As an independent agent, I’m very lucky to not be bound by big company practises and habits. I get to forge my own path and I get to sleep well at night knowing that my business runs in an open, upfront and ethical manner.
It’s disappointing that over the years the sneaky practice of charging an additional commission to contractors for passing work their way has become the norm. This is not only penalising all the sole traders and small businesses who rely upon agents for their livelihood, but it is also being wholly dishonest to those who have placed trust in their business, their clients- the landlords!
Property Eye ran an article related to the current news about Foxtons, it states that agents could be adding from 5%-20% on top of their contractors bills and passing these price hikes back to their landlords.
Having run an agency for the best part of 20 years, I can see how it would, in the short term boost revenue for the agency. But taking a long term view and thinking like a business partner towards my clients, I wouldn’t want to work with someone who was being underhanded and would not place my trust in a business that was not being upfront and honest with me.
It could be because I’m northern, or because I’m working class or because I’m a landlord myself, but I believe anyone acting on behalf of your property should have your best interests in mind, and not the health of their bank balance. I don’t want to be ripped off and I want to be able to trust that my agent is working for me and not for themselves and their shareholders.
When selecting an agent in future Ask The Right Questions. You can’t compare agents on just their management fee’s (truth be told you can’t compare on just cost but that’s another post for another day), One agent may charge 15% the next 16% – whos the better agent? Nobody knows! Who’s offering the best value for money? Again, nobody knows; ask:
What do they charge for drawing up a tenancy agreement? What is their letting fee? What are the costs for an inventory? What do they charge for a gas safety certificate? What do they charge for an EPC certificate? What would they charge you to change a lightbulb? What would be the expected costs over the course of your entire first tenancy?
Don’t be afraid to ask the questions, do your due diligence and stop letting the big agents rip you off.
We publish all of our fee’s so nobody is left in the dark and nobody is left wondering about charges.
I’m Mike Brown, the owner and managing director of Brentwood Lettings. I am a landlord, a property developer and generally someone who knows a thing or two about letting properties. I can always make myself available for a chat, feel free to call my office 0161 681 3724