One Rental Property, Two Different Price Tags

Freddie MercuryA friend of mine is currently going through the excruciating process of mulling through a buttload of vacant BTL’s, hoping to find his ideal 1 bedroom bachelor pad. The guy is 36 and still rocking hard, with no intentions of settling down. Respect.

Of course, his overused dick will probably turn green and drop off in a few years, then he may regret his lifestyle choice. But Probably not. For the sake of ease and relevance, I’ll refer to him as Freddie Mercury for the rest of the story.

Over the weekend, my mate Freddie Mercury braved 3 local letting agents, ploughing through the catalogue of available stock. Before committing to any viewings, he wanted to look at all the properties available so he could organise all the viewings for one day.

While flicking through the stock and being conveniently chilled by the cheese and chive sweat pearls collapsing from the overcrowding agents foreheads, he noticed that a few agents were advertising the same properties. Granted, that’s perfectly normal, because unlike when you’re a selling a property, there isn’t a penalty fee for landlords multi-advertising across different agents. But the interesting thing was the agents had different pricing structures.

Here are the real figures for two of the agents that offered the same property:

Letting AgentTenant Admin FeeTenant Renewal Fee
Agent 1£120N/A
Agent 2£150£50

Freddie had a choice between paying two different amounts for the same product. Bearing in mind, these agents were approximately 5mins drive away from one another. That’s not a great deal, unless you drive a Hummer.

The admin fee rates included the same services – one wasn’t providing more than the other. I don’t know if the difference in rates are upsetting or amusing. Either way, it seems as though neither agent had done any local research on local competition. There shouldn’t be such a big divide for the same product in such a close proximity.

The difference between £150 and £120 may not seem like a big deal. But it is, so shut your piehole!

Pound for pound it seems like a small hit to take, but when you convert to percentages, it’s a huge 25% difference. But the real kicker is the reoccurring Renewal Fee condition Agent 2 enforces.

Obviously Freddie viewed the properties being advertised with Agent 1. It’s not really a case of which price is “fair” (regardless of the blog title), it’s more of a case of one agent charging one hell of a lot more than the other!

The point is, have a quick scour through your local agents before you commit, because you may find conflicting rates for the same properties.

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1 Comments- Join The Conversation...

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Dr Nogood 4th August, 2010 @ 11:48

Renewal fees are for people who don't know what statutory periodic tenancies are. I have always taken on agencies who have tried to enforce this and said "I prefer to move onto a periodic agreement". I have never been refused this and will never pay a 'renewal' fee. My favourite example was a friend of mine who was charged a £500 administration fee (London) and then had to print out his own contract! I would expect the thing hand delivered on gold leaf with a hooker and a soapy tit wank for that price.

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