A Leighton Buzzard landlord buys a 2 bedroom apartment for £180,000 and a Ferrari for £180,000. Which will bring a better return and which is he likely to spend less on ?
We all want a bargain and might drive to the Sainsbury’s petrol station where petrol is £1.17 per litre instead of the BP garage a stones throw away where it is £1.21 per litre. This could save you £2 on a full tank of petrol if you are one of the few who fill up the tank on each visit. You might go to Poundland for a lightbulb where it is cheaper than Wilkinsons, but the bulb might only last a few weeks and then you are buying another one. Need some screwdrivers ? How long do you expect a pack of screwdrivers from Poundland will last and how many screw heads will they ruin ? Yes we all like a bargain, but too often we then regret making that decision, but to remedy it is fairly inexpensive and just a small inconvenience.
What if you have just purchased an asset that could be worth upwards of £150,000. What if it cost you £300,000? If you bought a Ferrari 308 GTB "Vetroresina” for a modest £180,000. This classic could go up in value, but not likely to be by the same amount as your 2 bedroom apartment, but yet would you take this ‘Magnum PI’ Ferrari to Mitchells Car Servicing and Repairs in Walford, East London for its oil change ? Of course not so when it comes to choosing an agent to look after your property are you really going to go with the cheapest agent with his threadbare carpet and 1970’s brown office furniture. Yes you might think he obviously isn’t charging too much as he can’t afford matching office chairs, but when he is working and presenting himself at that level you can be sure he also isn’t charging enough to look after your property and ensure his landlords are kept up to date with the latest legislation.
So next time you ask walk through an agents door and the first thing you ask before you even sit down is ‘How much are your fees’ take a moment and instead try asking them ‘What makes you the agent I should choose to look after my property and what level of service should I expect from you ?’
Think about it. For the cost of a cup of coffee a week you might choose an agent who is not going to look after your property, will not care about the tenants until they don’t pay the rent, will not be using the most current tenancy agreements and notices, will not be up to date with current legislation, might not have Client Money Protection or PI Insurance and could be using your tenants deposit money for running his business.
I could lower my fee to match those of ‘Let, Lets & lettings’ a few doors down but do you expect me to lower my level of service to you as well ? I thought not.
Daniel Bourke is the owner of Belvoir Lettings Dunstable and in his previous career in Architecture he was an Associate in a leading London Architectural practice