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Property Rentals – by yourself or via an agent

If you have decided that you want to rent out your property, you then need to consider whether or not you want to do it by yourself or use a property management company. There are many owners sites on the internet with templates to guide you on what information is required if you choose to manage your own property.  Alternatively you may prefer to have someone else deal with all rentals, changeovers, cleaners and key handover etc but it comes at a price. As with all businesses there are the reputable ones as well as the non-reputable ones so be sure to do some checking and don’t just go with the first company that you find.

Managing your own property

Advantages

  • No commission – you usually pay about €200 per year
  • You control everything. (note this also on the against list!)
  • You deal with the enquiries (note this is also on the against list!)
  • You have no obligation to let and can stop and start.
  • You can always appoint an agent later if it does not work out.

Disadvantages

  • Are you competent at taking good photographs and writing an honest description of your property?
  • Expect to receive around 10 enquiries for one booking. Are you prepared to commit the time.
  • You are responsible for the whole thing. Once you have bookings you are committed. It’s a big responsibility to have someones vacation in your hands.
  • How will you take payment?
  • How will you handover the keys? Most property managers will not accept properties where the letting is not included.
  • How will you make sure you don’t double book etc?

Hiring a Property Management Company (assuming they are reputable!)

Advantages

  • A good agent who is specific to your market will get higher weekly rates and many more bookings, plus payment collection, enquiry handling etc.
  • Hands off for you. Let your property work for you without the aggravation.
  • Much higher returns.
  • Advice on rental set up and on-going development, rates, set up etc.
  • Professional cleaning and key handover. On the ground attention.
  • Point of contact if things go wrong.

Disadvantages

  • There are some pretty poor agencies and some very good. How do you choose?
  • You will be under contract, you handover some control.
  • Expect 25% to go on commission, although a decent agent will pay for itself plus some.
  • If they are poor, you will have to get out of the deal.

Choosing an agent. If you decide to use an agent, it is something that requires a bit of home work. There is a reasonable choice for Lake Como.  Investigate these agencies on the internet and ask them to make you a proposal. By doing this you will very quickly be able to sift out the poor agents. If you get nothing more than a verbal quote or its on the back of a cigarette box beware! For your few hundred thousand pounds of investment you should at least expect a marketing plan and a financial statement.

Questions to ask the company

  1. How will you market my property
  2. What is it worth and why? Ask for comparable evidence.
  3. Where are you on Google etc.
  4. Do you have an office on the lake?
  5. Are you just in Lake Como or other places too?
  6. How many bookings did you make last year and how many properties do you look after?
  7. Why should I use your agency?

In summary, all of this sounds very daunting but don’t worry, if you get a warm feeling about a property and it makes you smile, and the people you meet along the line make you feel comfortable, go with your gut instinct.  Keep your wits about you and don’t let any agency badger you into making a decision if you are not sure!  There is enjoyment to be had and money to be made. Manage your expectations, be realistic, and above all make your own mind up. You will be fine!