If you are a landlord looking for a letting agency you have two options to choose from: a real-estate agency that provides letting services or a specialized agency that does only lettings. Both types of agencies can help you find a tenant, but an agency specialized exclusively in lettings is most of the time the better choice. There are a few reasons for this.
Greater Knowledge of Letting Opportunities
An agency specialized in lettings is usually more knowledgeable about local opportunities. The reason for this is that the agency, dealing exclusively with lettings, has a wider network of dedicated local contacts as well as a vast experience in searching for the right tenants. A real-estate agency, especially if well established, may also have its fair share of contacts and experience, but the bulk of its profit usually derives from other services, so its focus is naturally on them.
Easier to Deal With
Agencies that focus on lettings tend to be smaller, and to have only a limited number of clients at a time. This can be advantageous, especially if you want to market more than one property. The logic is that the agency will be more prompt to serve you and more careful with you all-round. Moreover, if it's a small local agency, you'll receive help that will seem more like a favour from a friend, and you will be able to negotiate directly the fees with the people who run it. Larger agencies that provide various real-estate services provide less personal services and are inflexible when it comes to fees.
Besides basic marketing services, i.e. finding you a tenant, specialized letting agencies also provide management services. If you buy management services, the agency will do in your stead all the tasks that you normally have to do as a tenant, including organizing credit checks, collecting the rent, paying the rented property's bills, inspecting the property every three months, doing repairs whenever necessary. If you choose management services you'll have to pay the letting agency a higher fee, usually at least 15% of the rental value. Many landlords dislike management services, but there are some who find them helpful. You should consider using them yourself if you have multiple rented properties and find it challenging to manage all of them at once.
An agency dealing exclusively with letting can be a better choice simply because it provides more specialized services that target specific residential areas and potential tenants. Finding the ideal tenant is easier for an agency that knows the local market well and that is experienced in marketing certain types of homes, flats for example. Often, such agencies are not those that offer letting services as an auxiliary to other real-estate services, but those focused exclusively on lettings.