By all means use a virtual lettings agent – but be aware of the pitfalls first

Posted by: Lucy Dawe | Post date: 03.05.17

“Advertise your property online and it’ll be cheaper than going through a letting agent.”

Adverts like this are slowly creeping into the media and no doubt sound very appealing to some landlords – but cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean better.

The letting industry is in the spotlight at the moment as ARLA-regulated agents are pushing hard to get the industry regulated. We’re trying to rid the industry of cowboy agents who have no qualifications in lettings or property management and lack the experience needed to guide landlords and tenants through the process.

Letting a property requires a professional person with experience and qualifications in lettings. This means being able to secure the landlord the best possible tenant – and ultimately a responsible landlord who understands everything letting a property entails – all within the remit of the Housing Acts and current legislation.

A virtual letting agent won’t have met a prospective applicant; all they will know are answers to pre-prepared questions asked over the phone. Then they’ll encourage the landlord to show them round their own property. They won’t take the time to get to know the applicant or make sure they’re the right type of tenant, not only for the landlord but for the particular property on offer.

There is something to be said for “You get what you pay for” and by using an ARLA-regulated letting agent, landlords are guaranteed not only to have an industry professional in charge of letting their property but they’ll have someone with experience – and something no virtual agent will ever have or be able to offer: face to face contact.

As a landlord, your investment is worth not only thousands of pounds to you but more often than not, you’ll have invested time and effort into making it an attractive home for someone. By allowing a virtual letting agent to do the job, you could potentially be putting all of that at risk.

We can’t compete with the fees they charge but we can assure our clients the service we offer is competitively priced and worth paying for. We believe it’s like comparing a Vauxhall Nova to a Rolls Royce … in other words, there’s no comparison.