How do you know if a letting agent is any good?
As we approach a year since we acquired the lettings business from Heather & Lay I reflect back on how lucky we were. The reality is with all the due diligence in the world we still didn’t know if this lettings business was any good. So, if I with over 35 years of experience, couldn’t recognise a good letting agent, how does a landlord?
Of course, my situation was different. I changed a couple of things to make a good letting agent even better. But how do you know from the outside if this agent can be trusted with such a large financial asset. There are the usual signs like members of The Property Ombudsman, ARLA, The Guild of Property Professionals, Safe Agent, Money Shield TDS or DPS. And while these all act as reassurance it does not provide a measure of quality of service and efficiency.
The major issue I discovered was extremely high staff turnover. This would make consistent quality customer service hard to achieve. Our amazing property managers now work in teams with a seasoned professional overseeing and supporting less experienced staff. It is this environment that enables us to deliver a consistently high standard of service. But as a landlord looking in how would you possible know this? How would landlords understand our ethos to treat our customers like family. How could they possible appreciate our straight-talking honesty until they experienced it. And unless you are an experienced Landlord would you even appreciate the value of that?
In our industry trustworthiness has become a scarce but valuable commodity. And Agents only have themselves to blame for it. It is so much easier to tell a little white lie than have that difficult and uncomfortable conversation. But it is that ability to confront issues that make it so valuable.
So, there it is. Who should you trust with your valuable asset? The most trustworthy agent you can find.