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Estate agents offer tips after buy-to-let boom

20 April 2004
As the buy-to-let market booms the National Association of Estate Agents has produced a how-to guide to help investors dodge pitfalls.

Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the NAEA, starts by advising landlords to, "always seek professional advice.

"I hear too many stories of individuals who try to go it alone and end up having real problems. A mistake can often cost you more than the agent's fees," he adds.

Moreover he advises to "not always hold out for the maximum possible rent as it is better to let a property as soon as possible to minimise void periods."

Other suggestions include the using letting agents as they know the local market and having a good relationship with local contractors for management and repair work.

The NAEA add that a good letting agent could take over administrative and management worries, as well as advising on furnishing in relation to local demand.

It explains: "Agents will advise you of a potential rental income based on their valuation and the local market. Do not be tempted to go with the agent who merely predicts the highest rental return, instead ask for some guidance as to the rent for other similar properties and what the demand is like in the local area."

"Similarly, do not be automatically attracted by the lowest fees. These can vary greatly between agents but are usually based on a percentage of rental income."

Finally, the NAEA says it is important to ensure that the agent you are using is a member of a professional body, as this ensures professionalism, experience, and high levels of service for both you and your tenants.