Do landlords need letting agents? The short answer is that landlords don’t need to use the services of a letting agent. Many landlords decide to be hands-on and undertake the whole lettings process themselves.
I started investing in buy-to-let property 10 years ago and I was keen to learn and control the whole process myself. I was wary of entrusting others with what was ultimately my financial future, something no agent could possibly care about as much as me.
I appreciate other landlords may share a similar viewpoint, wanting to do all the work themselves. I am happy to point this type of person in the right direction, ensuring they approach the magnitude of letting a property in the right way. For example, I would strongly advise joining a landlord association, which goes a long way to providing you with the tools and documentation required to do the job, alongside keeping you updated on the latest legislation.
One major difficulty for today’s private landlord is finding the best tenants in the quickest time possible. Traditional classified adverts have largely made way for an increasingly online society, whereby tenants (particularly the better quality ones) are now using the property portals (e.g. Rightmove) and social media (e.g Facebook) to find their next home.
To help connect Chichester’s DIY landlords with tenants, I set-up a Facebook group called Chichester Property To Let, For Sale or Wanted, which is free for everyone to join and participate in (search for it on Facebook and click join). It allows landlords to post details and photos of their available properties and for tenants to post their requirements for property, in and around Chichester.
For many though, buy-to-let is seen as an investment rather than a second job. These landlords appreciate that a (good) letting agent is better equipped to take on the process as they often don’t have the time, knowledge or inclination to do the work themselves.
For these people, who often lack the hours required to conduct viewings, undertake thorough tenant referencing and keep on top of the admin involved in managing a rental property, whilst staying up-to-date with the ever-changing legislation, they may want to use a letting agent.
A competent letting agent who is diligent, pays attention to detail, treats each property as if it were their own, carries out a rigorous referencing process, makes their charges crystal clear from the outset and deals with maintenance issues quickly should be well worth the fee they charge to a landlord who simply doesn’t have the time or desire to take this on.