We get it. Whether you’re managing a single property or handling a whole portfolio, buy-to-let is a business, and questioning your outgoings is an essential element of any successful venture.
Outgoings, however, are not always created equal: some you need, some you don’t, and in today’s article, we’re going to be arguing the case for letting agents falling into the first camp rather than the second.
Let’s get started!
Your business is our business
This is one of those points that is blindingly obvious when it’s pointed out to you, but one that can easily slip by if no thought is given to it: as letting agents, we’re only successful if you are.
As you’ll see in subsequent points, this can manifest in many different ways, but the important thing to remember is that we’re part of the same team - we’ll fight your corner and do everything within our power to make your property business a roaring success.
Specialists in our field
A good analogy here is that of your car’s annual service...how many of us go to the trouble of changing the oil and checking the air filters ourselves these days? Not many. Things have moved on in the world of motoring, and expensive tools and equipment are required for what would be an infrequent job for most people.
The world of lettings is similar, but the asset in question is far more valuable than the average four door saloon! We have access to software and portals that most landlords can only dream of, all of which are designed to help our clients achieve their property goals.
If you want to go further, how many people choose to sell their home themselves without the help of a solicitor? Again, not many. The legal complexities involved with selling a property make it difficult to get right without the help of a professional, and lettings are no different.
Having a letting agent help with the minutiae ensures that your rental will be compliant in every area. This is no small thing, especially when you consider that it could result in something as drastic as not being able to legally evict a tenant if the documentation isn’t prepared correctly (more on this below).
It’s also important to remember that we are, after all, talking about an investment that is a minimum of six figures these days...why take the risk in such an ever-changing field if you’re not an expert yourself?
We’re property specialists with all the tools and know-how at our disposal. Yes, we charge for our service, but the price of getting things wrong could be a whole lot heftier if you choose to go down the route of self-management.
Knowing the local market is vitally important if you want to get the most from your investment. Our local knowledge helps landlords find the Goldilocks sweet spot every time: rental value that is neither too high or too low, but just right.
Trying to do this yourself leaves things to chance. Sure, the market is more transparent than it may have been in the past, but you’ll still be guessing...and that can be costly. Price your property too high and you could be left with an empty investment for months on end, go too low and you’re leaving money on the table.
It’s a delicate balance to strike, but it becomes second nature when you’ve been operating in the same area for well over a century, as we have here at Petty’s.
Shorter void periods
Guaranteeing you’ll never ever incur a void period is foolish and should raise red flags if an agent makes such promises. Shortening the length of time your investment stays empty, however, is well within the scope of a reputable letting agent and they will certainly have the tools at their disposal to beat self-managers at this task in the vast majority of instances.
A reputable and established letting agent will have a far broader reach than an individual landlord. Marketing efforts that range from huge property portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla, and OnTheMarket through to more bespoke efforts like our popular magazine, The Green, mean that your investment will be in front of infinitely more eyeballs than you could possibly achieve if you decided to go it alone.
Greater exposure equals higher interest, which means you’ll have a broader pool of prospective tenants to choose from and your property will probably be filled far quicker than if you choose to market it yourself.
Another consequence of greater reach in the marketplace is that you’re likely to achieve higher rent with an agent than if you were to go it alone. Along with being correctly priced in the first instance, there’s also an element of supply and demand at play here.
The more people you have interested in becoming tenants, the greater the likelihood of filling your rental with those willing to pay at the higher end of the market.
We’ll deal with disputes
Unless you’ve had experience with such situations in the past, dealing with tenants can be tricky...especially when it comes to any disputes that may arise. Employing a letting agent to look after your investment provides you with a handy buffer between you and those paying the rent.
A good letting agent will be the middleman who’ll handle delicate situations for you and keep your best interests at heart. This is now more important than ever and many landlords find this factor alone to be worthy of the fees agents charge.
In case you hadn’t noticed, the landscape is changing for landlords at a rapid rate and one such area where many landlords are falling foul is the eviction process. No landlord takes pleasure in pursuing this action, but in some instances it’s a necessary evil that has to be dealt with...but it is fraught with danger.
Section 21 and Section 8 notices aren’t the easiest things to get right. Courts are currently inundated with cases where landlords have gone through the process incorrectly, thus leaving judges with no other option but to deny eviction.
This could be devastating for your business, but it is easily mitigated if you have a fully accredited letting agent like Petty’s on your side. We’ll ensure compliance at every stage, which means peace of mind for you.
You can leave other legalities to us, too
As members of governing bodies such as ARLA Propertymark, SAFEagent, and The National Approved Letting Scheme, we’re always on top of even the smallest changes in legislation.
While some of these changes may seem inconsequential at first glance, they are all of vital importance, so it’s essential landlords stay on top of each and every one. This can prove to be difficult when you’re handling all the other day-to-day issues associated with lettings, and more and more landlords are coming back to us for this very reason.
Missing just one change in the law can land property investors with hefty fines (or worse), and in today’s constantly evolving lettings environment it’s incredibly easy for mistakes to be made by landlords who are juggling everything else as well.
Cover, cover, cover…
Talking of mistakes, we all know they happen from time to time, but the difference between making them yourself or an agent who has full cover making them is ‘night and day’.
If you employ a reputable letting agent to manage your property, you’ll know that they are covered by professional indemnity insurance should the worst happen...and that cover means your business is covered as well.
Our final argument for letting agents is one that ties all of the above together: having us handle your rental is far less stressful than managing it yourself. Going from self-management to full management is like someone taking a burden from your shoulders, especially in today’s lettings market.
So, if you’re fed up with being fed up, give us a call. We’ll take care of everything for you, from finding great tenants to collecting your rent each month, allowing you to breath and enjoy the good parts of being a landlord...without the hassles.