Choosing an agent to manage your property can be very confusing. A quick search on Google for “property management company in Gateshead” brings up 7 company websites (Rent North East leading in top place), and numerous other directories and adverts.
Here are a few steps you can take to bring your list of agents down to a manageable shortlist of two or three great agents.
Check reviews online.
Reviews from landlords and tenants are so important, as they often give you a clearer idea of how current clients feel, as well as how the agency responds to criticism. Do they attack the reviewer, or do they accept responsibility for problems? How do tenants feel about their maintenance service? Do landlords feel that their investment is well cared for and that their profits are maximised?
Try to search for the company name with reviews added on the end, ie Rent North East reviews.
Check the reviewer name. Reviews left by contractors or employees of the company should raise an immediate red flag.
Pop into their office and have a chat.
A face to face meeting can help you to see whether you will be comfortable working with a company and their employees. It won’t help you to use a top rated agency if you don’t feel comfortable talking to the property manager.
You may also get an idea of what their service is like from the service that you receive when you attend their office.
This is a little sneaky - but why not try popping in and asking to rent a property? See how you are treated and whether you would be happy if you were an applicant… Some agencies treat landlords really well but applicants badly. Don’t use an agency which applicants don’t trust, as they will find it hard to attract quality tenants.
Test their response times.
Email them with your initial enquiry. If they take two days to get back to you then chances are that future communication will also be slow.
Try calling their emergency maintenance line, and see what the response is like.
Enquire about renting a property and see how long it takes them to get back to you, and what the quality of their response is. Would you use them if you were an applicant?
Are they compliant?
All agencies must be registered with a redress scheme, and must also use an accredited Deposit Protection Scheme. It helps if they are also a member of the ICO for data protection.
Check that their practices are compliant. If they are not clued up and compliant then they will be unable to manage your property effectively, and in the worst case you may even end up in legal trouble.
Still confused? Give us a ring on 0191 303 7778, visit www.rentnortheast.co.uk, or pop into our office at 104a Bewick Road, Gateshead, NE8 1UA for a coffee and a chat.