Lettings Frequently Asked Questions

Whether or not you choose Callaways to market and let your home, you should be asking your Agent the following questions. We believe you wouldn’t want to settle for anything but the best and instruct an Agency to offer the highest levels of service, and ensure your property is let and managed in the best possible time-scales.


1. How long have you worked in Lettings & Property Management?

You’ll want to know that your Letting Agent is hungry for business but also offers exceptional service and feedback to you and your tenant. Is your Agent friendly, qualified, experienced, professional, presentable? Does he/she have passion for people and property?
Have you met Agents who despite many years’ experience have become disillusioned and bored with their job (or even be in the wrong job), reflected in their ‘couldn’t care less’ and ‘please don’t bother me again’ attitude?

2. What is a realistic rental asking price for my property?

Consider your own time-scales for letting. Do you have an urgent deadline which needs to be met? Will your Agent take this into account when extracting offers from potential tenants? How hard will he/she work to meet your particular timescales. Does your property require additional works to make it more desirable, or comply with lettings legislation? Did I mention there are over 170 pieces of legislation to follow? Are the local amenities likely to attractive a tenant who will see the value in your rental price?

3. How long will it take to let my property?

Your Agent will have discussed a marketing price and a potential rental price. Be prepared to listen to your Agent. So much is dependent on supply and demand. Currently certain types of property are highly sought-after, so they rent quickly and often command a premium due to demand. If you are asking too high a rental, your property might languish on the market for a long time. If you fail to take the advice of your Agent it could cost you money and your relationship! Properties that allow pets are always in demand.

4. What will the property actually let for?

Letting Agents will often suggest a marketing price – which is used to test the market. Whenever there is high demand, your Agent will know very quickly whether this price needs to be reviewed (often downwards, but this is not always the case). In Lettings, the marketing price is often the final rental price as general market conditions and demand dictate.

5. How do you determine the rental price of my property?

Letting Agents use ‘market comparables’ to determine the rental price of your property – i.e. if several properties in the area have rented for a similar price, this is likely to be the ‘price’. Again, this relates to supply and demand. If your property has been looked after well, you may obtain a small premium if a similar property ‘For Rent’ in your road needs refurbishment or has less attractive orientation. How much kerb appeal does your property have?

6. Which properties are in competition with my property?

The internet is a useful tool for checking other properties for rent in your area. Your Agent should be able to produce a report showing the same information. Your Letting Agent should have researched the area already, because as seen above, supply and demand plays a large role in pricing your property.

7. How much do you charge for letting my property?

Commission rates vary depending on the service you opt for – from Tenant Find Only to Fully Managed (commissions are often a percentage of the rent). You can negotiate fees, but you must satisfy yourself that the price usually reflects the effort your Letting Agent will put into letting your property. A lower commission may harm the service you receive.

8. What are your Terms & Conditions?

Before entering any agreement with your Letting Agent, ensure all details are confirmed in writing to you. This will save discrepancies and disputes in the future. You will also be asked to provide additional documentation regarding Money Laundering.
Your Agent HAS to conform to various legislative regulations. He/she is not asking you for the ‘fun’ of producing loads of documents, but to ensure everything is fair, equitable and LEGAL.

9. Are you a member of an Ombudsman scheme?

The market for lettings is changing, with Government led professional qualification schemes in the offing. Membership to a body such as ARLA (the Association of Residential Lettings Agents), the NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) or the OEA (Ombudsman of Estate Agents), OFT (Office of Fair Trading) is essential (this list is not exhaustive). These organisations ensure their members follow strict guidelines and have comprehensive complaints measures in place. These organisations themselves are changing – check out PROPERTYMARK.

10. Is your Lettings Team qualified in Lettings & Property Management?

If your Agent is a member of ARLA Propertymark or NAEA Propertymark, it proves that the members of staff have completed a course of study in the relevant property area. Following a professional qualification helps to ensure that all areas of relevance are covered in some depth, so that you, the Landlord, is advised correctly.

11. How are viewings conducted?

Obviously, you know your property better than anyone and will want it shown at its best. You are at liberty to conduct viewings yourself. However, Letting Agents are well trained in conducting viewings and your Agent should be available to offer accompanied viewings at all times. This will enable them to get a very quick response and feedback from the prospective tenant. You may wish your Agent to give feedback to you on all viewings, ‘too small/large/far away from the station/expensive’ etc so that amendments to the rental price can be made accordingly.

12. What are similar properties in the area priced at?

A professional Agent will be able to answer this question knowledgeably, especially with the range of on-line reports available on historical and current pricing. Although the answer to this question may vary greatly due to market fluctuations, its purpose is not really to gain a figure but work out the level of knowledge possessed. Unique properties are harder to value, and some ‘marketing’ activity may need to take place to establish a selling price. Remember, price equates to what a tenant is prepared to pay, and supply and demand, not the expectations of the Landlord.

13. How will my property be marketed?

Property Portals and Estate Agency websites are increasingly being used in the industry and to maximise the chance of a sale, online marketing is essential. Local, regional or national media still has a place, but so too do the window displays of your Agent, the fullness of their database of potential tenants, and their pro-activity in letting your property. Increasingly social media is playing a greater role in property marketing – it is worth finding an Agent who is up to date with technological developments to enhance promoting and advertising your property. Technology should not be used just for sake for it, but to help in seek out potential tenants.

14. What is your Lettings Agency’s fall-through rate?

Lets fall through for a variety of reasons – the Landlord may have a change of circumstances and decide not to let after all, the tenants may fail their referencing and therefore their application will not be pursued, etc.

15. What information do you include in your marketing literature?

While your Agent is inspecting your property he/she will be looking for strong selling points – a west facing rear garden, an en-suite to 2 bedrooms, off-street parking, garage etc. You want to be sure your Agent has looked around properly to be able to fully market it. The Agent has also to overcome objections to a small bedroom, out-dated kitchen, no parking – and needs to have the answers prepared in advance of those difficult questions posed by your prospective purchaser. The ‘Sales Particulars’ are therefore a very important marketing tool and include those all important photographs to show your property off to perfection!

16. How often will you stay in touch?

Letting your property can be an emotional roller-coaster and not being able to get hold of your Agent can make the process more so. Test your Agents to see which ones deliver the service you expect, before and after instructing them. You should agree with your Agent how often, and by which method, you want to receive feedback – daily, weekly, monthly? It really depends how much you trust your Agent and how much time you have. Typically, whilst your property is available the Agent is working hard on your behalf. There is more activity when the Tenancy details are being agreed, and then apart from property management issues, your contact will probably dwindle. Your Agent should keep you informed of how the let is proceeding, doing a lot of background work which you are unlikely to notice, except when you have to sign a document.

17. How long does your average property take to let?

Recently, there has been unprecedented demand for 2 bed properties in Brighton & Hove with demand outstripping supply. Therefore properties have literally being flying off the books, with lets sometimes being agreed prior to viewing! Some properties may take longer if they are ‘niche’ properties or if the Landlord has unrealistic expectations, or they aren’t being marketed appropriately.

18. Are you a Licensed Agent?

Your Agent will be able to explain why this is important to you. To remind you, the bodies involved, ARLA, NAEA etc, impose a strict Code of Conduct and have a redress system if things go wrong. Hopefully, your Letting Agent will have its own self-imposed good business practice, of which you should ask for details. For example ‘Do you have a Client Account’? ‘What is your Complaints Procedure?

19. Who works with you in the office?

Agencies vary in size from small independent, to multi-branch, and franchises. You will want to be assured that the staffing levels and spread of knowledge and experience is sufficient for your requirements.

20. Are you an on-line Agency?

The face of Lettings Agency is constantly changing as technology makes its mark on all aspects of communication, marketing, and customer relationships. Some Agencies are purely ‘on-line’ i.e. they may not have an office or offer any other service apart from promoting your property on-line.

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