We have experience with all kinds of landlords, not all of which fit the stereotype that people have in their heads. Some landlords treat the buy-to-let sector as a business, which is often the day-to-day job. For them, it’s a hands-on approach to managing their portfolio. Others may end up as accidental landlords, perhaps because they moved in with a partner and didn’t want to sell their home or inherited a home from a family member. This can sometimes come with tenants already in their property.

Whatever your circumstances, any property you own and let out must be managed. Whether you do this yourself or have an individual or business do this for you is something to consider.

Managing rental properties successfully requires time, effort, and a degree of experience. Our team are legally trained and have been letting and managing properties for years. The more properties in the portfolio, the greater the risks and costs, unless managed correctly. When investing in a BTL (Buy to let) property, you need to make a number of decisions. The biggest is whether you have the time and inclination to manage your property properly yourself, or, have the property(s) managed for you for a fee. There are also different types of services you may require, depending on your circumstances.

Tenant Find Only

Where for a fixed fee, we will find you a suitable tenant. We advertise the property, conduct viewings (if required), carry out appropriate checks such as Right to Rent, credit checks, guarantor checks, organise the tenancy, as well as to arrange and transfer the deposit and first rental payment.

Once the tenant has moved into your property, their deposit has been legally processed and you have your month’s rent paid in advance, it’s over to you! Responsibility for managing the property reverts back to you and everything that entails.

Fully Managed Service

A fully managed service does all of the above, plus a lot more. For a small monthly fee, which is taken out of the monthly rent, we will handle everything for you, including:

  • Inventories
  • Property inspections
  • Property maintenance
  • Dealing with trades and suppliers
  • Rent collection
  • Handling tenant enquiries
  • Take care of all legal obligations (there are over 150 pieces of legislation to adhere to!).
  • Check-in and check-out


Long story short, a fully managed service means you can leave the ongoing administration of your tenants, property and ongoing maintenance to someone else. Remember, you are still legally responsible for anything that goes wrong.

Choosing the right agent to help you manage your properties in any capacity is important. Only you can make this decision, but it all boils down to the following questions:

How much time do you have on your hands? Professional landlords have time to manage their properties full-time, but if you have another day job, you may not want the hassle or have the time to be so involved.

How confident are you? It can be hard work managing multiple properties, with situations arising from building maintenance issues to regulatory changes, you can’t afford to miss something. Experienced landlords are used to this, but if this is your first rental property, you might not have the confidence to deal with the day-to-day management. If you’re not 100%, then a fully managed service is a safer bet.

It’s normal to feel nervous, but as you manage more properties, even one, you will eventually better understand how it all works. As long as you are willing to learn and take advice, your skills as a landlord will improve over time.

One solution is, to begin with, a fully managed service and then downgrade to a tenant find-only service when you are more confident. There are plenty of resources available online for landlords, including Government Resources. As long as you keep up with ever-changing regulations and legislation, you should be fine.

What are the management costs? It would be great if your property could be managed for free, but unlikely! Most agents charge 10-15% of your rental income in fees. Whilst this may seem like a large expense, think about the cost of your time and how this might impact your day job. Run the numbers! Work out what your rental yield will be if you pay for a full-managed service compared to a let-only package. If you end up making a loss, then you may have to re-think things!

Do you like property management? It’s not for everyone! Like any other job, it helps if you enjoy it. If you are good with people, can do the maths and manage the ongoing requirements of the tenants, tenancy, property and building then great. Go for it! Some landlords use a letting agent because it really isn’t for them. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, then let an agent do it all for you.

As mentioned, how much is your time worth? If you have a demanding, well-paid job, then your hourly rate, relative to the time and cost of having an agent manage your property may work out!

What if you live far away or abroad even? Managing properties is nigh on impossible if you don’t live reasonably close by. Especially with the cost of fuel these days! Take this into consideration.

When you have a number of properties, managing those properties is a full-time job that requires more than one person. It might be cheaper to use an agent to manage your properties. If you let them manage a number then there may be some economies of scale. Run the numbers!

I don’t need a letting agent! There are some that believe that letting agents do nothing. This may be true in some cases. Have a chat with our Lettings Manager and she can give you a number of examples of how complex property management can be! Many are happy in the knowledge that they may only need to be contacted in instances where big jobs need to be approved.

Ultimately, it’s up to you. You need to weigh up the pros and cons of whether to do it all yourself, let an agent find and qualify a tenant for you or give it all to an agent to manage on your behalf. The risks, time, cost and size of your portfolio all need to be considered in how decide you manage, or have your portfolio managed.

Get in touch on 01424 421 544 or contact landlord@johnbray.uk for a chat about anything we have mentioned that you may be unsure about.