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Rants and Proverbs from a real life Buy To Let Landlord

I'm a jobbing landlord rolling with the punches and doing my best to manage my properties whilst balancing a busy portfolio of other interests.  I'm no legal eagle or property mogul but I am a qualified Town Planner & Surveyor & have had a life long interest in property.

Chris Horne, Buy To Let Landlord

A rant about letting agents

By Chris Horne on 08/09/2014 with comments

I'm going to start with my first blog as having a bit of a rant.  Ok a lot of rant!

It's about letting agents.  I won’t be the first landlord to do this but here it goes.

I've just put a 2 bedroom apartment on the market with what I thought was a quite respected local letting agent.  I've used their estate agent sister company which had just celebrated their 20th year in business.  There appears to be a world away from the service and quality of staff in the letting agent.

I don't know whether other landlords have found this.  My impression is that this letting agent were staffed by a load of naive school leavers.

Letting agent goes on the attack

My property has let well for 13 years.  It's in a good spot and unusually for an apartment it is not in a large block.  It has a large private front and rear garden, unusual for an apartment and has shared use of a garage.  This is particular attractive for tenants with a bike or some other equipment to store.

Having raised the question that the marketing of the property was not proceeding very effectively I receive a phone call from the manageress.  In a poorly handled conversation she accuses me of neglecting the property and it being in poor condition.  Yes the garden could do with a little bit of a trim, but the internal condition is good and clean. 

Given that there appears to be 4 staff looking after 13 properties to let at the time of writing you do wonder what this letting agent is doing to market the property.  Needless to say, despite the Managers protestations a five minute ad on the website Spareroom and I have managed to let the property not once but twice. 

A jaundiced view of letting agents

I have written in the past that generally letting agents are not good value for money when it comes to managing a landlords portfolio.  They cost between 10-18% of a landlord gross rent.  A lot to loose each month.  I have however found them useful to get a property on the big property portals like Rightmove and to then deliver the initial let. 

My recent experience has even cast doubt on this sentiment.  The moto for landlords seems do it yourself, that way you get it done properly.