5 Reasons We Use a Letting Agent To Manage Our Property
There are probably loads more than five reasons why we chose to use a managing agent, the most obvious being that back in the day we were new to this whole landlord thing and didn’t want our tenants ringing us at all hours saying “the tap is dripping” or “I locked myself out can you come and let me in”. In our naivety we chose the closest one to the property, who was also the cheapest in terms of managing fees. BIG mistake! So, over the past ten years we’ve used three managing agents, the latest for the past six years, so they must be doing something right! Apologies now for any choice language, but some of these reasons are based on bad experiences that still make me so narked!
So, our top 5 reasons are:
1. We don’t have to deal with tenants directly!
Whether they are intelligent and great fun, or scumbag numpties, we don’t have to listen to their gripes, get their middle of the night calls, or answer their questions about ANYTHING. We get to sit back and let the agent take the flack, whilst we wait for the rent to come in. Easy!
2. They offer a rent guarantee
Well, the ones we use do anyway and I’d thoroughly recommend it. We’ve been bitten three times – our first three tenants! – by tenants who think it’s ok to move into your property and not bother to pay you for the privilege. What planet do these people live on? We’ve had a single mum claiming housing benefit (who believed the first managing agent would pay her rent until her claim went through!) a City *cough* banker, and a retail manager – ok, he was the guy who managed the local kebab shop! – all think it was ok to just not bother to pay their rent. Yeah mate, if we wanted to be altruistic we’d contact Shelter and let them have the bloody flat and be done with it! Honestly, I just don’t get these people! Run back to your parents you sponging parasites! *and breathe*
So, my advice is to pay a little bit more on your fee and rest easy knowing that if your tenant tries to screw you over, you’ll get six months of rent and they’ll sort the eviction if you need it. Make sure you check the details of your guarantee – wouldn’t want you claiming I’d given you duff information!
3. They inspect the property regularly
I don’t know about you, but there is just something creepy about going around a property that you own, but don’t live in, and having a good old nosey at the state that it’s in. I really don’t want to see scum marks around the bath and anything nasty that might be waiting for me in the toilet bowl, or that burn on the kitchen worktop that they’re tried to hide with the clever use of the edge of the toaster and a strategically placed tea towel. Oh, and what exactly is that fist-sized hole in the wall that you seem to think I’ll assume is a piece of modern art?!? People can be pretty disgusting in the comfort of their own – or someone else’s! – property in my experience and quite frankly, I just don’t need to see it! I need the managing agent to witness the stuff of nightmares and sort it for us with the minimum fuss and, more importantly, cost. This brings me to reason number..
4. They deal with all trades people on our behalf
This one isn’t so bad, as I don’t mind a bit of phoning round and a barter over price. In fact, I’m pretty good at it. But we all know that when something goes wrong in our property it’s usually in the wee small hours, or at the weekend when you’re out with your family or mates. So if our tenants have a blown fuse, or a leaky bath, the window is stuck open/closed, or – most horrifically of all – the toilet is blocked with f*ck knows what and is threatening to overflow, it’s the poor bugger on call at the managing agent that gets their fun or sleep interrupted, not us! I may be a bit of a bitch, but it’s those toilet issues that make paying their managing fee just that little bit easier to handle ;o)
5. They source our tenants for us
Now I know that all letting agents do this, whether they are going on to manage the property or not, but now we have a good agent in place I really think this is definitely an advantage of using one to manage your property. Firstly, they get to know you and the property. They know the ordeal you’ve been through in the past with their less competent competitors – because let’s face it; you told them every grim and gory detail when you first met them, didn’t you? – so they know what you expect them to protect you from. They also know the type of tenants that you’d be happy with, and if you’ve got a rent guarantee you know they’ll pull out all the stops to make sure you don’t get a scumbag who’ll try and shaft you, because they don’t want the hassle either. They also don’t want to be dealing with trades’ people every five minutes, so they do their best to get you a tenant who isn’t likely to trash your property.
So there you have it, our top five reasons for using a managing agent. I think each one in its own right is reason enough to use one, but there are loads out there and finding a good one isn’t easy. Trust me, we know from bitter experience! You can use the Association of Residential Managing Agents website to find a member but, as always, I’d go with personal recommendation if you can. Good luck!