More and more landlords are recognising the advantages of using a professional property management agent to look after their property, whether they are based overseas or in London. It’s a trend that’s definitely on the increase. In fact, the number of clients using our property management services over the last 12 months has increased by 21.4% across our 10 London offices.
Much of this has been from existing clients expanding their property portfolios by one or two units but several of our larger clients have dramatically added to their portfolios, with one client adding 14 new properties this year and another adding a further nine properties. We’re also continuing to see substantial numbers of new investors, particularly from overseas – one Far East client recently bought a portfolio of 17 units which we are letting and managing for him.
But if you’re new to buy-to-let, what should you look for in a property management agent? First, check how much experience the agent has. Ideally they should be a lettings specialist and a member of ARLA, The Property Ombudsman and The Dispute Service (which operates the Tenancy Deposit Scheme).
How does the property management agent come across? Are they calm, professional and likely to stay cool under pressure in stressful situations such as organising an emergency repair or chasing a late payment? And do check that they operate an emergency repair service to make sure your property is well maintained – it will keep your property in good condition and keep your tenants happy too.
The property management agent should have an office near your property so they are on hand to deal quickly deal with any issues. If you are based overseas, also make sure you choose a London property management agent that has an office in your part of the world. It will be much easier to talk to your agent if they have an office local to you so you avoid time zone delays and expensive international phone calls.
Also, ask to see copies of client testimonials – independent opinions are a great help. You’ll see several testimonials from happy clients on the Property Management pages of our website.
Finally, remember that the key to the success of any good managing agent is their property management team. It’s what sets a specialist letting agent apart from the many estate agents that operate a lettings business as a sideline but either don’t invest enough in this specialist area or actually outsource the work to a third party, leading to additional costs and third parties liaising with clients which can lead to problems.
A good agent will charge a fee of around 5% but most landlords would agree this is money well spent. After all, an investor looks for a good deal when buying a property but a successful investment relies not only on finding the right property and achieving a good rental, but also ensuring the property is managed efficiently, from property maintenance to credit control.
Some agents also do Block Management but again, this is a specialist area so do your homework before instructing an agent.
View all posts by Marc von Grundherr