DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL LONDON LETTINGS FIRM,
DRAKER LETTINGS WWW.DRAKER.CO.UK

Q.I have a rental property that has been on the market for some time now. I have also not heard from my agent for a while. Is there anything I can do to speed things up?

A.There are four things you can do when a property is not letting as quickly as desired. Firstly, you can fire your agent; but beware – if they have viewed the property regularly, this may not be the problem. Secondly, you can improve or redecorate the property. Look carefully at the cleanliness and condition of each room with a critical eye – this is what your tenants will do. You may just need to give the property a little TLC with regard to presentation. Thirdly, you can drop the price. This is often the last thing a landlord wants to do, but can often be the most logical choice. If you have a property that looks great and is being regularly viewed without success, the price is normally the only variable left to change. Finally you can wait a bit longer, an option I would avoid – especially if you have been waiting for a while.

Q.I have just moved in with my partner and want to let my flat out. There are so many agents to choose from and they all seem to charge different prices. Can you give me any advice on how to choose and whether I should have more than one?

A.Lettings is generally a multi-agency business. Most landlords instruct two or three agents and the first past the post wins and gets paid (no AV system here!) When deciding who to choose, I would take into account the agencies personalities and approach to the market. You have larger companies who can be very good at generating mass viewings, but may leave you stone cold with their level of service offered. This is fine as long as you have a little experience, and do not expect much more than a tenant thrown through your door and a large fee taken. Next you have the more reliable brands that are generally very good and tend to reflect market trends: for example, if it is busy they will get the job done; if the market is quieter, they may struggle. Finally you have the more local, boutique agencies that can give a more personal level of service and tend to be more personality driven. My advice would be to choose one of each and see which one comes out on top.