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Letting agencies can be an unscrupulous bunch and you must ensure that you pick the right one. Every agent that comes to see you will want your business and therefore you are a valuable commodity to them.

First appearances can be deceptive but bear in mind that all agents should be of a smart appearance - this will give you a good indication as to how they operate their business - believe it or not I have seen several agents turn up in jeans and jumper to value a 5 bedroom house. Needless to say they did not have a clue what they were doing. The agent should be smart - this indicates that they take their business seriously.

Furthermore, the agent should have a good look around your property - they need to know exactly what they are going to be marketing. Talking of marketing, double check where they are going to advertise your property is it just their window or do they have regular advertising in the local paper? Do not have a board if you are away from home a lot. The boards are a great advertisement for would be crooks to have a snoop around and see if anyone is home. Boards can be a useful means of advertising but be careful.

Agency fees can be a point of contention. Many agencies, especially in London charge 10% plus VAT for not only the first year but also for the second. Check their contract and see if you can negotiate a lower fee for the renewal year - after all it only involves sending out a piece of paper. A decent agent is worth paying for. Many agencies will not give you a second look if you try and negotiate their first year's fee as they pride themselves in their work. If they are that good and they attract the right sort of tenants then it can be a godsend.

Every agent should explain what you need to leave in the property, what condition your property should be in and point out any defects that may effect the rental.

Every agent should go through the safety laws with you - this is a must and any agency that does not will not be worth anything to you as they obviously do not take their job very seriously at all.



FOR YOUR INFORMATION:

Letting a property.
Choosing an estate agent.
What is a contract.
Gas Safety.
Electrical Safety.
Furniture and Furnishings.
Liability as a landlord.
Tax.
References.
Consents that may be required.
Deposits.
Cleaning.
Inventories.
Check list for letting your property.
Tenancy Agreements.
Recovering possession.
Section 21.
Section 47.
Section 48.
Section 11 (Repairing obligations).
Stamp Duty.