How to Make a Good Impression on Your Estate Agent
These days, many more people choose to rent their homes, making competition fierce on the rental market. As a result, tenant vetting is much more thorough than it used to be, making it considerably more difficult for those who choose to let.
If you’ve ever been a prospective tenant, you’ll know that it’s the landlord who ultimately decides who will live in their property. Of course, some property owners will give estate agents more control than others. But if there are multiple bids, a landlord will likely be the one who makes the call.
It’s important to remember that landlords have much to consider. They’ll need to think about the length of the tenancy, and who they feel most comfortable taking on as a tenant. They may be seeking a family to settle in the property, or may only want to rent short term, in which case a single professional may be more appropriate.
But believe it or not, most landlords aren’t out there to make as much money out of their tenants as possible – they would much rather have pleasant, respectful tenants who can look after their property and pay their rent on time, than someone who offers the highest price.
You can be assured that your estate agent will likely provide a landlord with advice – and their opinion of you may well be the clincher that determines whether or not you get to rent your dream home – so it pays to make a good impression.
To register with an agency, you can either give them your details and specifications over the phone, or visit them in branch. When you do so, you’ll want to be polite, professional and stipulate what you’re looking for as clearly as possible. It’s best to be upfront, so be honest with them about your situation – you don’t want to find there are issues down the line.
If you’re a student or are receiving a low income, you may need to provide a guarantor for the property. Most landlords require a guarantor as a precautionary measure for those who are unable to prove a substantial income. The income you’ll need to provide proof of will vary depending on which agency you use, the monthly price of your rent, and possibly even the area in which you live.
If you’re asked to provide a guarantor, you’ll need to find out exactly what the landlord’s requirements are. Guarantors usually need to be in full-time employment and earning a yearly salary above a certain threshold to be able to cover your rent should you default. You’ll need to speak to your agent to find out how much this will be for the property you have in mind.
Guarantors (normally family members) will be asked to sign a document agreeing to cover your rental payments should you fall into arrears. This is to ensure the protection of the landlord, and is a fairly standard practice across the UK.
Once you have submitted your application, it will usually be subject to referencing. Most agencies charge a fee to obtain references, so it’s best to find out what this is in advance so you don’t encounter any unexpected costs.
Your estate agent may collect references from previous landlords, employers, and people who know you personally. They will usually perform a credit check, too, so it’s a good idea to make sure you have all of this in order before the referencing procedure starts.
Remember that it is in an agency’s interest to complete the referencing procedure as quickly as possible, but inevitably there are sometimes delays. It’s best not to hassle your agent – you may need them to vouch for you should you come up against problems with your references.