Is Self Managing a Good Idea?

We are regularly asked by both professional and accidental Landlords whether or not Self-Management of their property(s) is a good idea?

In both cases our answer is ’not usually’ bearing in mind that in most situations we are talking about an essential monthly income stream as well the longer term retirement / pension provisions of our clients.  We know that a mishandled response to a faulty thermostat in a boiler system or a water leak in an airing cupboard can either cost a Landlord £ 50 or hundreds of pounds.

When we recommend redecoration between Lets or of the Communal areas – it’s because they need doing if we are to maximise the rent and minimise rental voids. Beauty is not always in the eye of the beholder but in the preserve of an experience Letting Agent.

In brief;

A good number of professional Landlords don’t actually have the robust administration systems, efficient trades and teams in place to do things really well. Any omissions and mistakes nowadays may turn out to be expensive – not least if these relate to taxation. Being a ‘smart & savvy’ landlord means you need to be a master all sorts of skills depending on just how closely involved you are in the running / maintaining of your investment property, to include;

  • Advertising and marketing your property.
  • Finding and vetting tenants.
  • Dealing with domestic emergencies.
  • Rent collection and dealing with rent arrears.
  • General property upkeep and maintenance.
  • Dealing with keeping the books and understanding the tax implications.
  • Making sure you are aware of new legislation as it is announced, and that you fully comply.

It really is a big challenge/responsibility and yet some Landlords run their property investment as a secondary side-line alongside a full-time job, whilst others try and manage a portfolio of properties on their own. Yes it’s true – some Landlords believe that they can successfully run their rental property empire by themselves and can save money by not employing a specialist Lettings agency.

We understand this viewpoint but know from lots of hands on experience that for some DIY Landlords, this can be a false economy. Many Landlords just don’t have the time to do the ‘day- job’, accommodate all their family commitments and then find the time to do tenant viewings (daytime/night time/weekdays/Saturdays & Sundays), chase rental payments and deal with minor maintenance issues.
In addition, if they are not up to date with the most current legislation – and this is changing all the time for investment property owners – they could find yourself facing a legal bill or even a fine for non-compliance. You could also potentially damage your reputation which in Harrogate ( more like a village in terms of ‘who knows who’ than a big town) is not a good situation to be in when you want to attract top rents & reliable new tenants.

This is why it is so important for Landlords to identify a really good letting agent (we recommend Myrings!) who will expertly manage their property. The big question is – how do you find the right letting agent?

There are a number of important indicators which should be taken into account when choosing your Lettings agency, aside from the obvious questions you would ask, such as whether the Agent has  Professional Indemnity Insurance and Client Money Protection in place, for instance:

Reputable agents have to keep up to date with changes in legislation and undergo training and examinations to ensure they have the right knowledge to advise landlords on a whole range of issues from health and safety to investing in the right BTL property.

  • How do they treat (and stand with) your target market?  – Pose as a tenant. Your first contact with any prospective agency could be as a tenant. How do they treat you? Do they do accompanied visits to properties? How responsive and professional are they?
  • Check out testimonials – take a look at their website, and ask if they can offer you some direct communication with a current landlord. For example, at Myrings we can provide direct contact if required with Landlords, Tenants and Tradesmen who are happy to provide a testimonial.
  • Does the potential agent answer the telephone? – When you call them do they answer the phone straight away? A competent lettings agency will answer the phone quickly and professionally, ensuring that the caller, whether they are a potential Tenant, a Tenant with a problem, or a Landlord – are dealt with efficiently.( numbers are critical – Myrings have five dedicated members of staff in our Rental Department).
  • Question organisational skills – Checking out an agent’s organisational skills can tell you so much about their lettings service. A simple way to check is when they look for keys – do they go to them directly or do they hesitate looking for them?
  • Systemisation – How systemised are they? What kind of estate agency style of CRM (customer relationship management) software do they use? Is it fully operational in every aspect of functional management, so if you have a query, they can directly go to it within your file? ( Myrings use state of the art CFC software).
  • Tax efficiency nowadays is critical . Monthly reports on Rent received / paid and details of expenditure ere essential. 
  • Legislation – there are lots of ever-changing legalities surrounding being a Landlord. How up to date is your prospective agency on current Landlords’ legislation?  It’s important not to be delinquent on Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards/Exceptions or any of the other new statutory requirements to include . Right to Rent Legislation – Do they carry out Right To Rent checks?
  • Reports – check that when your agent visits your property whether a report is provided. After all, how do you know if they have actually been there if they don’t provide a report? The same with inventories – a lettings agency may say they provide inventories, but how will you know unless you see a copy for yourself?
  • Property Redress Scheme – are they registered with a Property Redress Scheme?
  • Services – what services are included as part of the contract? For example, will they arrange for your annual gas safety check etc.?

Once you have chosen your Lettings agency, you can start to build a good relationship, and hopefully feel confident that your property/properties are in safe hands for many years to come.

If you wish to discuss the above or are interested in the Property market in Harrogate then please come along and see us and enjoy a free no obligation chat about the property services we provide.


About Charles

This blog follows the residential Sales and Lettings market in Harrogate, Knaresborough and surrounding villages.You will find information, analysis and guidance here along with news about Harrogate. I’m Charles Myring working in the Myrings Estate Agents Ltd business alongside my son Simon , daughter Gemma and dedicated sales teams. If you're thinking of Selling / Buying / Letting / Renting property locally Myrings would be happy to assist.