Estate Agent or Letting Agent – What’s The Difference?

Posted by on Jul 10, 2015 in Property rentals | Comments Off on Estate Agent or Letting Agent – What’s The Difference?

If you are new to the property market, things can quickly become overwhelming. The mountains of information, seemingly limitless decisions to be made, and a mind-blowing amount of jargon can soon wear you down. Where do you start?

estate and letting agentWell, let’s take things one step at a time and begin at the beginning. Do you know whether you would like to rent or buy a property in the UK? If you have already made up your mind you’re already ahead of many people who simply cannot decide between the two.

Once you know which way you are going to go, you’re going to need some help, and this is where the question posed in our title becomes significant.

Estate agents

An estate agent is a person who helps to facilitate the sale or rental of residential, commercial and/or other buildings. Although estate agents are capable of, and allowed to, deal with rental properties, the term estate agent is generally associated with the sales aspect of property dealings.

Estate agents will handle the marketing of a property for sale and help the seller bring in suitable prospective purchasers for their real estate. A good estate agent should be able to demonstrate an in depth knowledge of the local area and show the seller that they are aware of market fluctuations within the region that they operate. Knowledge of future developments in and around their area will also help them to accurately assess how the local market is likely to perform in the coming months and years as well.

As of the 1st April 2014, estate agents across the UK are now answerable to Powys council who have taken over the regulatory role once performed by the OFT (Office or Fair Trading). The Welsh council are able to issue warnings to any estate agent who does not follow industry guidelines or one who acts dishonestly. Banning orders can also be issued for persistent repeat offenders.

keys for property

Letting agents

Letting agents, unlike estate agents, are responsible solely for the residential rental market. Where estate agents can deal with rental properties as well as sales, letting agents do not enjoy the same freedom. That said, many letting agents will work under an estate agent or agency, and this is often where much of the confusion lies.

A good letting agent will be able to not only facilitate an agreement between the tenant and the landlord, they will also be responsible for the marketing of the property too. Their ability to show landlords that their past endeavours in the local market have been successful will go some way to demonstrate that they knowledgeable and reputable.

UK letting agents are not required by law to be regulated at present, although there are some accreditations that both landlords and tenants should keep an eye out for. The National Approved Lettings Scheme (NALS) or the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) both have guidelines and codes of practice for responsible letting agents to follow and knowing that your agent is a member can go a long way to providing a certain amount of peace of mind to prospective clients.

In a nutshell, if you are looking to either buy or sell a property you will need an estate agent to help you complete your move. If, on the other hand, you are entering into the rental market either as a landlord or a tenant a letting agent is the person you should be speaking to.