Still a relatively new concept, many landlords are unsure about whether they should trust or use online letting agents. With more people using the web to find properties than ever before, this may seem like a no-brainer. However, these nerves are understandable because whether a landlord owns just one property or has amassed a large portfolio, rentals are expensive assets that require careful management. As such, a landlord needs an agent who is trustworthy, reputable and possesses specialist knowledge and expertise.
If you are a landlord considering moving from a traditional high street agent to an online letting agent and are unsure which choice is right for you, there here are some things for you to consider.
A perk to both landlords and tenants, an online agent often has longer opening hours. This is because unlike traditional agents who are only contactable during office hours, online agents often operate on a more flexible basis, and so can be reached outside of the 9-to-5 window. This can benefit both landlords and prospective tenants, by providing faster assistance and better communication. It could also help with tenant retention, as if any issues or repair problems arise, an online agent may be able to provide faster assistance.
Many traditional agents offer a standard letting package, which for a specified fee, will provide a set list of services. However, online agents are usually more flexible in their approach. This means landlords can choose which services they require, such as advertising the property, carrying out tenant checks, tenancy agreements, and repairs. This provides landlords with the option to be involved as little or as much as they would like while altering the level of service required to fit their budget.
Typically, fees from an online agent will be lower than that of a traditional estate agent. This is because online agents often hire remote employees, resulting in low overheads. This saving can then be passed directly onto their customers. As such, by using an online agent, a landlord may be able to achieve a higher yield from their properties, making their portfolio more profitable.
However, as a landlord, it is important to also consider tenancy fees. While you may stand to make a saving, if admin fees are high, it may be off-putting for tenants. This could result in a long vacancy period, putting landlords at a disadvantage. To avoid this, always look at the whole picture when it comes to cost by considering tenant fees.
Using an online letting agent can have its advantages and drawbacks. This means that deciding whether an online agent is a right choice is down to the individual circumstances and preferences of a landlord. For example, some landlords may prefer to forget estate agents altogether and manage their portfolio themselves.
To assess with option is best, take your time to consider how involved you would like to be, which services you require, and think about the needs and requirements of your potential tenants.