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Calling all landlords who use a letting agency to manage their property...


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Im looking at setting up my own online agency myself and wanted to gain some pain points that landlords usually have. What are the top three most frustrating things you find when working with a letting agency to manage your property/s? For example, they're not transparent with a number of hidden fees. Other examples would be deeply appreciated. 

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Hi. You might get more replies if you explain why you’re asking. 

I self manage so can’t help but suggest slow payment of rent, mark up on maintenance charges, not looking after tenants, charging low rents, renting to low lifes. 

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1) mark up on charges is a no brainer. Based on how busy I am, I would often just get my own contractors to do the job. 
 

2) delays in communications - any reasonably sized agency has a call centre to deal with tenants for management issues. Especially in current scenario that leafs to hours and maybe days between Messages to and fro. 
 

3) change in staff - possibly linked to (2) above, there is a relatively high churn in staff   So even if you've found a decent enough dedicated property manager dealing with your properties, Chances are they’ll move on in 6 months or earlier, leaving you to deal with a fresher. Besides that frustration, you often loose a history of dealings thats not captured in any system. 
 

hope that helps. 

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Thank you both for sharing these insights, super interesting. Craig - The reason for asking this question is because Im looking at setting up my own online agency myself and wanted to gain some pain points that landlords usually receive. Any other insights would be deeply appreciated. 

 

 

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When it comes to agency fees there is no standard template like when comparing mortgage offers and you have to read carefully as different agents can charge for different things which can make it hard to compare different offers. It's always going to be a trade off between managing yourself and having an agent. The communication is better when you do it yourself but then you get the hassle including late night calls and messages. Agents will have more properties on their books and have to manage their time efficiently. Some do it better than others.

Fee wise remember about the tenant fee ban. There is less and less the agents can charge for and they have to live. It was natural that landlords were going to absorb more costs after the tenant fee ban. The government isn't making it easy for landlords.

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I currently use two local only agents and one national chain (came with house with existing tenant) and am just about to let a new property with an online only agent.

The local ones are great - staff turnover is low; they know the area and can help with the property and one in particular has been basically a sourcer for further properties. One of them has a pretty good online system, the other is still emails with attachments but both systems work because of the people.

The national chain has a local office that is both sales and lettings. When I first bought the property, I tried to build a relationship with the letting manager to say I was interested in similar properties in the area that they would take on as manager. Within a month, he'd moved to another branch. Started contacting the new lettings manager. Couple of months later, she'd left and someone new again. What's been more of a problem has become evident over the last few months. Although they've got a local office, the management is done by someone at the other end of the country. I've then agreed something with them only for the local manager to discuss something different with the tenant. The accounts department is somewhere else, so they started chasing the tenant for late payment despite me agreeing with the remote manager that they could have a holiday. For 14% incl VAT, useless.

I'm trying an online only agent for the next one, as it's not local to the agents I like and they were a lot cheaper. So far, not impressed. It's clear there's no one local and no one knows the area. I suspect viewings are done by Viewber or similar, so no idea what the prospective tenants really think and if anyone is answering any questions. Whilst they have fancy property management systems, my property has still not been added, I suspect as they don't have enough staff to keep costs down. I'm also having to constantly chase to find out what's happening and suspect if I stop chasing, they'll ignore it. I'll see what it's like once the tenant is in, but currently wouldn't use them again.

So from my experience with 4 agents, find a good local one and use them, they're worth every penny.

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The reason I now manage myself is because my previous managing agent just passed on problems to me with an unhelpful delay. In my opinion a managing agent should come up with solutions and not just pass on problems. 

National chains do have more of a corporate mentality that really puts me off. They can be inflexible because of this and desire ever greater profit margins because head office has increased their targets. 

If you offer a genuine, honest, flexible service, backed up with local knowledge you'll be onto a winner.

If you are a landlord yourself then this is a real bonus as you can see the landlord's side of things. This will give you a boost over the national chains who's staff have never experienced being landlords.

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