Whether you’re buying, selling or renting a property, dealing with estate agents ought to be a seamless process. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, and communicating with these companies can quickly become a nightmare if you haven’t done your research and found one you can trust.
So, how can you make sure you don’t fall into this trap? Firstly, it’s important to utilise the internet by reading through previous client reviews. These days, there are a range of review sites for estate agents, in which tenants, homeowners and landlords can rate their experiences and recommend the best services to other users.
Be aware of sponsored posts, as these can often be misleading. If one company or individual has been paid to endorse another, you can never be quite sure whether or not their account is genuine – so it’s best to stick to sites displaying honest customer feedback, and avoid those companies who have received multiple negative reviews.
Once you have made a shortlist, it’s time to visit each company’s site one by one and get a feel for what they can offer. Make a note of any accreditations or schemes they may belong to, such as the Property Ombudsman or Deposit Protection schemes, as these will ensure that your rights remain protected.
You’ll also want to gain an idea of their experience and knowledge of the industry, so it’s a good idea to comb their website for details. Be sure to find an agency that has been running for at least a few years so you know they’re the best people to advise you about the property market.
Whilst you’re on the website, it’s a good idea to read their terms and conditions thoroughly. Of course, this information will vary according to the services you’re looking to enlist, as well as the property you are hoping to rent, buy or sell. If in doubt, why not pick up the phone or e-mail the team and enquire about the process?
If you’re looking to sell your home, communication is key. It’s a good idea to find a company who advertise round-the-clock communication, as this will provide additional peace of mind. Once you’ve found an agent you can trust, you should be able to leave all the hard work to them, whilst remaining firmly in the loop about any developments.
If you’re hoping to rent, be aware that rental applications can sometimes catch people out, so you’ll want to find an estate agency that offer full transparency as to their costs. Some companies will charge extortionate fees, most of which are hidden, so make sure you’re aware of all your financial obligations before you sign anything.
When it comes to your security deposit, you’ll also want to find out whether or not it is refundable if something happens during the letting process. Most of the time, if a landlord pulls out, you will get your deposit back in full, whereas, if the application isn’t approved due to unsatisfactory references, you won’t get it back. It’s best to check this prior to payment.
If you’re a landlord looking to rent your property, you’ll want to verify the credentials of the estate agency you decide to use. Make sure they belong to your local Landlord Accreditation Scheme, so you can rest assured that your rights will be protected at all times.
An experienced estate agency should be able to manage all areas of your property, including rental payments, upkeep, advertising and tenant vetting, so it is well worth using one. You will just need to ensure that your chosen company has plenty of experience in the rental market, and knows how to deal with both landlords and tenants professionally.