Google+ Pro’s & Cons of Agency Practice | Rosemount Letting & Estate Agents

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Letting Agency Pro’s

If you clicked on this link we take it that you feel you may benefit from being better informed how letting agents operate - warts and all. So we’ll tell you the good, the bad and the ugly! Brace yourself.

Now don’t get us wrong, there are more and more agents, like ourselves, who are “fighting the good fight” - people who provide a professional service in a fair and decent way. Professionals!

At Rosemount Property we genuinely believe success should be based on the service we provide. Our aim is to give you, the customer, a great experience of our letting service through open, clear business practice.
Great service for a fair price.

Simple enough right ? So why all this talk of honesty, integrity, transparency ?

Letting Agency "Con’s"

So if “pro’s” is short for professionals – what do we mean by “con’s” ?

As landlord's ourselves, we feel you should be aware of how some Letting Agents operate. It’s only fair. Some of the practices we've seen are unacceptable. They're the reason we no longer work for anyone else. They offend our core values. They are the reason we set up Rosemount Property.

Double entry what?

So your letting agent charges you a management fee? OK.

Your letting agent may also charge you additional “commission” for works carried out by a contractor?
At Rosemount Property, for properties under management, we don’t do that – we feel that’s what the management fee is for - unless it's a full "project managed" refurb.!
But so long as the landlord is aware of all such costs (they often aren't!) and agrees – OK (ish).

But here’s the problem.
In addition to those charges – there are some agents locally (we understand many) who have “an arrangement” with their trade contractors. Here's how it works :-

The contractor submits the cost of their services and a separate invoice to present to the landlord!
This can be 10%, 20% (pick a figure!) above the cost charged to the Agent. We’ve heard of cases where it's way over double! And that’s before “commission” and in addition to the “management fee”. It is plain wrong!

I understand this practice is called "double entry" book-keeping - I have another term for it!

Worryingly, we believe this has become common practice to the extent that many contractors consider it normal in order to secure agency work. It's difficult to spot and difficult to prove.
Of course there are variations on this, and the trade contractors aren't always even aware of it.
It’s easy to understand why lots of people (the “trades” included) don’t like it!

You should be aware - this is going on in some “well-known” places!

A “fresh approach” is needed …

In our experience “good people” attract “good people”. At Rosemount Property we have an ever growing network of trades people who share our values. It’s surprising how helpful people become when we tell them that we don’t make any “commission” or “margin” on their work.

At Rosemount Property we’re pro-active and competitive in finding trade professionals who also provide good service for a fair price. Most people are comfortable with the idea of fair pay for a good job. And we really do take the “competitive” part very seriously. If you hear about better service providers, we want to meet them!

What do you mean “Hidden fees” ?

At Rosemount Property we're committed to open, transparent business practice.
The reason we're so committed to business integrity is because we’ve seen what “option B” looks like –
and it isn’t pretty!
What's described above is certainly a “hidden fee” – but in our experience, fees are often hidden in plain sight.
Here’s how :-

Not all fully included

The landlord meets with an agent to “sign up”. The agent talks them through their “service options” but neglects to mention the “add-on” fees hidden in the small print, particularly at the start of the tenancy.

Examples to watch out for are the “one-off marketing fee”, the “set-up” or “joining fee” (typically around £200).
Then there’s the additional levy on the “first month” (typically around 40% or a fixed minimum – maybe £300).

Then there are the fees you may assume are included in the service package that nice person agreed with you.
Examples are Inventory costs (maybe £60 – £120+), referencing fees ( around £80), an “admin” fee to lodge the deposit ( £20 - £30), additional advertising!!! (£60).

Clear communication

The point here is the “hidden fees” we’ve just looked at might be considered “all well and good” - IF - you're aware that you’ve agreed to them. If they aren’t clearly explained or brought to your attention, maybe you can see how a landlord can unexpectedly find themselves £500 (or even £1000) out of pocket at each change of tenancy.
We’ve seen it happen with other agents - repeatedly - and we don’t like it.
Click here to see our Services and Prices.

No notification of charges ?

This is the most shocking way of "hiding" fees - but it is being used - so be aware!
Your agent has just charged fees you were not aware of (as described above).
Surely you’d know from your Account Statement – right?

Well no – at least not if your small print says that you are not issued a statement if your account is “in arrears”.

“In arrears !!!” – you want to know what's happened to your rental income.

Sorry – no can do – you are in arrears!

This can be a recurring scenario with each and every change of tenancy, so if the agent has this practice, at the time each tenancy starts most landlords will NOT receive an itemised account highlighting the fees which have put them in arrears. In practice, many landlords will never even realise.

Even worse, if they do realise, it’s very difficult to work out (or prove) exactly what happened!

A fresh, efficient service - with old fashioned values

Rest assured, with Rosemount Property you will never experience us making any attempt to hide the fees you pay. We'll do our best to keep our costs simple, fair, clear and reasonable.
Click here to see our Services and Prices.

We have seen plenty of other "dodgy" practices, most relying on small print. They aim to relieve customers of hundreds (or even thousands) of pounds at a time.

At Rosemount Property we don't want to paint a gloomy picture - on the other hand, many landlords are left wondering what is going on - and that's not fair. The point is this :-

Letting agents are not created equal

There are good, ethical, decent, honest agents out there. Choose wisely.