If you went to tesco’s and had to wait until you reached the checkout before knowing how much something cost, would you shop there? Would you trust tesco? Would you feel good about going back there? No No No?
Then why are so many landlords dealing with agents who are not transparent about their fee’s? They tell you a fee, but don’t tell you its exclusive of VAT, or that it doesn’t cover this that and that or that there is an additional fee if you want this, or that once that fee is paid there is also x y and z to pay. NO!
I get a real bee in my bonnet about lettings agents fee’s. You may have read my previous posts on hidden fee’s, price hiking, unfair fee’s and misleading fee’s.
I think my anger around fee’s stems from a basic human quality of honesty and trust. The way I work and the way I run my business is in a very open, upfront and honest way. I can do this because i’m a small independant. I manage less than 1000 properties and the book stops at me. I don’t have shareholders to please and pay, I don’t have a board to answer to and I do what I do because I’m a landlord, a business owner and an employer. I’m not a tycoon, I’m not a millionaire and I don’t wear a suit. But I do run a good agency that looks after my clients and their properties very well.
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.