It is not the best time to be a buy-to-let landlord, with a raft of ‘anti-landlord’ policies being introduced prompting concern that many with low profit margins could end up making a loss as a result of various tax changes, but there is one way that landlords could dramatically ‘reduce stress, free up time and, critically, save money’, according to a new survey.
UK landlords surveyed who use a letting agent estimate that they save £1,910 a year more than if they marketed directly to tenants, according to research by Endsleigh.
The survey of 500 UK landlords, conducted by the specialist insurance provider for letting agents, landlords and young professionals, found that there are widespread misconceptions among landlords about the value for money offered by lettings agents.
Given the high fees charged by some letting agents, it is perhaps unsurprising that 53% of landlords surveyed currently choose to rent out at least one of their properties privately without the help of an agent, with more than two in five of those indicating that cost is a reason for this.
But the study suggests that landlords using letting agents make an average monthly saving of £159 per month.
The savings are likely related to services which help to guard against costly void periods. Some 76% respondents reported that their agent tends to help them proactively find tenants, as well as other services, such as help with legal and financial matters, which are entrusted to agents which contribute to a reduction in overall costs.
As any long-term landlord knows, good letting and managing agents are worth their weight in gold.
A reliable agent that helps to provide landlords with a stress free investment, which includes sorting any problems for them relating to their rental property, providing access to a network of plumbers, electricians, and handymen or women, who can get things fixed straight away, do essential maintenance swiftly and at a fair cost and keep tenants happy, will always be in demand.
It is therefore not surprising to find that relationships between letting agents and landlords are not about the financial benefits alone. The findings show that, of those who use an agent, 50% were most attracted to their current agent because of their local knowledge, and 44% claim that excellent service is a deciding factor.
Some 41% feel that the main benefit of working with an agent is that it provides peace of mind, and a quarter of landlords communicate with their lettings agent on a weekly basis.
David Hadden, head of property at Endsleigh said: “Landlords who use letting agents find them very useful - especially before a letting - and state they help to reduce stress, free up time and, critically, save them money.
“The perceived cost of using a letting agent is among the biggest deterrents for many landlords, but those that do use an agent are on average reporting significant savings. Landlords considering letting their properties directly to tenants in light of changing legislation must seek advice to avoid potentially compromising their income, their quality of life and the provision of support and service that agents can offer.”