Independent vs Corporate Agents
When a landlord is choosing which agents to have value their property they will have to decide whether they like the idea of having a smaller, independent, family run type agency let and or manage the property or whether they prefer a larger corporate brand.
Before the days of online search engines and property portals there was a time when nearly all landlords would opt for a corporate agency because they had the biggest high street presence and a chain of offices which meant their property would be in front of the biggest possible audience. They would also probably have more applicants registered than smaller independents so landlords would have a greater chance of letting quicker and at a higher price.
The downside to all this was more often than not the landlords and applicants were treated as a number rather than as an individual. When they call up they are not remembered and the staff member on the other side of the phone would be working from notes on the computer (or good old registration cards!) rather than being remembered and having built up a good working relationship. If you instruct a corporate agent they are more likely than not have a call centre type approach to property management which is centralised and usually miles away. The "property managers" will never have seen your property and will probably have never spoken to you before. They will no doubt not have any property qualifications and possibly no experience of property related issues. This is very different to independents- smaller independents may only have 1 or 2 Lettings staff who do both front end negotiation and property management but you will know exactly who they are and they are usually experienced in property. The most successful independent agents will have dedicated in-house property managers who only deal with property maintenance and are not distracted with offers coming in or new business- their priority is to sort issues and keep your property well maintained. They will know your property, know you and you will have the same contact to deal with.
Times have changed and now we are in the digital age independents will have your property listed on large internet portals too so you will not be missing out on applicants like before (please note- always check your agent is on the biggest portals like right move and zoopla because that's where the biggest bulk of professional tenants search).
Independents agents are often run by the person (or family member) who set them up and will really care about how the company is perceived and will adapt to the clients. Corporate agents will have a rigid process in the way clients are dealt with and set procedures compared to independents who will be more flexible and create a more personalised service.
If you prefer to use an independent agent then always remember to do your research- there have been a huge amount of large corporate agents taking over small independent agents but keeping the original name. This means that although they come across as good local independent agents they will have to conform to the strict rigid processes and fees created by the corporates so you may not get the quality of service you desire.
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