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Holding firm in the rental market

Posted: October 2014

By Jo Eccles

With so many people renting these days, it’s often a hot topic. Approximately half of our clients will have tried to find a rental property themselves before giving up and calling us in, or they’ve secured a property previously and vowed never to do it alone again. So, we often hear a lot of complaints about the UK rental system.

One major complaint is the fact that estate agents often show completely unsuitable properties which are either way above budget, or don’t meet their requirements. I’m sure most people reading this can empathise: you’re called by an estate agent to come and view the ‘perfect property’, so you leave work early or dash out at lunchtime and race across London, only to view a property which isn’t remotely what you’re looking for, leaving you feeling incredibly frustrated.

To come to estate agents’ defense, the rental market can move quickly, and sometimes they won’t have seen the property themselves yet as it’s so new on the market. Some agents may not be trying to waste your time, whereas others are much more target driven and have to conduct a certain number of viewings a day, so they will have no issue pushing properties onto you which aren’t right, just to keep their manager happy.

If you do receive such a call from an agent, glean as much information as you can from them. For example, if you’re security conscious, double check with them what floor the property is on. Or if you have previously told the agent that you need outside space, confirm with them that there is in fact a garden or balcony. If the agent doesn’t know, ask them to find out. Someone in their team will have valued the property in the first place, so they should be able to get answers.

Remember, the more specific you are about what you’re looking for, the easier it is for estate agents to know which properties to put in front of you. So, by asking questions and holding firm on what you want (as long as it’s realistic) means that when the right property does come up, you really will be the agent’s first call – and then you can do the dash from the office!

If you have a question you’d like Jo to answer please email info@sppropertygroup.com or tweet her @joeccles.