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So are all Letting Agents the same?

Are we all the same?

Having recently moved jobs from another award winning Independent Estate Agency to Sewell and Gardner, I was wondering if another company, who pride themselves on “getting the right tenants for the right properties at the right prices” would compromise on the costs associated with renting.  I am pleased to announce that they do not.  Providing an outstanding customer service is still the main business goal for my new company Sewell & Gardner, and to do that they will not compromise on anything.

So what happens if you are looking for an agent to rent out your investment property or home?

With the current financial difficulties that surround us we have become a nation of bargain hunters using comparison companies when it comes to insuring our cars, changing credit cards etc, so its not to hard to imagine that if you wanted to trust an agent to look after your property (which, incidentally, is one of the biggest financial commitments of your life)  you may get a few opinions before deciding on who to use?

But what are you looking for when doing this?

Yes the man down the road running an agency from his spare bedroom will be informing you that all you need is a property portal (Rightmove, Primelocation, Zoopla etc) and the tenants will come flowing through your door and his fee will be much less than the competition in the High Street.

However, what happens about the after sales experience?

How will ‘Mr One Man Band’ manage your property when he is trying to rent the next property for the next landlord?

My recommendation would be to look at registered agencies as a preference to unregulated companies. Having your lettings company as a member of ARLA means that they have had to register there business to a third party and supply records on a quarterly basis to make sure they are running a tight ship which would surely be a benefit and take away the financial worries of what happens if the company disappears?

A greater draw to an agency would be if they were licensed with that body. This means they have taken exams and gained qualifications which means they are the best of the best.

How about having qualified staff?

Experience is a great tool but taking the time to gain the correct qualifications so you stand out from the crowd must count for much more.

Website presence is key and as much as people use the property portals to find their homes of the future they will also take the time to get to know the area and wonder into agencies based within the town centre. However having a website which attracts 5,000 of visitors a month as they offer local information, free advice and the ability to interact with the staff through our chat feature plus all of our properties means that we are not missing any opportunities.

What about when the property has found its new tenants?

Wouldn’t you prefer a professional management department to look after your home rather than a letting negotiator taking on another side of their already to busy job.

The way your property is marketed would be a key factor in deciding on who to use, the emergence of the world wide web means that everything is a click away, however having your property photographed by a professional, a floor plan showing every nook and cranny plus dimensions in an easy to follow format means that you will stand out from the crowd when tenants are looking for that future home.

Now if you take all of this and add it up as a tangible figure you are looking at thousands of pounds so is it really a surprise that an agency who offers all of these services would charge you for them?

Put it this way, the theory can be transferred to any other industry and people will accept it as the truth. For example if you went car shopping today would you not expect to pay more for a BMW than a SKODA (arguably they are both the same thing, four wheels, steering wheel and will take you to where you are going .) So how come they can charge more money for the same SERVICE and customers will pay it?

So can we really say we are all the same?                                                                          Jon Jackson-Bass, Branch Manager