17:25 PM, 9th December 2011, About 10 years ago 1
Landlords can take the strain out of comparing letting agents to find the best deal with a new online service.
The site lets landlords list details of their property for free – and invites local letting firms to pitch their deal against the clock.
The owners of iPostcode reckon the site gives landlords the chance to pick the best deal by comparing contracts, commission, fees and marketing.
The site is simple to use – landlords can enter brief property information, like preferred rent, property type, a description and the address. They can then sit back and wait for offers from letting agents.
“Agents can be too guarded about how much they charge. We want to lift the lid on estate agency fees and make the process more competitive, encouraging them to pitch upfront for the business,” said co-founder Domenic Versace.
The site has some drawbacks – traffic is still low, which means few letting agents are registered.
Even if traffic increases, letting agents outside major cities still have the problem of lack of competition in their area.
Similar ‘bid for work’ sites for other business sectors are successful – from global freelance sites to those offering work to local builders.
One enhancement would be to add a ‘rate my agent’ section.
“This mechanism brings transparency and competition when it comes to estate agency fees, finding the best deal for the user,” says the site.
The site also offers a similar free service for homeowners selling property.
The site launch comes in the wake of recent research by the Resolution Foundation that urges the government to regulate letting agents accused of charging rip-off fees to tenants.
Mystery shoppers found only two letting agents visited in London, Manchester and Gloucester advertised letting costs online and the range and cost of fees varied ‘significantly’ between firms.
Fees for arranging a tenancy ranged from £95 to £375.
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