An online letting agent is basically the same as a high street letting agent, but with much lower fees. An online letting agent will typically provide the same services as estate agents on the high street but are more cost-effective, more efficient and in a lot of cases, they provide a higher level of service.
When you picture a high street estate agents, they will have premises with a shop front, fancy sign, sophisticated interior design, company cars, desks and electronic equipment, shop displays, and employees – all of these things are overheads that need to be covered and these costs are often recuperated through clients monthly fees. Online letting agents operate without these overheads and the considerable financial savings are passed onto landlords and tenants.
An online letting agent is not geographically bound and so can provide a letting service to a landlord anywhere in the country, which can be a huge benefit to landlords with properties in a number of different locations. A high street letting agent can claim to have localized knowledge but this is also found through a simple online search which will reveal services, schools, transport links, and green spaces within a 5-mile radius of a chosen property.
This article is part of our United Kingdom series.
If I’m not using a high street lettings agent, could I just go it alone?
There isn’t a legal requirement to use any letting agents to sell or lease your property, but there are a number of benefits to doing so. A letting agent knows estate law and how to protect a landlord and their tenants by ensuring that they have followed the required laws and regulations that come under property law.
You can advertise and let your property yourself but you can’t do so through the major online property platforms, such as Zoopla and Rightmove, which are viewed by millions of searchers on a monthly basis but will only deal with official lettings agents. A letting agent can create a property advertisement that will showcase the property in its best light and ensure it is written up meeting the required legalities eg no misinformation.
Finding the right online letting agent
Once a tenant is interested in the online advert they contact the online letting agent who can arrange an appointment instantly, often via text message which is more time-efficient than a high street agent who may have stacks of appointments to make, giving a prospective tenant time to find somewhere else or lose interest. If the viewer wishes to proceed with the property, the online letting agent can conduct a comprehensive reference check on the tenant, which would include; a 6-year credit check, employment history, and a County Court Judgement check. If everything is satisfactory the letting agent can then further advise the landlord and provide additional service such as creating legally binding tenancy agreements.
A competent online letting agent is there to make a landlord’s life much easier, but they can be hard to find. How do you know who is genuine? Who has the relevant experience? Who knows estate law? At howsy online lettings agent there is a mission to make renting better for everyone and as Online Business of the Year, Best Letting Agency in the Property Reporter, and winners of Growing Business Awards, with the ability to add your property for free, there is nothing to lose!