We live in an age of digital technology. The mind boggles at the different types of communication available. As you are reading this online, chances are, you can tell the difference between a face book poke and a tweet. New technology has affected every industry sector prepared to move with the times and letting agencies are no exception.

When considering the types of industries most suited to an internet base, letting agents must surely fit like a glove. But do they?

Every method of presenting your product has its good and bad points. The trick has always been to find the right market. In the past, go it alone private landlords had to rely on handwritten notes in the windows of tobacconists, or costly adverts in newspapers.

The internet has opened up the opportunity for private landlords and tenants to be brought together in ways that can suit both parties.  Let’s face it, the practicalities of letting a property, whether as a landlord or a tenant, can be an expensive and time consuming job. Anything which can save time and money should be welcomed by all.

Firstly let’s look at some of the benefits of using an online letting agent. They can be briefly summed up in the following:

Advertise across a network of some of the UK’s largest property websites.  If you do decide to use an online letting agent, make sure that they offer a service whereby they will advertise your property on the larger portals such as Rightmove.co.uk and Zoopla.co.uk. These are the most relevant property websites.

It is time saving for both tenant and landlord. Tenants can browse for the type of property which interests them without wearing out their shoe leather visiting letting agent’s offices. Landlords and letting agents can advertise their property in one convenient and accessible place.

Landlords and letting agents can make significant savings on advertising and administration. If the web site is clear and user friendly it will help sift the tenants towards the property they require. In some cases landlords and tenants will be able to deal directly with each other from the start of the process.

They do sometimes say that every silver lining has a cloud, and we must consider the downside. This is an industry sector reliant on people making significant choices that will affect the quality of their lives.

The often faceless and impersonal aspect of online transactions means that tenants could fall fowl to scams whereby criminals pose as landlords. Likewise landlords are equally susceptible to scams by bogus tenants. There have been recent cases in Barking of property being illegally sublet under the noses of landlords and tenants leading to violence and costly evictions. Tenants can be in a position where they are unsure if they are dealing with professionals who are aware of the correct legal and procedural regulations. Landlords are opening the doors to their property to strangers.

It would appear that the best way forward for the industry, if it is to embrace new technology, is to provide a service based on professionalism and trust. As the country faces difficult times financially and the private rental sector is called upon to cushion the pressures placed upon social housing, the convenience of a fast, modern and user friendly letting industry will surely reap benefits for all.

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