Choosing a reputable letting agent
by Sam Jaction
There are so many letting agents operating across the UK that it's very tricky to know which names you can trust and which you should steer away from. The majority will probably be trustworthy, reliable and hard-working agents; however as with any industry, there will always be the odd cowboy in operation. As such, it's important to educate yourself on the qualities to look out - be it the letting agents Surbiton boasts, or those found in Glasgow.
Here's a quick guide to determining the reputability of a property agent.
Is it regulated?
Any letting agent worth its salt will be regulated by at least one of the main industry bodies. These include the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), the Property Ombudsman (TPOS), the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveys (RICS) and the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS). Become familiar with each of their symbols and be sure to look out for them in the windows or sales literature of your chosen letting agent.
If you can't see any clear sign that they're registered with any of these bodies, don't be afraid to ask. This is your money you're putting on the line, so it isn't the time to be shy.
What sort of fees does it charge?
Admittedly, most of take price into consideration when making a purchasing. Whilst right to do so, it's also worth remembering that in some cases, you'll get what you pay for. If your letting agent is charging what seem to be extremely low fees, then be suspicious of how this will match up to their quality of service. Of course, you'll need to do some research on average fees first, to give you the knowledge needed to assess this properly.
Likewise, if the fees seem extortionate, take further action. Ask around previous clients and tenants, if you can get their details, as this will help you ascertain if the service is a) a rip-off or b) priced that way because it's of such a high quality. The latter is entirely possible, but you won't know unless you do the research.
What are the staff like?
If the staff obviously know their stuff and can prove they've earned the relevant industry qualifications (these are awarded by bodies like ARLA), then you can probably trust that they're great at their jobs. If they seem easily confused or are obviously stumped by basic questions, then you might want to consider what sort of service they'll subsequently provide.
Is the trading history long or short?
If your letting agency has a fairly short trading history (under 12 months or so) then it's probably worth digging a bit deeper into its background. With a well-known brand or agency that's been trading for years and years, you can usually have faith that their services are reputable; however the same can't always be said for new companies. Saying that, all companies have to start somewhere, so if you do come across an agency with a short trading history, ask to speak with some previous clients or tenants. If they say they've had a great, trustworthy service, then you can feel assured that the agency will do the same for you - if you give them a chance!
There are, as with most things, many other factors you should take into account when choosing a letting agency. Doing a quick search on the internet will provide you with a comprehensive list, but for now, these are some of the basic points to take into consideration.
About the author:
This article is written by Stephen Dedalus is a consultant of real estate, Property. For more information about letting agents Lewisham, please visit: Leaders.co.uk