Arrived at Maxwell\'s office, which is unassuringly not listed at the entrance to the building, and we had an entertaining chat discussing what I was looking for and he explained why he thinks that £80 as a non-returnable searchers fee is a fair fee because he doesnt get anything from the landlords so has to get his return from searchers. If thats true then I dont disagree, but how can you know its fair value given that it comes without any guarantee of offering suitable places, or getting a refund if not satisfied? In practice what happened is that if you want a bedsit he provides a list of bedsits currently available from a single large property manager in central/west London. So you have 5-10 bedsits you can go and compete with other interested parties at evening showing slots. If you knew where to look for bargain bedsits then that list is publicly available on the web and not exclusive to Central Flats (they also give you the web address at every viewing). The properties I saw were low-mid price, cheaply fitted out, and not very attractive, clearly aimed at the student or low cost employed tenant market . Having said that, one of the bedsits stood out as having great size, space, garden access so being amazing value despite its poor fittings and finish. The landlords rep said it had been reduced as it had been listed for some time. So some of this list may represent a true bargain. The standard terms of guarantee and deposit are onerous requiring a guarantor or 6 months prepayment, but maybe in the cheap bedsit market that is not so unusual, and perhaps negotiable if you have income. What was very useful was to be able to see a few bedsits very quickly and with no hassle, as a point of comparison for looking at private rooms on spareroom. Maxwell didnt offer any other rooms than this listing, but gave a mobile number specially for clients to contact him for getting more locations to see if necessary. I suspect he probably does searches covering some other landlords if the bargain bedsits arent what you need. I\'ve given the finder agency a poor rating because relative to say the monthly fee for priority searching on spareroom.com the service does not have ease of use and the property offered was available to everyone on the internet without having to pay the search fee.
What agent could do to change your mind?
A web database of properties which are actually available to apply for from this agent,