Renting your property in the Oxford rental market – part 1

Getting started with letting your property can be stressful and difficult to know where to begin. This 5 part series will provide you with some useful tips on renting your property in the Oxford rental market.

Part 1 of 5 starts with a look at doing your own research.

You should have a clear strategy when letting your property.  It is worth investing time to be as informed as possible so you do not have to solely rely on others to guide you. There are several aspects to good preparation:

1) Choosing an agent

  • Qualification – Some agents are members of regulatory bodies such as ARLA but many are not. Choosing someone who is a member of these bodies gives you peace of mind that they are providing a professional service and complying with rules such as client money protection.
  • Price – There will also be range of cost – traditional high street agents are likely to be more expensive as they have higher overheads, those with other models may have more flexibility on pricing. Always take care to look for any extra charges – such as tenancy setup fees. These are often not transparent and raise the cost to you significantly.
  • Approach – What is the agent’s approach to lettings? Are they mostly interested in finding you a tenant, or are they also discussing key compliance legislation and property management strategies with you? Most importantly, explore your options. There are plenty of agents out there. It is best to meet with at least 3 so you can get a feel of what people offer and who is the right fit for you.

2) Understanding your property

  • Research – Before you meet with your chosen agents, research the local property market and try to find an approximate rent for your property. This is achievable using portals such as Rightmove or OnTheMarket (check out our guide on using property searches to find your price). This allows you to sense check what you are being told by agents. They should have better data and experience for finding the best rent but you will be able to tell if they are in the right region. It will also give you an idea of what properties you have competing with yours on the market.
  • Compare – Check the quality of these other properties – is yours better maintained? If so, this sets it up for success when it hits the market. If others are in better condition, consider whether a bit of work is needed. Your agent should be able to advise you on this.

3) Compliance

  • Legislation – There is an abundance of law that impacts lettings. You are not expected to know it all but is worth having an idea of the essentials. Research subjects such as Gas Safety, Electrical Safety, Energy Performance Certificates (and MEES), Legionella, and Smoke alarms. We will delve more into the requirements for compliance on day 4 of this course.
  • Challenge – You can use this information to challenge your agent in order to make sure that they are up-to-date with the latest rules. Agents should be able to tell you about all the requirements and advise you on what should be in place prior to your property being let and what should be covered later in the process.

In part 2, we’ll be delving into preparing to advertise. We will look at topics such as presenting your property and what furnishings to provide.

If you have any questions in the meantime, give us a call on 01865 819020

And if you want to get started, feel free to learn more about our lettings package here.