Do we really need ‘real’ letting agents in this internet age?

If you believed everything you heard from online letting agents you might think that ‘traditional’ agents are a dying breed. Thankfully reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated (thanks to Mark Twain for that quote!).

Firstly, let me clarify what we mean by ‘traditional’ agents and online companies. As a traditional agent (sometimes referred to as a real agent) we have an office that people can visit, we meet all of the landlords and tenants who we work with, and most importantly, we are based in the area we serve.

Piccolo Property TeamI appreciate that at the moment the COVID-19 pandemic means that our offices are closed to visiors but here are just a few reasons why in our opinion, good ‘traditional’ agents are better than the online equivalent.

1.  Most online agents do everything online and can often be based miles away from the areas they are working in.

2.  An experienced local letting agent is more likely to find a better, more suitable tenant in a shorter period of time and, quite possibly, at a better rental price.

3.  The lettings industry is, and always will be a ‘people’ business. As a landlord do you really want to rent your property to somebody you (or your agent) have never met and has just filled in a form online and then been ‘processed’ via some automated procedure?

4.  Professional and personal vetting of tenants is one of the most important and valuable things we do as an agency. We’ve seen plenty of situations where good references have been forthcoming however the tenant has turned out to be unsuitable.

5.  By meeting potential tenants you can learn a lot about them and a face to face meeting can give an insight into a individual’s personality in a way which digital correspondence can’t.

Piccolo Property To Let Board

6.  Online agents tend to use the ‘computer says no’ approach and will dismiss or approve applications based on criteria without actually speaking to the applicant first. A quick phone call can often unearth information that wasn’t on the forms and often gives you a feel for the person and whether or not they will make a good tenant.Every tenancy is different and every tenancy is individual. An automated process can never deal with such individuality as by design it is set up to be process rather than people driven.

7.  A good local agent will know each of their landlords and tenants personally, as well as know the property and the area in detail. They will tailor the tenancy agreement accordingly, and likewise respond to maintenance issues with the benefit of background knowledge.

8.  Another point where good local agents differentiate themselves from online rivals is in terms of their availability. Many online agents run their operations from call centre type set-ups and don’t have an out of hours office system in place.

9.  We take calls from landlords and tenants in the evenings and at weekends when there is an emergency and as you’ll only have one point of contact with us you will never feel your problem is being passed from pillar to post.  A good local agent is going to take care of EVERYTHING for you. This will free up your time and provide reassurance that everything is being handled with maximum efficiency by someone who does this day in, day out and in our case, for the past tenyears and counting.

Thank you for reading and if you have any other property related questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – we’d love to help you.

Lou Fletcher, owner Piccolo Property Services

PS: If you want professional and honest advice from a trusted property professional, give us a ring on 01722 580059 or email:

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