There’s pretty much nothing you cannot do online now. From your weekly shopping to buying stocks and shares, if people want to do it, they can use the Internet to get it done.
So, if you’re an investor with a property to let, should you consider using an online letting agent to try and find a tenant?
It’s a good question, and one that we will look to answer as we investigate whether online letting agents are any good.
Online Letting Agents Vs High Street Letting Agents
The obvious place to start is by looking at how online letting agents compare to their high street equivalents. After all, most people have used their local traditional agent but not so many have tried an online one.
In many respects you get a very similar service. For example, both will usually get your property listed for rent on the major portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla. Both will also offer various related services such as referencing, rent collection, and so on.
Where they differ is that your local high street letting agent will commonly have a list of prospective tenants to hand. That means they can often get your property rented out within a matter of days, sometimes hours!
However, what you gain in speed you lose in cost, as online agents are usually significantly cheaper as they don’t have the large overheads of physical premises. Online agents are usually more flexible in terms of exactly what’s included, and what isn’t included, in your package. You only pay for what you actually need.
Online Letting Agents Vs Private ‘DIY’ Rentals
Another consideration is whether you should use a letting agent at all, or whether you should go it alone. Letting a property isn’t quite as complex as selling one (though there’s still plenty of legal paperwork to complete and rules to follow), which means if you’re an experienced investor, avoiding agents altogether may be tempting.
While it may be relatively simple to find a tenant without the use of a letting agent, you should be aware that this route involves much more work! You also won’t be able to list your letting on many of the property portals as most only accept listings from registered estate agents.
You’ll also need to arrange and conduct all of the viewings yourself. This can be particularly time-consuming and is one of the major benefits of using an agent. Most online letting agents allow you to add on a hosted viewings package at the time of placing your order.
When we first decided that we wanted to become landlords, we initially appointed a local well known agent to manage our rental property so that we could let them do the hard work. We quickly found that this was not going to be the case.
Here is why we stopped using a letting agent to manage our rental property and why we decided to do it ourselves. Read more
How To Choose An Online Letting Agent
So, if after reading this you have decided that you want to take the plunge into the world of online letting agents, you’ll need to consider which one to choose.
There are several options available and so your first port of call should be to consult with online letting agent reviews. Doing so will allow you to check the reputation of each agent and ensure the service they offer meets your needs.
When comparing online letting agents, be sure that you are comparing like-for-like services. What is included in each package varies wildly from one agent to another. That means that whereas one agent may look cheap, it may only offer a tenant finding service and nothing else. Where an agent looks expensive, it may be because they offer the full suite of services you may expect if you used a high street letting agent.
So, Are Online Letting Agents Any Good?
When all things are considered, it’s fair to say that yes, online letting agents can be an excellent choice. Naturally, there are both good and bad online agents out there so you’ll still need your wits about you.
However, online letting agents give you the opportunity to get listed on major property portals while also building a package that exactly suits your needs, saving you money in the process.
Therefore, the next time you have a property to rent out, consider whether you may be better off using an online letting agent.