One of the attractions of property as an investment is that it apparently “looks after itself”. In an ideal world, the tenant pays the rent, the rent covers the mortgage, and you the landlord need not be especially involved apart from banking the difference.
If only the reality were so simple. Unlike stocks and shares, property usually requires a hands-on approach if it is to deliver a sustainable return on investment. This includes:
- Establishing a good relationship with your tenants, based on mutual respect. This enables issues and potential void periods to be anticipated and eliminated well in advance.
- A working knowledge of property issues including building, maintenance, insurance, legislation, and health and safety.
- Proper systems and controls in respect of deposit holding and rent handling.
- Relationships with a number of tried, trusted, reliable and cost-effective tradespeople.
- Ongoing access to a large database other pre-screened tenants, again eliminating void periods between tenancies.
In our view, too many letting agents claim to offer a management service, yet some seem to be based on the expectation that they can sit back and hope nothing goes wrong.
We believe it’s a matter of accountability. And accountability cannot be shared. This is why when you deal with one of our agents at the outset, you’ll have them on your side throughout the duration of your relationship with us. They know and are known by landlord and tenant alike, and their role is to personally ensure that each of our managed properties gets the attention it deserves. One of their guiding principles is to treat a client’s property as if it were their own! Indeed, some of our agents are landlords themselves, and have particular empathy with the hopes, aspirations and frustrations of the reality of being a successful landlord.
So when you’re choosing a letting agent, make sure they are fully accountable and on your side from day one (and day 365!)
Neil Newstead, FARLA MNAEA MIRPM
CEO – Oakfield Estate Agents