Brave Would-be Landlords Turn Their Back on Letting Agents

by : Elisha Burberry

The buy-to-let market has grown exponentially over the last 15 years; so, it's entirely understandable with so many stories circulating of people making a small fortune through renting that many people are becoming attracted to the thought of becoming a buy-to-let landlord.

Of those, most considering becoming a landlord will not just dive straight in but do a fair bit of research before they enter the market. One thing that they will quickly discover is that although letting agents can help get their property occupied, they can also take a substantial amount of the monthly rents.

With the average letting agent charging anywhere from 10 to 20 per cent of the rental income as fees, plus additional administrative charges too, it is all too easy to see how any potential profit for a would-be landlord could be severely reduced or even wiped out altogether.

In addition, some lettings agents add to landlord's costs by employing tactics such as holding on to tenants' rents for a couple of months before transferring to the property owner. Additionally, many agents run their own property maintenance teams that seem to carry out an excessive amount of 'regular maintenance' which is then added to their fees, also increasing landlords' costs.

As a result many landlords are choosing to undertake their own letting arrangements. That works especially for those who only have one or two properties to rent out, and who can handle the time consuming management issues themselves. Alternatively, some landlords may enlist the help of a letting agent to attract a tenant, but once they are installed handle the on-going relationship and management of the property themselves.

To let property without the help of an agent, a landlord will have to advertise the property, show potential viewers around, vet tenant's suitability and take up references. Once, the tenant is installed the landlord should be prepared to attend or arrange cover for emergencies at the property such as plumbing problems. However, as time-consuming as all that sounds, many landlords are choosing to do it for themselves.

The sheer cost of letting agents is the reason why so many are opting to go it alone, and there are plenty of places for landlords to advertise properties: newspaper classifieds, shop windows or online. There is a big demand for let property and many would-be landlords that price their property competitively should be able to rent it out easily.

Those brave landlords will only turn to a letting agent as a last resort, for example if they struggle to fill their property; when reduced rental income is preferable to no income!