5 Killer Questions to Choose a Letting Agent

by Mark Crampton Smith

4 years ago

5 Killer Questions to Choose a Letting Agent

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5 Killer Questions to Choose a Letting Agent

I am keen to hone the “Killer Questions” that we can advise landlords to ask when choosing a Letting Agent. I have five as a starter, but if any of you have others that you would rate in the top five please let me know!! 5 Killer Questions to Choose a Letting Agent

  1. What is your average void period across your managed portfolio? And you non-managed?
  2. What stock do you have available to let as an average, and how many lettings negotiators do you have to let them?
  3. What percentage of tenants deposit do you return as an average across the last year? And what is the biggest area of contention?
  4. How many clients have you lost to a competitor over the last 12 months, and what was the principal reason for their defection?
  5. Why should I instruct you rather than any other letting agent in this area?

I would be very keen to hear from landlords, or others, to improve my list ….. thanks!



Comments

Mark Alexander

4 years ago

My additional questions would be .......

6) What fees will you be charging to my tenants over and above what you charge to me?

7) What professional qualifications do you have and how long have you had them for?

8) Can I see copies of your Professional Indemnity and Client Money protection policies please?

9) How long I am tied into working with you for and how much will it cost me to break our contract if I no longer want you to be my agent but want to retain my tenant?

10) What are your procedures for dealing with rent arrears and RGI claims?

11) Do you take commission from contractors employed to work on my properties and/or do you load additional fees onto their charges or charge me extra to deal with maintenance issues?

12) How do you feel about the feedback and ratings (or lack of them) regarding your agency on http://www.allagents.co.uk/

13) Are you a landlord yourself and if so what percentage of your entire letting agency portfolio represents your own properties. Along the same lines, if you do manage your own properties how do I know you are not biased to fill them first and if you don't own any of your own properties, how can you truly understand the mindset of a landlord?
.

Ian Ringrose

4 years ago

Does the person that instructs trades people have a real interest in the practical side of how building repairs are done? Are they willing and able to explain to tenants how to do basic jobs like bleeding radiators?

How much does you GasSafe and Boiler server cost? I have found that some agents are £50 more than others with this, it will also help gage how well they control trades people.

Are you planning to expand your company or set yourself up as a franchisor, if so how do I know you will still care about me as a landlord with only 1 or 2 properties with you?

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "06/08/2014 - 18:16":

Thanks Mark...... Some very strategic questions here!

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Ringrose" at "06/08/2014 - 18:54":

Thanks Ian, I quite agree that the skill sets of property managers are critical to an agents ability to best look after their clients property asset.

Shakeel Ahmad

4 years ago

What are the commission charges to be paid by the landlord. if the tenants wishes to renew the contract after year one, year two etc.

If there are no commission charges to the Landlord are there other charges such as a fresh contract.

Jill Lucas

4 years ago

All the above mentioned points are very valid. In addition to the basic selection criteria I have found that the smaller agencies can provide a much more personal one-to-one service and often provide excellent communication at every stage of the process - and will call you even when its bad news. The best agents will ensure they select the right tenant(s) for the right property and will not just be driven by commission which sometimes means that you get a square peg tenant in a round hole, which is costly for you! The back office is v important i.e. the maintenance team if you have a managed property. You need to make a short list, interview them and then 'test market' their service. You need to be in control and in the driving seat. It is always important that you keep a check on your property(ies) wherever you live!

Reply to the comment left by "Jill Lucas" at "06/08/2014 - 21:36":

Jill, I completely agree with you "right tenants for the right property" but what question(s) might one ask to establish if the agent shares the imperative? Perhaps "Are your negotiators on commission? and how is that awarded? Thanks for your help!

Reply to the comment left by "shakeel ahmad" at "06/08/2014 - 21:17":

Great question Shakeel.....I completely agree that there should not be charges for a renewal for either party................If the agent is properly representing the interests of their client, why would they charge for an extension to a successful agreement. Of course if there is a rent increase to be negotiated, and a new agreement needed there may be a small charge?

Fred Jones

4 years ago

How poor some people think when it comes to what a letting agent should do or be: For me an agent should act professionally, charge as little as possible but be allowed to make a profit.
So far, I see questions that are not in the slightest relevant to what should be expected.
1. What is your average void period across your managed portfolio? And you non-managed? (As long as your property does not have void periods, what does it matter? Some landlords have great properties, some have not so good properties. Whose fault is that? - not the agents.)
2. What stock do you have available to let as an average, and how many lettings negotiators do you have to let them? (How does this apply to a small family agent with all their properties let out, or a group agency with 20 or 30 properties still on the market?)
3. What percentage of tenants deposit do you return as an average across the last year? And what is the biggest area of contention? (I can see why you may ask this one, but again I think this is only relevant if the agent is scamming the tenant.)
4. How many clients have you lost to a competitor over the last 12 months, and what was the principal reason for their defection? (What agent should have to answer this & do you really expect them to answer it?)
5. Why should I instruct you rather than any other letting agent in this area? (I guess that would come down to every good question you failed to ask).
Also Marks question of what professional qualifications! (There are lots of companies out there who do an excellent job and don’t have any professional qualifications in the industry, some who have been trading for many years. There are also many NAEA/ARLA etc. agents who have been found to be dis-honest & fraudulent! Professional qualifications stand for nothing without trustworthiness. )
Feedback on allagents.co.uk is only relevant if you are a registered agent with them.

Mark Alexander

4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Fred Jones" at "06/08/2014 - 23:10":

Hi Fred

I might agree with some of those points.

So having taken away from the list, what constructive questions would you add. You have said that you would want an agent to act professionally but how do you measure that and what questions would you ask?
.

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