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- July 2, 2022
Letting agents typically charge fees to tenants and landlords who enter into a letting arrangement. Reasons behind these charges include administration costs to cover phone calls, emails, letters and other documents that need to be sent out before the tenant enters into an agreement with any agency. Other reasons include general wear-and-tear on properties caused by tenants over the course of their tenancies (i.e., stains in carpet) not covered by normal cleaning processes. Reference checks undertaken by agents may also cost tenants money if they fail them, as is often the case for students who have recently graduated from college or university.
The current fees charged by letting agencies in England and Wales can vary greatly. Currently, fees are often based on the number of tenants who will be living in the property (i.e., if there is one tenant or multiple). More people mean more administrative work for the agent, and thus a higher fee. According to the UK-based charity Citizens Advice, fees charged by letting agencies range from £0 – £700, with most charging around £200 – £300. In 2012, Citizens Advice surveyed Britain’s top estate agents and found that nearly every one of them charges fees for administration, referencing, credit checks, guarantors, etc.
The number of landlords choosing to manage their own properties and NOT using a letting agent is on the rise. In 2010, only around 25% reported going this route; however, reports now show over 50 percent have chosen it as an option for upcoming vacancies in 2011- 2022 with one recent survey showing 60%. It’s a problem that many landlords believe they can “self-manage,” when in fact it requires an understanding of at least 50 key pieces legislation (out of 170 covering property letting). They don’t know what they are missing out on or how to stay compliant and safe without prosecution fines or banning orders.
As an alternative, many landlords now use online letting agents, who carry out all their work at the click of a button. It is not only much cheaper but it requires less effort or time on their part. They are able to manage everything from their laptop, tablet or smartphone whether they are out and about looking for properties to buy, away on holiday or even in bed.
It can be quick and easy, with no need to send emails back and forth or sit on hold on the telephone. It is also more cost effective as it saves both time and money.
Online letting agents may lack the convenience of being able to walk into your local branch, but they offer great customer service and are usually available at all hours. Some even have live chat features so you can get answers from them when that’s most convenient for you! It’s less personal than speaking face-to-face, but online options in general work better if landlords need quick responses or questions answered quickly without having any downtime between messages passing back and forth over email or SMS messages.
With the better availability, online agents will also let you go to more people. You can show your property to a client who lives in a different city or country while you’re at home and they are still available to get back to them quickly over email. This can be especially useful for better deals from foreign landlords.
Online letting agents can make use of data analytics tools to draw conclusions about the local market and offer links to helpful facts and figures that landlords might find useful, as well as price comparisons to help guide your decision. With the internet as a tool, online letting agents are at the forefront of marketing. They’re digital first and often channel more funds into online promotion than their high-street counterparts; these folk know how best reach renters through social media or other platforms–and getting your property seen is crucial for finding good tenants! Online agents are digital first and usually channel more funds into online promotion than their high street counterparts. They may not have a storefront to catch renters’ attention in the street, but they’re experts at reaching potential homeowners through the internet – both on their own site as well as others’. With all this competition for your property dollars these days it pays out handsomely if you can get an agent who specializes specifically with attracting customers via mobile devices or social media platforms such has Facebook ads.
Online agents offers a 360-degree video or allow you to watch a live video tour of the property and at the same time; they give you all of the facts and figures about what makes each property special in their own way. This gives interested buyers and viewers the opportunity to watch a house from all angles, inside and out. Online is transparent and if there’s something that needs to be seen or explained, photos taken on a smartphone can be used immediately online to highlight any problems or features within each room. With online viewing, there’s no chance of you having to abandon your plans for the day because an estate agent has arranged an appointment at a time convenient for them, not you.
Online letting agents allow you to create your own ad and promote the property. You’ll be able find a tenant before giving back control of these responsibilities but some also offer management services for an additional fee which include repairs, referencing inventories etc., while delegating all administrative tasks using advanced software technology.
New wave property management services also allow landlords to save on estate agency fees when compared to the traditional way of arranging property rentals. Landlords are still able to retain control over their properties in cases where they might wish to increase rents without having to go through the stress of finding tenants at short notice. As well as this, these service providers also allow landlords to have access to better tenants who are more likely to be suitable through the use of referencing.
Most landlords are businesses. Businesses will always want to cut costs where they can, because the cheaper it is to do business, the cheaper they can charge customers for their products. So if landlords are able to save money by using cheaper letting agents, then that cost gets passed on down to tenants in cheaper rent . Online letting agents have fewer overheads and can advertise more properties, meaning they are able to afford better rates. They are also more flexible, meaning they can better accommodate different budgets and requirements. Online agents can better establish how much each property is truly worth and what the market will bare before suggesting a higher price to secure a viewing – this means better value for money for tenants.