Estate agents are from Mars, Letting agents are from Venus


While many of us are well aware of how a property sale differs to letting a property for rent, you could be excused for believing that both can be managed by the same agent.

Of course, there are agents that take care of both lettings and sales and the consumer could be forgiven for thinking this additional string to their bow makes them better as a result.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and an agent is rarely able to manage both processes appropriately because the crossover simply doesn’t work.

In the same way that McDonald’s is a restaurant that sells food, so is the Savoy, but you wouldn’t take your wife to McDonald’s for your anniversary. While there is certainly no difference in service levels between lettings and sales (both have their great and their not so great agents) the proposition and product delivered are completely different.

Lettings agents let houses while estate agents sell them. One is transactional, one is emotional. In both cases, the client wants the focus of the agent to be on their sale or letting. Despite any official disciplinary body or set of regulations, both the letting and sales sectors have a whole host of rules and regulations that agent must observe, but these differ remarkably across both sectors.

While estate agents must adhere to the estate agents act, letting agents don’t. The same goes for consumer protection, anti-money laundering regulations and the fact that the portals insist on home visits. On the flipside, letting agents must carry out right to rent checks but estate agents don’t, there is a mandatory tenancy deposit stakeholder scheme, assured shorthold tenancies and a recently announced mandatory code of practice and soon to be introduced nationally recognised qualification.

So overall there is a huge difference in the knowledge needed, and the working practices implemented, by both letting and estate agents and they shouldn’t be confused as the same thing.

When looking to buy or rent your property, be sure to opt for an agent that specialises in one or the other to ensure you get the service you are paying for.

Russell Quirk

CEO, Emoov