Should you use a Rental Finder/ Agent?
Letting agents work on behalf of the Landlord. No matter how nice they appear, they are being paid a big commission by the landlord, not the renter! That means their loyalties lie with the owner and they will always try and achieve the best price and deal for them, not you.
In recent years ‘Property Finders’ have set up. The reverse of Estate agents, they assist those searching for a property. Although they first set up to help buyers find properties, these agents quickly diversified into finding rental properties for time-poor professionals, relocation companies and Human Resources departments of companies.
Property finders hold your hand through the whole rental process, then do the ‘dirty’ work on your behalf. They will go through many of the steps outlined in this guide – sorting your priority list, ensuring you are a serious renter, helping you find properties suited to you, negotiate price and terms on your behalf and connect you to other professionals who can help with moving.
LondonAndProperty.com gives you all the tools to be just as smart and in tune with the market and latest rental properties as a property finder would. However there are certain individuals who may find their services more useful than others:
Relocating from outside London: If you are moving to london from elsewhere in the UK, or especially from abroad, you may only have a little time in London to find and secure a flat or house to rent. One solution is to get focused, follow the tips on this website, explore our area guys and then go hunting with a focused mind. You could also get a fully furnished serviced apartment or short term let to give you time to find and decide on your longer term rental. OR… you could use a Property Finder, who will cut down on the research work, view properties ahead of you and get you access when you are available to just the rentals that fit your criteria.
Company paid move Should your company be relocating you, check if they are prepared to pay for a property finder. If they will pick up the cost, it will make life easier for you. Your company may use a full relocation agent (who also helps with transporting furniture and other logistics). If this is the case the relocation agents may assign you a property finder anyway, or they will definately know of a good one, so ask them.
Time Poor If you lack time because you are working crazy hours, travelling all the time or just having too much fun, a property finder will reduce the time you take to research, view and secure a property by upto 80%. Should you have left it until the last minute (2 weeks or less) to find a rental, a property finder will be able to get you in quickly to see properties which will be available in the short time you have and be able to widen your search areas to those that fit your demands, to find that vacant home for you in super quick time. They can also help with getting your credit and reference checks speeded up, or give landlords and letting agents the confidence to sign you up without everything in place.
Benefits of using a Property Finder to find your rental
1. Managing the search process, speaking to agents, private landlords and searching property portals (some of which are not public)
2. Filtering out properties so you only view those that would match your criteria
3. Access to properties at times some other viewers won’t be allowed in – like late evenings or weekends. Letting agents or landlords may trust a property finder to take you on a viewing without them present, so sometimes you benefit from more flexible viewing times.
4. Quicker access to new properties agents are taking on – use our tips to appear a serious renter and you can see these first too.
5. “Inside knowledge.” This could be about the area, knowing to avoid certain streets or buildings.
6. Negotiating tactics and skills. They will handle all conversations on your behalf and advise on what price to pay to secure the property. They should negotiate you favourable terms for a deposit and your reduce the break-clause and notice period to the minimum. If you need help because you lack a credit history or are not a British citizen, there should be ways in which they can mitigate concerns landlords will have.
7. In a competitive property market (like prime central London), they can get your offer taken more seriously in some instances and secure you the property if several people want to rent it.
Although Property Finders have alot to offer, not all agents can offer such a service to high-standards: they are varied in their expertise and success – there are no qualifications or performance measurements for property finders. However, they need to earn a living so they won’t waste your time and will work hard to get you into a new home quickly.
How much will I pay a Property finder?
Rental Property Finders charge a ‘retainer’ of a few hundred pounds. To ensure you are serious and not a time-waster, the upfront payment guarantees their attention and hard work. Once you rent a property they have found you, they often charge 1 months rent. Some finders will deduct the retainer fee, others won’t, so be clear on pricing when searching for an agent. This is a little cheeky as it doesn’t take more work finding a flat that rents for £2,000 per week, versus one that rents for £500 a week, however it follows the Letting Agent model of charging more the higher the letting price, so is widely accepted.
Will they really look after me first?
An property finder can only fairly represent one renter in each price category and area (if they have 2 renters with a £500 a week budget who each want a 2-bed flat in Shoreditch, they would have to pick a favourite, so they avoid having competing clients. You will have around 3 months of service in return for your retainer fee, which for a rental, is as long as you need to secure a property. The big commission you pay can be partly recouped if they negotiate a discount on the rental price – this doesn’t always happen though, so don’t rely on it.