Our team work proactively with you to grow a longstanding relationship that will help you achieve the most from your rental endeavours. To find out more about our services and how we can help you, get in touch today.