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7 Questions Most Agents Fail To Ask To Protect Their Reputation

7 Questions Most Agents Fail To Ask To Protect Their Reputation

Letting agents and rental administration agencies earn their salt, gain reputation and respect in the market by being dependable, trustworthy and striving, at best, to deliver services with minimal awful experiences. In process they are obliged to make sure all services are rendered within the ambit of the law so as to protect the rights of the landlord to earn a fair and reasonable rent, and that care is taken with the rental property throughout the occupation of by the tenant. In the same vein, the agent or the agency is expected to ensure full uninterrupted enjoyment and fair usage of the rental property by the tenant in return for payment of agreed rental amount.


For many years before, the opportunity to afford owning a property arrived, I was a tenant. I’ve also been fortunate to own property rented out to tenants and managed by an estate agency. I got to learn that, in this time, that it is really not easy to be a tenant neither it is for to be a landlord. However, the most difficult position must be that of the agent being caught in the middle between these two.


No amount of commission or management fee will save you or your business, once reputation is in tatters.


As a business, from the many years experience we have in buildings condition assessments and rental inspections, and, add to that, the number of years of managing residential complexes, though we know of a myriad of checks and verifications done on tenants, in our experience there are little, if any, checks that are conducted on the landlord before take-on. I mean the kind of checks that will ensure your reputation as an agent in the market is not screwed over, left deep in sewerage, and stuck with a misfortune of having to mop-up the mess afterwards.


Most agencies are gleefully happy to take on an additional property, an extra client, for the next commission opportunity. Few landlords in the market are rejected outright. In the process reputations are ruined.


Experience have taught us, me, a lot and, from that, we have found (designed) a quick test one can do to help protect yourself and the business reputation from ruin by avoiding taking on impossible, unrealistic or nightmarish landlords. These quick questions can help you as an agent (agency) to separate chaff from wheat, thus avoiding landing with a nightmare landlord. (NB: If a property is first time rental on the market complete only Question 5 -7)

1. Did the property have tenant/s before or is this first time on the market?

2. Who managed the property before, another agent or yourself ?

3. Why do want you to change how the property is managed?

4. Why (or how) did the previous tenants leave?

5. Have you planned for maintenance costs and how much?

6. What arrangements have you made for payment of municipal rates?

7. Who is (going to be) in charge of decisions regarding this property, you alone or with others?


Taking the time to go through these questions with a prospective landlord (or a representative of the the property owner), will help to either increase the happy feeling about the potential of the property and the landlord as good additions to your portfolio of clients or a feeling of an uninvited migraine arriving into your life will start to set in.


Do not to forget, that, on the other side of the landlord’s promises, in the eyes of the tenant, whatever the hell that happens with the rental property it is the agent’s fault, and to say the least, it is the agent’s sheer incompetence. In the end, tales about unreasonable landlord or stories about non-responsive owner will ever get the agent out of the giant sticky mess. Therefore, no amount of commission or management fee will save you or your business, once reputation is in tatters.


In conclusion, remember that, there are landlords almost everywhere but good landlords are hard to come by. You must just be willing to do a little bit of homework, ask the right questions and reject nightmare landlords.


Article Credit: Mashilo Pitjeng

Bio: Registered Property Valuer. Chairperson Policy and Advocacy SAIBPP. Chairperson Research Committee PSCC. IoDSA Registered Member. Facilitator EAAB CPD Training - Real Estate Environment and Property Valuations. Consults on real estate asset management, property risk solutions, real estate research and transformation.

Copy write: www.myhomecheck.co.za

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