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What makes a good letting agent?

This is an interesting question!! I write this blog as Director and founder of Mighty House based in Lancaster because, as you should expect, I consider this question a lot. I feel I know the answer and yet I feel many of our customers don’t fully appreciate the important attributes that make a good letting agent because often they don’t ask the right questions.

To determine if Mighty House are the right Agent to look after their residential investment, potential customers ask questions such as “how often do you inspect property?” A perfectly valid question. However, on its own, the question does not go far enough. For example, “what do you look for when inspecting and how do you address any issues that arise?” are surely equally important questions, if not more important. A simple tick box inspection followed by letter to tenant outlining issues is not good management.

To debate the question of what makes a good letting agent, there are obviously matters of professional qualifications and affiliations with certain regulatory bodies that help protect landlords and tenants that should be considered (being members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Property Ombudsmen, Mighty House achieve the highest accreditation on that front). However, I mean what about the practicality and reality of every day tasks and approach to the job – what is it that sets a good agent apart from a poor or just acceptable agent? To consider this I think we should break down the role of a letting agent into two part:

  1. Letting a property
  2. Managing a property

Letting a property

A letting agent must understand the local market and be able to inform owners about available options for maximising the rental income and agree which type of tenants to target and ultimately the strategy that the owner is happy with.

A letting agent must then market the property effectively – using quality photographs and carefully worded brochures and adverts as well as well presented adverts in the right places where the target tenants are going to search for properties.

A letting agent must assess the suitability of prospective tenants which will often include requiring the tenants to complete a tenant referencing application. However, references and credit checks don’t provide the full picture – sometimes, prior to proceeding to grant a tenancy, it is necessary to visit the tenant in their existing home to see how they are looking after it. What about suitability of the size of house for number of occupants and amount of wear and tear or will the tenants soon grow out of the house when the Landlord is seeking a long term tenant? The Landlord has allowed pets but a letting agent should consider the type and suitability of pets – houses full of flees don’t re-let quickly! And so on…

A letting agent must take care of all legal aspects thoroughly. A well worded tenancy agreement (adjusted with clauses added from experience – for the benefit of the Landlord and Tenant!) is essential. A thorough inventory and schedule of condition is also essential. Care must be taken that documents are completed accurately and signed correctly.

I could go on as there are considerable other tasks involved with letting a property but these are some of the core tasks and they can be undertaken poorly, to a basic level or really well.

Property Management

The new tenant takes the keys for their new home, all paperwork having been completed. Now the role of the property manager begins.

A different type of management is required for different types of letting.

However, for any type of letting, tenants need to know where the water stop cock is. They also need to understand how to top up a combi boiler with water so that there isn’t wasted expense with the plumber attending unnecessarily simply because water pressure has dropped.

Visiting the premises with the new tenant and explaining at the outset what standards are expected sets the scene and is helpful for the tenant to understand. For example, take the oven – if the oven has been professionally cleaned prior to letting then draw that to the tenant’s attention and suggest they keep on top of the cleaning otherwise they may need to get it professionally cleaned when they leave. Making sure tenants know what cleaning products to use on an oven’s interior and hob and not to use abrasive pads on non stick surfaces are well worth mentioning.

Explain that water sitting on laminate floor should be dried up as soon as possible otherwise the laminate may swell. I know from experience that 15 minutes spent discussing cleaning and how to minimise wear and tear pays huge dividends.

Routine inspections should not only look at the obvious issues of carpet cleanliness, decoration damage, use of blue tac and so on but pay particular attention to areas which often cause unnecessary damage when in disrepair, for example – check the kitchen worktops and baths are sealed properly around the edges, check for water leaks under the sink – the kitchen sink base unit is usually the first to deteriorate. Check for leaks on radiator connections, check the shower is not causing water to flow over the edge of the bath, check the hedges are being trimmed before they get out of control (once too far overgrown, they can suffer when trimmed back to previous levels) and so on.

Repairs are an area where money can be wasted through unnecessary repairs or poor quality repairs. A good property manager must thoroughly understand how to maintain a building and the appropriate cost and standard of repair necessary. A tenant rings up as the central heating has stopped working. We ask whether the pressure on the boiler has gone down and the tenant says she topped it up a week earlier. Alarm bells should ring – there could be a leak in the system. Ask the tenant to check for wet floors under each radiator and all ceilings for water stains. There is no point topping up the heating again if there is a leak in the system causing damage to the property. Knowledge saves money!

A property let on a room rent basis will require inspecting more regularly than once a quarter. Communal areas can get neglected by occupants and bins not taken out on bin day resulting in waste piling up in yards. Drains become blocked outside from rubbish and each tenant can take no action as they think someone else will tell the Letting Agent that the bath is leaking and causing the ceiling below to sag. I am sure any Landlords letting property by the room can relate to these aspects.

We can look at strategies to effectively manage all the negative aspects of room rents, for example, fixing the bin recycling timetable to the inside of a kitchen cupboard door along with the rules of what goes inside recycling containers helps. If rubbish has built up, a timely text and email can be diarised to be sent to the tenants to remind them to take bins out the day before bin day.

Simply asking the tenants to have a cleaning rota can produce amazing results. Perhaps agreeing quarterly cleans paid for by the owner may be beneficial for the long term benefit of the house and re-letting of empty rooms. This may need to be introduced during a period of messy tenants.

If drains keep blocking with leaves, screw down proper drain covers – don’t rely on asking the tenants to clear them or put loose covers over them. Sounds simple but there are so many simple things that are not done that can save money and complaints!

To be fair, I could write pages and pages on what makes a good Letting Agent as this article has only scratched the surface! Attention to detail, knowledge and experience are all essential ingredients but what brings out the best aspects of all these attributes is good, effective communication for the benefit of all parties.

Some kind words from our customers

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We would like to thank you both very much for all your excellent efforts on our behalf to sell our property. We are very happy with the selling price you have achieved.

B Robinson

As I'm now up to a full complement of tenants I just want to say thank you for all you've done for me these last six months. Your support has been invaluable and you [Isobel Burns] are a credit to Mighty House.

L Kirby

I just wanted to say a big thank you to you and your team. From the first enquiry about my tenancy right up to my termination date you have all been very friendly and helpful. The whole process was so easy and quick. I have rented on several occasions with other estate agents in the Lancaster area and I have to say that your company have given the best service without doubt. If I ever have cause to rent in the future you will be my first port of call. Please pass on my thanks to all your team.

P Hodges

I am very grateful to all of the mighty house team especially to Peter Charnley who personally dealt with the sale of our house. They all go above and beyond to ensure everything progresses and runs as smoothly as possible. They keep you well informed and up to date of the process throughout, I would defiantly recommend mighty house. A big thank you once again!!!

K Holmes

Really quick to respond to call out. Problem sorted we have heat again

L Peterson

Great renting company. In case of any problems, they quickly deal with them.

M Szyniszewski

We would like to thank you for being fantastic agents and also would be grateful if you could pass on our appreciation to the Landlord. We enjoyed living in the property and you were much easier to deal with than any agents we've encountered previously.

H & C Legat

I can't thank you enough for everything you have done. Words can't express how grateful I am. I can now care and see my mum and she can see her grand children.

Mrs M Mclee

To All at Mighty House. Just wanted to say thank you for your help in our "efforts" to buy [property] Road. It just wasn't the outcome we wanted but realise it wasn't for the want of trying by ourselves or your team. Special thanks must go to Isobel who I know tried her best. Guess it just wasn't mean to be. We keep our fingers crossed that our current attempts to buy a house go smoother and quicker. Thanks again.

J Nicholson & family

Thank you very much for all your kind help in the process of our new property purchase. Had a wonderful experience....

Mr Patel

Thank you very much for a fast efficient and professional service. All the staff were polite and helpful and I was very pleased with the outcome. I would certainly recommend you to friends and family. Once again many thanks.

Mrs J Coulson

To Mark and Team, With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. Thanks for all your help & guidance with the house sale. The speedy action was awesome!!!

Mr & Mrs Bowskill

We are so pleased that we decided to use Mighty House to sell our house. Mark told my husband and I that he had a great deal of experience in the estate agency business and it certainly showed. He knew exactly the type of person that would be ideally suited to our home, and sold out house within a few weeks, in fact he actually sold it twice as our first buyer dropped out due to personal reasons. We mainly dealt with Isobel in the office who was fantastic, efficient and friendly. We were very pleased with the brochure Mighty House produced and would be more than happy to recommend them. Thank you mark and Isobel for everything!

Sarah

I would like to say a huge thank you to Peter and his team especially Isobel who went above and beyond to help us try and find a home for my daughter to rent. The service we received was AMAZING. The courtesy that the whole team gave me certainly puts Mighty House firmly at the forefront of my mind when thinking of premier customer service. I would like to add that one of the main reasons Mighty House stood out for me was after 3 months of discussion with estate and letting agents in Lancaster, Mighty House was the only company we faced who had staff with nice manners and were able to provide good customer service, I’m afraid this is not so with all agents in Lancaster. They came across as the only letting agents who actually cared about the customer standing in front of them, rather than just trying to palm off excuses or not listening at all as was the case with many others. All in all excellent service received. Thanks Guys. :)

Katharine and Katriona

Many thanks for all your help and advice. We would certainly recommend Mighty House and will certainly be in touch again when we are in need of your services.

Heather

And thank you and the team at The Mighty House for the great service and support that you have provided to us throughout the long saga of trying to sell 5 Windermere Rd. Being at such a distance has been really difficult for us but you really went the extra mile for us and we really do appreciate it. I wish you all the best with growing the business. I am sure that it will go from strength to strength with the excellent service you provide.

Anne-Mree & Ron

Mighty House gave me a super platform to advertise my property, accompanied with quick and responsive customer service to help me rent my house within 2 days of going live. I would definitely recommend Mighty House as a economical and effective way to sell or rent your property.

Julia

I have been extremely happy to rent from Mighty House and I am really grateful for all your help in the past one year. I will recommend Mighty House to my friend and anyone else for sure. I think I speak for everyone at 64, Coulston Road when I say that your management has been first class!

Mr Misra

I am delighted at the professional manner and dedication of the staff at Mighty House in achieving the expedient sale of my property for a great price and making it stress free. Many thanks.

Mr Bradshaw

After visiting the showroom at 83 Bowerham Road we instructed Mighty House to sell our house. Mark Fletcher did a thorough job valuing, assessing and photographing the property. His advice was always helpful and forthcoming. He took a personal interest in promoting the sale and efficiently conducted viewings and he got us a good price for the property. He kept us in touch with developments as the sale proceeded. We certainly would recommend Mighty House as a helpful and efficient local estate agency.

David and Judy

I choose Mighty House because they were an independent firm with a local shop front as well as being linked in to all the on line services which are now a requirement for house sales - I felt I was getting the best of both worlds. I have already recommended their services to my friends and am happy to offer a wider testimonial here. Their staff were always helpful and Mark, in particular, offered a friendly and very competent service. Mark was always available to talk through any issues, and the local office meant that I could have a ‘face to face’ chat when I felt the need to talk through any particular situations. Mark’s wealth of experience of selling houses meant that I felt able to trust the advice I sought at various points in the sale. I choose to use one of their services where I showed prospective purchasers around my house and whilst this deal offered very good value for money, I never felt a less valued client because of my choice of using one of their cheaper schemes. I would definitely use their services again should I ever move house again!

Claire

Following a relocation from London to Lancaster, we decided to start looking into purchasing our first property. We contacted a number of estate agents in Lancaster and viewed a range of properties. We initially offered on a property with another agent but the service we received as buyers we felt was very poor and not working in our best interests. We contacted Mighty House as they had similar properties for sale. From our first contact with Mighty House, we felt that they listened to what we wanted and ensured that they arranged viewings that were appropriate; a number of other agents just seemed to want to show us everything they couldn't sell rather than anything that ticked our boxes. Mighty House worked hard to ensure that both our needs and the seller’s needs were met and we were delighted with the outcome. They were understanding of our particular circumstances throughout and ensured that we and the vendor were kept abreast of developments as they happened. Mighty House have been honest and transparent with us throughout the process and have even recommended an excellent Solicitor who helped move the process along extremely quickly through to completion. We couldn't recommend Mark and the team at Mighty House any higher; they supported us through the roller coaster of buying our first property and were a delight to negotiate with.

Nathan & Vicky

A great service from start to finish, professional and friendly staff. It was a rather bumpy ride selling my late aunts bungalow especially when the first sale fell through but Mighty House had it back on the market within hours and viewing within days. Once the sale was agreed they were very helpful in sorting out any little niggles helping to save time and money with legal costs. Overall a high class service at a very reasonable cost. Many thanks from the Haslam family especially to Mark and Isobel.

Mrs Steph Haslam

Excellent service throughout the duration of my tenancy

Matthew Wood

Great service from start to end. Would recommend.

Dr Green

Fantastic service in my first year from Peter and team. Any issues resolved swiftly.

George Kushnov

Thank you Peter and team

John Brennen

Thank you Peter and team

Matt Garside

Good service

Mikel Patel

I encountered a few small problems, which were dealt with efficiently

Sara Lahar

Enjoyed my time within this property and dealing with Mighty House. Thank you.

Lucy Wilson

Clear advert, professional service given by all. No problems, would recommend

Craig Gould

Found property on internet, a clear advert, dealt with peter who was very good and answered all questions professionally. Would recommend. Isobel is also lovely to deal with

Lynda Yates

Happy with everything, would recommend

Patrick Bishop

Very good service from Peter and Isobel, would come back again, and have recommended to many friends

Maysara Adel Ali Sayed

Good service, We've used them more than once and would recommend

David Cunlffe & Elsa Jean Kinnish

Really good service. Saw advert in paper, clear with full details. Our queries were handled immediately

Paul & Michelle Good

Saw on Rightmove, Ad not complete, but Peter explained all, dashing suit, have dealt with other estate agents before but MightyHouse was very professional -its like dining at a fine restaurant

Mr Pavel Bogolyubov & Mrs Natalia Bogolyubova

Very helpful. I saw the property on Rightmove. The advert was good. Easy and no hassle

Benjamin Allen Maunder

Very happy with service, we had a few issues with the rented accommodation, which were sorted sensibly within good timescales, which we were happy about. Highly recommended

Mr George Fragkiadakis & Ms Anastasia Legga

We recently had heating problems. There was a quick response to these, so we would recommend Mighty House

Mr Tim Buthcer & Mrs Sian Butcher

Dealt with peter - fantastic service

Jane Ritchie

Very happy with the service and would recommend.

Geoffery F Marshall & Janice E Marshall

Good service, would recommend.

Megan Lauder

When we spoke to Isobel, she was fantastic - very informative. We were shown round the property by Peter - excellent viewing.

Mr S & Ms J Edwards

Fantastic service from Isobel, was a smooth process. Also suggested alternative properties. Would highly recommend.

Ms Star & Mr Harris

Fantastic during my brief tenancy and helped me

Terry Powerst

Was recommended by a friend, dealt with Peter, Peter was absolutely brilliant, any issues were dealt with within a week, would strongly recommend

Zoe Louise Clarke

Just a note to say how very happy we are with the service provided to us by the team at Mighty House. We are landlords with two student let properties at Lancaster-we initially started with one house for our daughter who was at University there. As we were new to the market with the first property we relied heavily on Peter who gave us great practical advice on the student let process. This continued with the second property and again Peter's advice was invaluable particularly relating to the renovations required and the specific requirements for student houses. We have had contact with most of the staff at Mighty House and find them to be very genuine, friendly and helpful and all the requests made by ourselves or our tenants have been dealt with in a timely and professional manner. A special mention for Isobel who goes 'above and beyond' in her efforts to assist both the tenants and landlord and is a pleasure to deal with.

Peter F.

Excellent team. Many thanks to Peter and team and they made me change my review from bad to excellent by giving the best service ever. I would like to recommend might house as a trust worthy Agency for renting a house. Thank you Peter for all your support and regret that I got a wrong impression of Mighty House.

Uday K

After several decades with my property with a "nationwide" organisation, finally got fed up with lousy service, high prices and tenant gouging. Mighty House, despite the slightly silly name, have been brilliant. They seem to really care, respond quickly to any issue, problem, difficulty, etc ... and costs are very reasonable. In my opinion, worthy of six stars.

Mr Schick

I bought a house through Mighty House and the experience was fantastic. Really helpful guidance all the way through the process. Peter and the team are highly recommended.

Mr Cookson

I'd just like to say a personal thank you to Isobel at Mighty House. At one point during my purchase it all seemed to be going pear shaped and I thought I was going to have no choice but to pull out. Thanks to Isobel's friendly approachable nature, help, advice and guidance - I have just spent my first night in my new home. Once again, thank you.

J Thorpe

I recently used Mighty House to rent out my flat in Lancaster. I did have a few problems initially with lack of communication, but I spoke to Isobel and she gladly sorted everything out for me, and went above and beyond to help me. I couldn't be more grateful

Cheryl L

The team at Mighty House are absolutely brilliant. They went out of their way to ensure my tenancy was sorted before an important deadline. You guys deserve 6 stars if that were possible. Highly recommended!!! Anisa

Anisa A

This company knows the market and makes every effort to find the right house for you - and arrange a viewing as soon as possible. Very friendly staff especially Isabelle and John. Many Thanks

Christine B.

Had a great experience renting from this company. The process was easy, the customer service very friendly and professional and any queries etc. we had were promptly dealt with.

Alefiyah J.

Mighty house provide a responsive and professional service.

Mike J.

Really quick to respond to call out. Problem sorted we have hear again.

larisha P.

I am very grateful to all of the mighty house team especially to Peter Charnley who personally dealt with the sale of our house. They all go above and beyond to ensure everything progresses and runs as smoothly as possible. They keep you well informed and up to date of the process throughout, I would defiantly recommend mighty house. A big thank you once again!!!

Kenise H.

Now the sale has gone through (finally), I would like to thank you for your patience with us through out the process and also for responding promptly and politely to my many emails and phone calls. Thanks again.

Ruth S.

It is great to have an efficient and reliable managing agent which I can trust, essential when I live 200 miles away!

Peter H.

I’m really happy with how you and the team are working and I look forward to increasing my portfolio with you in the future.

Richard H.

Excellent feedback of viewings and during sale process. Important as we don't live in the area.

Mr Lees

I used both the selling and letting service and couldn't have asked for more. Thank you John for all your help and courtesy, am so happy in my new house.

Mrs S.

The pricing options were clear on the website. We felt the process was well handled from start to finish.

Previous vendor

Quick responses to emails and very flexible with viewings.

Previous vendor

John took ownership, followed up on calls and couldn't help enough! Thank you.

Lucy E.

The advertising, marketing and advice during negotiations were very good. Excellent relationship between yourselves and your sales manager John Davenport. John was always courteous, positive and available for consultation. His experience undoubtedly helped achieve a satisfactory sale inside 6 winter months.

Mr Winder

Once my offer on a house was accepted the communication by Mighty House was very clear and speedy. It was also very helpful. Thank you Greg.

Dr Pitt

Fast Sellers

Fast Sellers

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