The amazing value of the modern letting agent
Hop back just over 10 years ago to the rental sector and you realise just how much our indutry has changed in this period. For an industry renowned for being old-fasioned and slow to evolve, the transformation over the last decade or so has been really quite epic.
A lot of this has been driven by the regulation and legislation placed on Landlords and Agents alike over this period. Much of this was absolutely essential- starting with the Tenancy Deposit legislation which, at long last, addressed one of the murkiest parts of the industry.
What much of the public, however, don't in fact realise- is that much of this change has been driven by the industry itself. Whilst the mainstream media still love to give agents & landlords alike a good kicking whenever they can, the industry continues to evolve and improve. In fact, I am sure the public are unaware that we have been campaigning for the government to properly license/legislate our industry for years- but it is the government that refuses to do so.
In fact, after years of campaigning, we (and I claim no personal involvement here) have finally convinced the government to make CMP (Client Money Protection) mandatory for all agents. This simple and affordable insurance policy protects the deposit funds and rent payments an agent handles in case of financial difficulty or collapse. CMP has been a requirement of membership of the likes of ARLA for years- yet it has taken the goverment all this time to implement a law that grants widespread protection at almost zero cost to them. Staggering- but I feel it is important the public know this is change driven by the industry and not something that has been forced upon us.
Looking at the regulations placed on the sector in the last decade, this made me then look at how our roles have transformed over this period.
Letting out a property 12 years ago and you would have been justified in wondering just how much work a Letting Agent did for their fee. It was not uncommon for a property to receive limited marketing exposure and, once a deal was secured, you would be lucky to get much more than a reference, a printed off tenancy agreement and a gas safety certificate. Those going the extra mile would maybe meet Tenants at the property and help with scheduling a clean......but that was about it.
Today, not only is the standard of offering greatly enhanced with most agents instructing professional photos and floorplans, some (like us) create a Virtual Tour of every listing, properties go on a host of property sites with Featured & Premium listings used (often entirely at the agets expense) to gain further exposure not to mention activity on Social Media networks and much, much more.
Now, layer on top of that the legislative and regulatory compliance that an agent now takes care of for you (and, by and large, takes on legal responsibilty for) with the likes of: gas safety checks, electrical checks, Right to Rent, AML (Anti-Money Laundering), Legionnaires, smoke & CO alarms, HMO (Housing in Multiple Occupancy) licenses, mandatory licensing.........I could go on.
So, with all this extra work, effort, cost and risk agency fees have shot up right? Well, as we all know, this is not the case. Fees have, by and large, remained the same and many agents (under pressure by cut back online operators) have even reduced their fees.
Landlords, the world of letting and renting has changed dramatically and, driven by more legislation and tech, looks set to change even more in the next decade. If you don't use an estate agent or letting agent, maybe it's time you thought about doing so. Maybe you're a Landlord who still feels they don't get value from their agent and you're reading this thinking 'my agent doesn't do half of that for me' then maybe it's time you found yourself a 21st century agent that does!?
Agency has evolved, so get out there and find yourself a cutting-edge agent who delivers on all objectives. And remember- securing a cheap agent or a great value agent are two VERY differenet things! Quality and value are always the best long-term solution.