Find Our How To Get The Best Letting Agent In Edinburgh
There are over 200 letting agents operating in Edinburgh, each offering their own take on lettings and property management, making it challenging for new landlords to narrow down their search and choose the letting agent that is the best match for them and their property. We have put together our top tips for new landlords when choosing an Edinburgh letting agent.
1. Decide on the level of service required
The first thing to decide is what level of service you need from your letting agent; not all agents provide all levels of service, so this will determine what agents you want to contact and arrange to meet.
The level of service required depends mostly on the time and knowledge that you have to dedicate to being a landlord; your physical proximity to the property is also important. Some landlords are happy to manage a tenancy themselves and have the time and resources required to do this, so for them a let only service – where the agent finds the tenants and draws up the paperwork – works well. Others may prefer to have an agent who handles everything for them – including all dealings with the tenants and maintenance issues – and so will opt for a fully managed service.
What is included in each service will vary from letting agent to letting agent, so if a certain issue – photographic inspections, for example – is important to you, be sure to check that it is included. Most letting agents will outline their services on their website.
2. Look for a local property expert
As organisations move online, it can be easy to forget the value of using a local company. When it comes to letting agents, you can’t beat the service provided by a local agent who truly knows the area inside out.
In order to get the best possible service, try to find a letting agent who specialises in the area where your property is located. An agent who knows the area well will most likely already have let many similar properties, even in the same street, so will be able to provide an accurate rental valuation and set realistic expectations for the level of interest you will receive.
3. Assess how and where existing properties are listed
When you are creating a shortlist of letting agents to meet, be sure to check how well, and where, their current properties are listed online.
The property listing is the first impression of the property your new tenants will have, and all they will have to go on when deciding whether or not to book a viewing, so it is important to stand out from the crowd (for the right reasons). Marketing photographs are crucial to securing viewings for your property. Have a look at each agents photographs to check that they show off the property well.
Where the property is listed is also important. Listing on property portals is expensive for letting agents, so many agents choose to list on some portals but not others, to keep monthly costs down. The issue with this is that applicants tend to choose one site to check regularly, to avoid scrolling through duplicate adverts, meaning that a large pool of applicants may miss your property completely if it is not on the site that they use most. The main property portals for tenants in Edinburgh are: Rightmove, Zoopla, CityLets, S1 Homes, PrimeLocation and LettingWeb – Clan Gordon properties are advertised on all of these sites.
4. Do your own research on property valuation
It is a good idea to have a look online for any properties similar to yours that are currently on the market or have been listed recently. This will give you an idea of what you can expect to achieve in terms of monthly rental income.
Some letting agents may be tempted to inflate the rental valuation during the initial meeting to give them a higher chance of winning your business, which can potentially result in long void periods and having to lower the price once the property is advertised. If you already have a realistic idea of what to expect it is less likely that you will be swayed by overpromising.
Remember that the best tenants, who will stay long term and look after your property, are not always the ones who are able to pay the highest price. Marketing your property at a realistic monthly amount will give you the largest pool of applicants to choose from. A good letting agent will advise you on this, rather than pushing for the highest monthly rental.
5. Check online reviews
Almost every company, including letting agents, now have online reviews allowing you to find out more about the company from the experiences of real clients. Google reviews are a good place to start as a company cannot edit reviews.
Whilst it is important to remember that even the best agents may have some negative reviews – it is sometimes impossible to keep every landlord and tenant happy – if there are several negative reviews, from both landlords and tenants, then it may be worth reconsidering proceeding with that particular agent.
Alternatively, a personal recommendation can be the most reliable form of endorsement. If you have friends or acquaintances who are landlords, ask them if they are happy with their letting agent. Find out what they like or dislike about the service that they receive and decide if it matches up with what you are looking for.
6. Request a copy of the agency agreement
As a landlord, you will enter into a contractual agreement with your letting agent, in much the same way your tenants do with you. An agent will have an agency agreement for you to sign when you become a client, detailing the way in which you will work together. You can request to read through a copy of this document before becoming a client.
Aspects of the agency agreement to check to ensure that you are happy with include:
- Initial tie in – how long you are contracted to stay with the agent. This can vary considerably from agent to agent so worth checking, 3 months is generally considered to be acceptable.
- Hidden costs – agents should always make you aware of all of the costs that you will incur, but this is not always the case.
7. Ask how maintenance is dealt with
Even the best maintained properties require maintenance from time to time, and this can cause issues for tenants if not dealt with quickly and effectively. As a landlord it is important that you trust your letting agent to deal with any maintenance issues on your behalf.
Some landlords are happy for letting agents to deal with all maintenance issues, and some prefer to have a level of control over repairs and spending; ensure that you are comfortable with the way that the agent works.
Find out how often maintenance inspections will be carried out, and how you will be informed of any works required. At Clan Gordon, we carry out 6 monthly inspections and send the landlord a photographic inspection report after each, even where there are no issues to report, to keep the landlord fully updated on the property.