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How Do Online Letting Agents Work?

April 03, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 130

An online letting agent is, to a more or lesser degree, a DIY solution for landlords. For a little bit of extra work, online letting agents give landlords the ability to advertise their properties on a large scale, for minimal cost.

It is expensive to advertise on the big property websites, such as rightmove and Prime Location, and historically, it has only been property agents who have been able to do so. This meant that landlords were unable to advertise on a large scale without the help of a traditional letting agent, and the costs associated with one! With the advent of online letting agents, landlords are now able to advertise on the major property sites for little or no cost.

Different internet-based agents work in different ways, offering differing levels of service. This can vary from a basic advertise only, to a more expensive (though still cheaper than the high street) package which more closely replicates the service you would receive from a traditional letting agency.

The fee structure of web based letting agents varies between companies and their packages. Some charge just the landlord, some just the tenant, and some charge both parties, as a traditional high street letting agent does.

All online letting agents work in slightly different ways, but a good outline of the process is as follows:

  • The landlord uploads descriptions and photographs to the internet agent's website, who in turn uploads them to the property websites.
  • The agent receives calls from tenants on the landlord's behalf
  • The landlord shows the tenant around
  • The landlord provides the contract and inventory, checks the tenant in, lodges the deposit in a protected scheme and continues the relationship from that point forward.

Some online agents will reference check tenants for you. You should ALWAYS reference check incoming tenants. If your agent does not reference check tenants for you, there are a number referencing services available online.

As a DIY landlord, you need to make sure that you are compliant with the law. Your online agent should be able to advise you on what you are required to have.

The process is really very simple, and certainly cost effective. Different agents operate in slightly different ways, and you should consider exactly what level of service you want to receive, and what you are prepared to pay for it.

Using an online letting agent will not suit every landlord, and it really depends on your motivations. An online agent is certainly more work than a traditional local agent, but is significantly cheaper, so it really depends whether you want to save time or save money.

Source: EzineArticles
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