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If you are a property owner looking to rent, then hiring a letting agent might seem like the fuss-free option. But picking the wrong letting agent can end up costing you money, time and stress.

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According to Rent Pro, the percentage of landlords using letting agents has spiked in recent years, particularly with the rise of modern technology such as property inventory software, so there clearly are some benefits to hiring one. But what do you need to watch out for in order to keep the process as simple and stress-free as possible?

Beware of hidden costs

Always make sure that you read the small print in your contract. Often you’ll find hidden costs such as renewal fees, admin fees and tenant fees. If you don’t want to be stung with a hefty and unexpected bill you should always ensure you clarify all charges with your letting agent. Charging tenants may also be off-putting and lose you potential business.

Check they’re verified

Since October 2014, government-led regulations have been put in place that are designed to keep letting agents in check and protect landlords. Your letting agent should comply with at least one of the three redress schemes, and if they don’t, they are technically breaking the law. This says a lot about their ethics as a company.

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Experience and reputation

Generally speaking, a good letting agency will have been in business for some time and almost always comes with a reputation – good or bad. Do your research by looking online and speak to other landlords – forums and reviews can be a good way to gauge other people’s experiences with the firm.

Performance, response rate and success

Talk to the agent about their methods and success rate before sealing the deal. A good letting agency will offer different levels of service. Many modern agencies use technological tools such as Property Inventory Software rather than being stuck in a time warp of outdated practices. You can also judge a lot about an agency by their response rate and customer service. Going that extra mile for their clients means a lot.

Good advertising

Good advertisements is everything in the letting business. Opt for an agency that operates on large websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla. If their adverts would entice you then they should entice potential tenants.