Cheap Lettings Management For Portfolio Landlords

Property Portfolio Management

There used to be a terrible time in history when portfolio landlords – especially those with properties scattered all over the place – were limited to either self-managing their own portfolio of rental properties, or using multiple high-street letting agents to do so on their behalf.

The reality of either solution has always been less than ideal, because self-managing multiple properties around the country can be a royal pain in the ass (least of all practical), and using multiple agents can be chaotic and devastatingly expensive.

Fortunately, in today’s digital age, technology has been able to provide a third option, which allows portfolio landlords to use one management agency to manage their entire portfolio for a lot less.

Welcome to the world of online lettings agents [portfolio management edition].

Table of contents:

The dramatic switch to Online Services

The whole “online letting agent” phenomena isn’t a particularly new trend anymore, in fact, landlords have been ditching traditional high-street letting agents for online agents for the past decade, and saving a buttload of money in the process (the primary basis of their appeal). However, while many of us have been won over by online agents, it hasn’t stopped them from evolving, bridging the gap on the products and services that only high-street agents were once able to provide.

If you’re scratching your head, blissfully unaware of what an online letting agent is, I encourage you to read my comprehensive guide on online letting agents.

The earliest iterations of the online letting agency model was purely for the average, every day self-managing landlord, who simply requiring ‘tenant find’ services, with the primary feature being a quick and easy way of getting their rental advertised on Rightmove and Zoopla in order to generate enquiries from prospective tenants.

But today, there are online agents that have taken giant leaps forward, and are able to provide all the services that you’d expect from a local high-street agent offering fully-managed services, plus more, including:

Essentially, online agents are able to provide services from A-Z, making their service suitable for not only those that want a cost-effective tenant-find solution, but also a fully-managed service, which is why they’re now becoming incredibly popular amount portfolio landlords.

What is a portfolio landlord?

Okay, just so there’s no confusion, the general consensus is that a ‘portfolio landlord’ is someone with four or more rental properties. Although, I have seen definitions which insist it’s five properties. Either way, the difference is trivial.

Why Portfolio Landlords use Online Letting Agents

Ultimately, there are three bold reasons for why portfolio landlords are using online management solutions:

  • One online agent can manage all properties across the country
  • Online agents can offer a wider range of flexible packages, loaded with tonnes more features
  • Much cheaper than traditional high-street agents. Online agents generally charge fixed monthly fees as opposed charging a percentage of the rent, which also seems to be very appealing.
  • Unlike with high-street agents, you won’t be tied into any lengthy contracts, because they operate on monthly contract agreements. Yup, that’s a beautiful thing.

I won’t cover why those perks are possible with an online agent, because I’ve already covered it in the guide I linked to earlier, but know that it’s real.

But I will say one thing to those that want to swerve the in-depth guide, and aren’t entirely sure how online agents works: the premise is that online agents work from a central office, they don’t have a high-street presence (i.e. a local branch you can walk into), instead they operate from one centralised office, and make all their sales via their website and over the phone, and also provide all their support to landlords and tenants over the phone and email. Ultimately, that means they have much lower overheads compared to high-street agents, which is precisely why they’re able to provide a nationwide service, and offer much cheaper solutions for managing properties. Like, massively cheaper.

Online Property Portfolio Management Companies

There are quite a few online agents offering managed services these days, but just to give you an idea of what you can expect, I have hand-picked a few varying levels of packages offered by what I believe to the best online agents currently around. I’ll be sure to keep the list updated if anything changes.

These agents and packages aren’t just exclusive to portfolio landlords, they’re suitable for any residential landlord, from one property to hundreds.

Recommended Online Property Portfolio Management Companies
Letting AgentRatingContractNotes / IncludesPrice
Rating

4.4

TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
Month by month
Notes / Includes

Full Management Service
  • £0 up-front - nothing to pay until tenant moves in.
  • Tenancy agreement drafted and signed.
  • Rent collection service.
  • 24/7 phone support.
  • 24/7 repairs and maintenance support.
  • Inspections: full photographic reports after 3 months and then 6 months thereafter.
  • Access to legal helpline.
  • Key holder service
  • Free legal helpline
  • Negotiate renewals on your behalf
  • Online platform gives you visibility over your portfolio, including overseeing repairs, statements etc.

Optional Extras

  • £149 Tenant find service.
  • £300 for hosted viewings. Covers 30 days of unlimited viewings.
  • £95 Professional photos for marketing

Pricing & Discount explained

*£45pcm price is based on one years' fee and with the usage of the discount (which qualifies you for 3 free months service). Normal price is £59pm.

*£67pm for properties inside of the M25 with the usage of the discount (which qualifies you for 3 free months service). Normal price is £89pm.

**Sign up to get the first 3 months FREE if you mention you came from Property Investment Project.

Price
*45pmInc VATPrice shown with discount!

Discount available
Visit Website**First 3 Months FREE using link above!
Rating

4.9

TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
Month by month
Notes / Includes

Full Management Service

Will market your property on Rightmove, Zoopla + more.

  • Free online valuation
  • Viewing & Enquiry organiser
  • Tenant referencing
  • Contract drafting & Digital signing
  • Deposit registration
  • Letting board
  • Offer negotiation
  • Professional photos and Floorplan
  • Property dashboard to control and check progress on your advert
  • Inventory
  • Legal assistance
  • Periodic inspection
  • Maintenance
  • Notifying the local council and utilities providers of the new tenant details
  • Rent collection, including chasing arrears, and issuing late payment notices as required
  • Annual rental tax return statements
  • Gas safety check & Carbon monoxide test
  • CP12 certificate
  • 24-hour UK helpline. (T&C apply)

Optional Extras

  • £300 for hosted viewings

*Exclusive £40 discount code: 99PIP40

Price
*£39 + £85pmInc VATNormal price: £79 + £85pm

Discount available
Visit Website£40 Discount Code: 99PIP40
Rating

4.9

Review Centre
Duration
Month by month
Notes / Includes

Complete Package

Solution for Rent Collection & Guaranteed Rent, Home Emergency Cover and Legal Cover!

  • Advert on all major property websites, including Rightmove & Zoopla
  • Rent paid on time - paid to you on time even when the tenant doesn't pay!
  • Full tenant referencing (2 x people)
  • Digital tenancy agreements
  • Deposit secured
  • Holding fee service
  • Dedicated advisor
  • Guaranteed rent
  • Legal helpline
  • Legal expenses
  • Eviction support
  • Home emergency cover
  • Dispute resolution
  • Free tenancy renewals
  • Read about my fantastic Experience With Letting A Property To Find Tenants

*Landlord pays one-off £149 upfront, and then £99 per month.

Price
*£149 + £99pmInc VAT

Promo running
Visit Website

Please note, I try my best to keep the information of each agent up-to-date, but you should read the T&C’s from the agents’ website for the most up-to-date information.

If you have a particularly large portfolio, I would take the prices shown above as guide prices only, because you’re likely to benefit from additional discounts if you contact the agents directly (you may even get a better discount if you mention that you were referring by PropertyInvestmentProject. Just saying).

Do you really need to use a portfolio management service?

It depends!

I guess it really boils down to your personal circumstances and your appetite for graft.

If you’re currently at the cross-roads and contemplating whether you should or shouldn’t use a portfolio management service (whether it an online solution or local management agency), perhaps it’s also worth going over some of the advantages of self-managing (since I’ve covered the advantages):

  • The obvious benefit is the thousands and thousands of pounds that will be saved annually on management fees (of course, everyone’s time and energy should also have a price, and that’s something you shouldn’t neglect).
  • Managing your own properties will give you more control and often result in better decisions!
  • If you like keeping busy and being in the thick of your empire, then there’s no better place than sitting at the helm!

However, it’s also worth asking yourself the following questions before making your decision:

  • Can you afford to employ a management service?

    If you’re running on super tight margins, you might be better off doing it all yourself.

  • Do you have the time?
    Managing a large portfolio of properties ain’t no joke! It can be pain-painstakingly time consuming, so it’s worth considering whether a) you have the time to manage the properties and b) if you’re prepared to spend less time on other activities that you may enjoy more.
  • How will managing a portfolio of properties impact the quality of your life?
  • Does it make more sense to split the responsibility?
    If you own a particularly large portfolio, it might be worth relinquishing control of a small portion of your portfolio to an agency and then assessing the situation.

    This drip-feed approach will allow you to determine whether you want to unload more responsibilities, or even claw some back, depending on finances and other extenuating circumstances.

An alternative solution to outsourcing is to actually employ someone local to manage all of your properties. It could be cheaper (depending on the size of your portfolio) and also working with one in-house agent would allow for a much more controlled and streamlined operation. Once again, it’s about weighing up the costs and being able to find the right person for the job.

Right, I’m done!

Your thoughts and questions welcome!

9 Join the Conversation...

Guest Avatar
Sam 14th August, 2010 @ 18:16

I set up my own agency to manage my own properties - but even if I had less properties I would still employ someone to do it for me. I employ people who like people - that way people like dealing with each other (and hopefully enjoy living in my properties!).

1
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 17th August, 2010 @ 08:34

Ahh Sam, I had no idea that's why you started your own agency. Good to know!

I actually think that could be the best option, if you can be bothered! :)

2
Guest Avatar
Sam 19th August, 2010 @ 06:50

Yes much better! To be honest if you can be bothered to buy houses you should be bothered with how they will be tenanted and managed as that's how you're going to earn your dosh :).

PS. you seen my new blog - http://www.whatsamsawtoday.com/ Confessions of a Property Developer.

3
Guest Avatar
Jeff 1st September, 2010 @ 17:51

Have you considered hiring a company in India to manage everything, shop around for the best deal, and employ individuals in each area on a case-by-case basis? That's my plan. They're available 24/7, and you can set rules for when and at what thresholds to contact you (i.e., if it's a reasonable cost and is less than $200, I don't want to hear about it).

4
Guest Avatar
Sam 2nd September, 2010 @ 07:38

Sounds interesting - have you got any recommendations?

5
Guest Avatar
Jeff 2nd September, 2010 @ 12:08

I read about them in Tim Ferriss' book, the 4-hour work week. One company is brickworkindia.com, and another is yourmaninindia.com. They can do some pretty advanced stuff with legal work or business planning, but at a very basic level they're a really, really cheap secretary that can do everything from taking calls and answering emails based on your instructions to booking your vacations (holidays).

6
Guest Avatar
Sam 2nd September, 2010 @ 20:22

sounds interesting - I loved Tim's book about out-sourcing your life :)

7
Guest Avatar
Mohammad Jawwad Khan 11th September, 2020 @ 15:19

Can check rentbunk.com and do a review on them?

8
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 14th September, 2020 @ 11:13

Hi Mohammad,

Bear with me, I'm on it!

I'm currently in communication with them (actually, I have been for several months now). I'm just trying to understand their product better, so once they get back to me I'll let you know. There are still a few things I don't understand about their service.

Many thanks.

9
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