You don’t have to rent and manage your property through an agent. You can save a lot of money doing things yourself, and on Ezylet you can advertise your property for free. But some people prefer to get professional help, at least to start with. If you do decide to go down this route, there are a few things you can do to make sure your relationship with your agents runs smoothly.
- Shop around for the right fit. Firms will charge different percentages, and some might justify their higher cut by getting more for your property. Be aware that agents don’t always achieve the sums they say they will, and more upmarket rentals can sometimes be more expensive in terms of maintenance and pre-tenancy demands. Some agencies are also better suited to certain markets, so if you’re looking for a particular sort of tenant, like students or professionals, keep that in mind.
- Ask for a specific personal contact, and look to build a rapport with them. Agents are very busy people, and being shunted round the office can be a recipe for mistakes. You’re going to get the most efficient service from someone proactive who’s really familiar with you, your property and your tenants.
- Always check your paperwork. Mistakes happen, particularly at complicated times like when a tenant moves out early. Query unexplained sums, and if complex calculations have been done, get your calculator out and run them yourself. You might be surprised what you find. Always be polite, but don't be afraid to be gently assertive if you need to be.
- Look for a good relationship between agent and tenant. Don't get defensive when an agent attempts to ask you for things on your tenant's behalf. The best agents are the ones who can represent both landlords and tenants effectively, getting the right compromises at the right time to avoid unnecessary conflict.
- Ask questions. Part of what you’re paying for is access to the experience and knowledge of professionals who do this stuff every day. Time pressures and the impulse to keep things simple mean that an agent will usually carry out your requests without quibbling, but it's often worth asking what they'd do in your position.