Are you prepared to go it alone, or could you benefit from a property management service?
Any quick Google search can throw up dozens of stories of rogue lettings agents with sky high and spurious fees, so if you’re new to the buy-to-let market (or one of the many ‘accidental landlords’) you could be forgiven for deciding to avoid the lot of us and manage your property yourself!
At The Better Letter we provide online DIY facilities for self-managing landlords who feel confident and knowledgeable enough to find their own tenants and manage their own properties – as well as a full lettings and management service for those who prefer to leave it to the experts.
But before you make any decisions that will affect the value of the largest investment you will probably ever make, here’s some questions you should ask yourself before you make your choice:
1. How close do I live to my rental property?
Are you happy to conduct viewings, deal with prospective and current tenants and then be available for questions, problems and inspections over the coming months and years? Can you pop round if your tenants call with a maintenance problem?
Many landlords – particularly the rising group of ‘accidental landlords’, letting properties when they’ve had to move for personal reasons – live at a considerable distance from their properties and find it more convenient for a lettings agency to manage for this reason.
2. Am I a ‘people person’?
And that’s not the same as being good value at parties!
Vetting tenants, as I discussed in a previous post, requires not just standard credit and reference checks, but also a good feel for people. Do you feel that you would be good at picking up on the subtle clues that a prospective tenant may not be reliable, or may not keep your home in a good condition?
And would you be good at maintaining a professional distance if your tenant comes month after month with different reasons for not paying the rent in full? Or causes a nuisance to your neighbours?
3. Am I ready to run this as a business?
Because essentially, that’s what a buy-to-let (or consent to lease) property is. If you are going to let and/or manage the property yourself without the support of an experienced lettings agent, then you must be prepared for the full responsibilities of that job.
You’re probably prepared to meet and vet prospective tenants, but what about after they move in? If they fall behind on the rent, do you have professional assistance lined up? Have you read up on all your legal responsibilities? Will you deal with maintenance issues on an ‘as and when’ basis, or would you feel more comfortable contracting a property maintenance company to be on call? If worst comes to worst and you have a problem tenant, are you prepared to go through the necessary legal process of eviction?
At The Better Letter, we have full access to credit control, legal and maintenance services. We can deal with the less pleasant aspects of letting, as well as helping you get the most out of the upside.
But if after reading all this you still feel fired up about the prospect of managing your own property, find out how we can empower you with our online services, giving you great deals on everything from advertising with Rightmove to credit and inventory checks, to registering with the Deposit Protection Scheme.
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