A new digital letting service that aims to save landlords up to £1,600 per year has been launched.
NoAgent.co.uk uses technology to automate the marketing, administration and maintenance of properties – as well as supplying round the clock support for landlords.
The online platform, which charges landlords from £29 a month, provides free advertising on the UK’s major property portals, including Rightmove and Zoopla.
The new service also allows landlords to manage their property via a real-time dashboard, while all administration is handled online or via No Agent’s 24-hour call centre including viewings, reference and credit checks, contracts, the move in, compliance reminders, management of repairs, deposit and rent collection.
Landlords signing up for the service also have instant access to property managers - each with an average of five years experience - and a legal helpline.
“Despite the impact of the digital revolution, property services haven’t fundamentally changed,” said Gillian Kent, chairman of NoAgent.co.uk. “No Agent is the only service that completely automates a range of essential tasks such as marketing, bookings, reference checks, maintenance and compliance.”
“Strategically what we’re doing is empowering landlords to fully manage all aspects of the letting of their property – and save money as a direct result. Agencies currently earn £115m a year in fees for doing these sorts of tasks.”
She continued: “The average monthly rent outside of London is now £779,” said Gillian Kent. “So when you add on standard agency charges like a month’s rent together with monthly management fees of up to 15%, the first-year cost for a landlord is close to £2,000.”
“By contrast, using No Agent would save them just shy of £1,600.”
“Tenants will also be better off as we don’t charge for services like drawing up tenancy agreements and credit checks. However letting agencies now typically charge tenants £337 in fees – many in London are forced to pay over £400.”
But Barry Nichols-Grey, chief financial officer at Dezrez, believes that NoAgent.co.uk may be underestimating the value that sales and letting agents play in the letting process.
He said: “The move towards fully digital buying and letting services has been in the works for a while now. The property and estate agency markets are ripe for innovation and encountering the sort of digital transformations being seen across a number of industries.
“But we need to balance a tech-only approach with caution. In light of the cheaper prices that online services often list as the number one benefit, we must remember that agents are more than a middle man. Our research shows that the local knowledge of agents is important for 78% of consumers. In addition, only 10% are strongly in favour of only dealing with agents over the phone or via email. Whilst many people like to be able to search online, they clearly value the customer experience and human element of face-to-face interactions later on in the process. Online services just can’t compete with the level of face-to-face service that consumers demand.”
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