Independent or Chain of Letting Agents?

Nearly every week more small independent letting agents have been “bought out” by the national agencies with an offer that is “too good to resist”. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

The fact is, as we are constantly being told, that we are in hard times and it is difficult to see how the small independents keep on going. In our small high street alone we have 12 agencies. But when a national agency takes over an independent is it good news or bad news for the landlords and tenants?

In our experience some national agencies have taken over independent letting agents in our area and we watch with interest as landlords and tenants “jump ship” and move to smaller agents because of the service the bigger agencies were, or more correctly weren’t, providing. In our experience being big does not mean being better and in some cases it most definitely isn’t. Conversely being small doesn’t mean being better either! There are some “big”, as well as “small” agents, that we choose not to work for because they don’t provide a professional service.

This may sound arrogant, even foolhardy in such extreme times, but we like to work with professional but friendly people who work with us as a team – be it an independent or a national agency. And when we talk to both landlords and tenants the feedback is that they also like to work with professional people, who do what they say they will, when they say they will and keep communicating. Of course it doesn’t always work out and there are disputes between the parties as everyone has a “view” but in the main it works well.

So our view is, to us as inventory clerks, that it doesn’t really matter if we work for big agencies or small independents. Our criteria is the same and doing a job well doesn’t depend on size or structure. That’s why we like working with our clients and choose not to work with those agents that give the letting industry a bit of a bad name.

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