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Flat to Let - which agent?

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Sunday 17 February 2008 9.18pm
We have a flat to let in Lower Marsh and were wondering which agent to go with? There are so many locally now and we want someone who can manage it as well. Can anyone help/advise please? Many thanks.
Monday 18 February 2008 12.01pm
I'm looking to move back in to the area so might be interested in the flat, although since moving out of my dream flat overlooking the Crossbones Graveyard a few months ago I'm discovering that there's very little in SE1 that's reasonably priced and worth living in.

As for managing agents, I don't know anyone with a good word to say for any of them!
Monday 18 February 2008 1.34pm
It's an unusual loft-style flat with views of London Eye and we are looking for around £475 per week....
Monday 18 February 2008 2.14pm
About £125 a week over my budget…

Sorry I can't be more help.
Tuesday 19 February 2008 6.49am
Why don't you do the letting yourself, it's honestly not that hard. All the letting agents are useless, they just don't care. You can use the same tenant cheking services that the agents use, for about £100 per tenant. This inludes full reference and credit checks. You can even take out insurance etc. to over you for loss.

If the flat is quite new then, in my experience, you don't get called much by the tenants.

On a flat of this value, you'll save yourself thousands per year doing the let yourself. I find tenants via Loot, do a full check on them and it's all been fine.
Tuesday 19 February 2008 7.36am
I agree there. Agents are just the PITS. They want all their commission a year up front. And their "management" means they call YOU wherever you are and say "the washing machine's broken, get a new on sent round from Harrods"...Let the flat yourself via Loot or Gumtree, and if it's in good nick you wont need much "managing". The inconveniences - and they DO exist, I will vouch for that - of having to have a handy plumber or electrician for emergencies is easily solved - get yourselves a list of decent tradespeople which you can give to your tenants, and arrange how you pay the tradespeople (depending on whether it's the tenants' fault or your responsibility - for example if the boiler packs up it's your shout, if the electricity blows because they've overloaded it, then it's their responsibility). It's worth getting your ducks in a row, and then handling it yourself. These days with email and mobile phones, there's no need to feel that you're out there in an Ashram in India with no idea whether or not people are burning your house down.
Tuesday 19 February 2008 1.08pm
And don't forget that all deposits now have to go into a government-approved account:
Tuesday 19 February 2008 2.59pm
The deposit part is very easy to manage yourself too -it can all be done online and it costs nothing to do. The service provided is great, and easy to use.
Wednesday 20 February 2008 10.46am
I am letting my flat and am managing it myself and I am glad I do. Our flat is in good nick and needs little managing other than making sure that some servicing of the aircon etc is done. So,I would certainly not have it managed by the agent, which costs a fortune.

Having said that, we have very good experience with Hastings International in Borough High Street, who let our flat in an afternoon, without even advertising. They handled it really well, and it was hassle free. They found good tenants and I was impressed with the 'vetting' process. All in all very professional.
Wednesday 20 February 2008 6.19pm
Thank you very much for that. I think I may try doing it myself, but I live in Cornwall so it's a bit difficult to pop round should anything go amiss!
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