Use an Agent vs Renting it yourself


I cannot count how many times I have come into contact with landlords who have previously rented a property themselves and become unstuck, preaching to me how they have had a bad experience. Whether it is a tenant not paying rent or whether your tenant is contempt with living in a pig sty, I have heard them all.

I always ask them the following:

What checks did you do? Did you obtain a work reference? National Insurance details? Identification? Previous landlord reference? Wage slips? Bank statements? How did you check them out? There is nothing worse than when a tenant does not pay their rent and comes up with multiple excuses why. They don’t always comprehend that in fact the landlord has a mortgage to pay and that the bank won’t hear the excuses. So why should the landlord?

We are only human beings at the end of it and as human beings we can only do so much before we make a judgement on a tenant. By all means we want to rent out our properties for the highest amount in the shortest space of time without having too much of a void period between tenants.

So what are the benefits of using an accomplished letting agent? Well…besides the fact that we do this every day, a good assertive agent can ask the right questions before a viewing and pick holes in a tenant (obviously not literally!). There are certain questions that our team will ask that can normally sniff out the good from the bad.

Firstly, with the marketing of the property, you need an agent to give you an accurate valuation of your property. If your rental amount is too high then you will not get as many enquiries and this could in turn force you to make the wrong move, you want the pick of the bunch in terms of tenants so that you (the landlord) are in control of the tenant(s) that you wish to choose.

Here are a few “important” questions that we at Keystones Property will always ask before booking a viewing:

  1. Why are you moving from your current premises?
  2. What do you do for work?
  3. How much are you earning?
  4. How many people are looking to move in?
  5. When do you need to move by?
  6. Can you provide us with bank statements?
  7. Can you provide us with wage slips?
  8. Employed or Self Employed?

However, it is not only the answers to the questions that should satisfy you. Anyone can make up stories and provide a case. We want to see proof!

Then on the viewing is when you get a real good feeling about your tenants. I teach my staff to search for subtleties such as:

  • How are they dressed?
  • Are they presentable, looking clean or rugged?
  • How do they speak to you? Polite or Rude?
  • Are they on time for the viewing? (Late on the viewing = Late with the rent)
  • Are they organised with their wage slips or bank statements?
  • Can they control their children on the viewing?
  • You may be laughing about how far we go with this, but you won’t be laughing if at the end of the tenancy there are holes in walls, chewing gum in carpets and cave man style crayon drawings on your bedroom walls – and trust me I’ve seen them all!

Here at Keystones Property we make sure we cover all angles!

We will fully vet the tenants before the viewings and then on the viewing themselves.

Their stories over the phone need to match up again on the viewing! Once a tenant wants to take a property, we decipher the day they want to move, if they have the money and secure a holding deposit to take the property off the market for them as commitment. We then run our checks through a third party company checking for CCJs, Defaults, Bankruptcy, Rent Arrears and general bad credit, plus previous addresses. We obtain work references followed up with bank statements and wage slips.

We also find it very important to see that wages are entering the tenants’ bank accounts. It is also good to check if the tenant is paying their previous landlord via standing order through their bank accounts too. Under full management Keystones Property can also provide Rent Protection Cover should your tenant forfeit on their rent.

Should you want to hear more of our expertise in the field, then call us for a chat on 0203 697 7788.

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  • Keystones Property Collier Row
    13 Clockhouse Lane, Collier Row, Romford, Essex, RM5 3PH, United Kingdom
  • Telephone: 01708 909 100

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