How to Manage Your Estate Agent

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter

You have decided to approach an estate agent to help you find a suitable tenant for your property to let, but how do you make sure the extra income does not turn into a headache? You can save yourself a lot of trouble and tears by doing your homework first. The most important step is probably to find a reputable estate agent. The economic downturn forced a lot of estate agents to close their doors, but while the market is smaller, finding the right agent for your property to let should still take some consideration. While a small independent estate agent is not necessarily a bad choice and can sometimes be less expensive than a bigger established agent, it is important that your estate agent should have a good track record. It might be a good idea to ask friends and colleagues to refer you to a reputable company. You can use a sole agency or multiple agencies, but remember to keep the costs of using more than one agent in mind. While driving around your neighborhood, be on the lookout for advertising boards. Prominent advertising is often a sign that the estate agent would be serious about marketing your property to let. Also have a look at the agent’s website – if the site list properties that have been on the market for months, it could indicate that you will not get top class service. A consumer friendly website that is easy to use and answer your questions is a great place to start. The fact that the site is updated regularly is also a good sign. Make a list of a few estate agents that you wish to interview. Visit their offices and ask them about their previous clients, experience and focus. Also ask about their fees, how and when payments will be made and what type of services you can expect. Compare the fees of estate agents but beware of choosing an agent solely based on fees. They should also indicate if they verify that a prospective tenant has a clean credit record. When you are satisfied that you found the right person, show them your property to let and explain what your expectations are. A knowledgeable agent will be able to advise you on how much rent you can expect and who the most suitable tenants would be. Find out how the agent will market your property and how much commission you will have to pay on the transaction. The terms and conditions of the lease should be stipulated in a contract, but make sure you understand everything (including the small print!) before you sign the contract. Keep your copy in a safe place. Communication is probably the most important aspect of ensuring you get the best value for your money. Make sure that your estate agent keeps you informed about the progress. Do not phone the agent every day demanding an update, but make sure that you are informed about the developments and that you receive your payments on a regular basis as stipulated in your contract. Finally, you could save yourself a lot of effort by following the tips listed on your favorite property website.

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