Archive for September, 2011

Letting consultants: the latest pain in my arse

I’m in the process of looking for a flat to rent. Just a studio flat, nothing
fancy (if you’re reading this and you have or know about one to rent, you can
get in touch with me using one of the methods
here
).

Now, if it weren’t difficult enough to find somewhere within your budget,
there is now something else to deal with – the letting “consultant”. This
breed of company appears (from looking at sites like Rightmove) to have many
properties available to view. There are probably a fair few that don’t have
photos on, but if they’ve got that many it’s acceptable that they haven’t got
around to photographing all of them yet. So you get in touch to arrange an
time to view and then they suggest that you go and visit them to see if there
are any similar available for less.

This happened to me today. I went to talk to someone at this firm. The lady
seemed nice. She wanted to help me find somewhere. Then I find out that they
charge (up front no less) £100 for me to become a “member” so that they can
find me a property. As soon as I heard that I upped and left.

I’ve come across one other such company over the last couple of weeks and I
doubt that will be it. They pull you in with lots of nice looking and sounding
properties or flats for rent, then you find out that actually, those
properties probably don’t exist (or at least aren’t on the books of these
consultants) and then drop the bombshell of a fee to find the property.

At this point, I should probably say that I’m not cheap. There is a price for
most things in this life, and usually I’m happy to pay it if necessary. And
they obviously make enough money (this one had nice offices, considering the
cheapness of the flats they supposedly were managing). But moving is expensive
enough as well as stressful so why would I want to pay even more money, and
especially up front when I’m trying to save money to put on the deposit.

So not only are there letting agents (yet another one of those “don’t get me
started” topics that I will talk about at some point, but not yet) out there
who try to keep the majority of your deposit as a way of maintaining their
profits, there are now these “letting consultants” who want even more. Don’t
get me wrong, I’m sure if you’re very busy and have the money to stump up for
someone to do the leg work then it would be great. But when you’re just trying
to find somewhere affordable and nice, spending more money is the last thing
you want. Added to that, they make it even harder to find said property as
their “listings” (and I use quotes because I’m pretty sure that a lot of the
ones you find on places like Rightmove don’t exist) take up half the space.

In case anyone is wondering, I am doing the leg work myself and I’m viewing a
flat on Saturday, so there are proper letting agents out there who want to
help (yes I’m sure they want my money as well, but if they’ve got flats to
show me now and they don’t want to charge me just to view the place, I’m
interested).