How landlords can save money by self-managing or using online agents


The buy-to-let market continues to shift across the UK and it seems that landlords are adapting along with the changes, with more planning to ditch high-street letting agents in favour of cheaper alternatives.

There are around five million households across the UK living in private rented accommodation at the moment, a figure that is expected to rise to around 5.8 million by 2021 – which is almost a quarter of all households in the UK. As a result, landlords and property investors are becoming increasingly prominent in the housing market, despite the government’s attempts to cool the sector and encourage home ownership, and those with existing rental properties are looking at ways to adapt for the future.
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A recent survey conducted by online letting agent Upad, which harvested results from more than 3,000 landlords, revealed that although 21% had used the services of a high-street letting agents recently, only 5% planned on doing so in the future.

The reasons behind this change were varied, with 32% saying they planned to move away from traditional letting agents in order to save money, 31% stating that they wanted to use a different approach to finding tenants, and 29% who were more interested in self-managing their properties.

Meanwhile, 83% of respondents said they planned on using an online agent instead in 2018, up from the 62% who currently use one – an indication that the use of proptech for both efficiency and value for money is becoming more prevalent.

A new approach for buy-to-let landlords

James Davis, founder of Upad, said: “When I set Upad up almost 10 years ago, I did so confident that landlords would become increasingly more interested in approaching their buy-to-let portfolios in new and different ways.

“The data that we’re releasing today not only corroborates that decision, but highlights just how significantly management of the rental sector is evolving.”

Aside from the advent of online agents, self-management has become a more popular option for those landlords who have the time and resources to deal with tenants and lettings. Upad’s website registered a 60% rise in enquiries from landlords around how and when to conduct property inspections while the tenants are living there, and a 155% leap in the number of landlords looking into how to renew tenancies – from 130 in the first quarter of 2017 to 330 in Q1 this year.

With letting fees set to be banned by the government, many have speculated that letting agents will make up their shortfalls by charging a higher percentage to landlords, which in turn may be passed onto tenants in the form of rent rises. This could also prove another incentive for landlords to look at alternatives to using an agent – although they will need to ensure they have the knowledge and expertise, as well as the time to commit to fully managing a property and its tenants.

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How landlords can save money by self-managing or using online agents


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