20th February 2020

If you’re new to the buy-to-let market, one of your first questions will likely be whether you should
self-manage your property or get a letting agent to deal with your tenants and any issues that pop
up during their tenancy. There are several pros and cons for each option and what’s right for you
depends on your personality, how much time you have and how familiar you’re willing to get with
tenants’ rights and other legislation, basic maintenance work and your tenants themselves.
To help you figure out which option is right for you, we’ve put together a guide below to the positive
and negative aspects of both self-management and working with a property manager. Read on to
discover what you can expect from these two options.

The most obvious pro for self-managing your buy-to-let property is that it’s cheaper: there are no
payments to a letting agent or other ongoing management fees. If you’re interested in making
buying and renting out property your full-time job, self-managing allows you to build the necessary
skills for this without your income revenue taking a hit.

Additionally, if you enjoy dealing with people of all kinds and taking on simple DIY projects and
repairs around the house, self-managing your rental property could be very enjoyable for you. Many
people really enjoy being a landlord and if you suspect that this might be you, it’s worth a try
managing your property by yourself for a time to see how you like it.

Going the DIY route does have its challenges, too – otherwise, everyone would be doing it! First of
all, it can be very time-consuming, from finding tenants to dealing with their everyday requests and
any issues around non-payment of rent.

Even more importantly, inexperienced landlords can run into problems if they don’t do their
homework on legislation around tenants’ rights and landlord responsibilities – this can mean that
you inadvertently break the law, which could come at a high price if legal action is taken against you.
You also have to make yourself available 24/7 in case of emergencies. While carrying out the legally
required regular maintenance and safety checks will help mitigate the risks of major disasters, you
need to expect the unexpected: a burst pipe, heating not working or damage to bathroom plumbing
are all issues requiring urgent attention.

To help minimise the risk of getting woken up in the middle of the night by something maybe only
your tenant sees as an emergency, compiling a manual for your tenant on how to deal with different
urgent issues can be helpful. And remember that you’re legally obliged to give 24 hours’ notice to
your tenants in writing before visiting the rented property.

One of the best things about working with a property manager is that it removes your need to try to
become an expert in property legislation or managing relationships with tenants – this is the bread
and butter of professional letting agents. This means you’ll stay compliant with all the relevant
legislation and have more time to focus on other things – whether that’s your day job or further
building your property portfolio.
You’ll also not have to worry yourself too much with the nitty-gritty issues that pop up as your
property manager will be the contact person for your tenants. They will also deal with hiring
trades people for maintenance issues, doing maintenance and safety checks and dealing with
charging rent and dealing with any late payments.

While some months, self-management will only consist of a simple check to see that rent has been
paid, other months there might be major maintenance work that needs to be done, antisocial
behaviour from your tenant or difficulties in getting them to pay their rent. This is when a
professional property manager can save you countless headaches and hours of work dealing with

Of course, working with a property manager isn’t free and it will make a dent in your rental income.
In general, a property manager providing a full service will charge a percentage of your rental
income – something between 7% and 15% is typical – as well as potential added fees at the start and
end of tenancy.

This could quickly add up if you own several buy-to-let properties and plan on expanding your
portfolio. While the prospect of having a respectful tenant who takes good care of your property and
pays rent on time is the dream, it can make you wonder what you’re actually paying a letting agent
for if they seem to only have to carry out very minimal work.

Another potential con for hiring a property manager is that they usually won’t shop around for the
best quote for completing maintenance work but will rather work with the same contractor they’ve
employed for years. While this could mean they get a good deal due to their relationship with a
contractor, this isn’t necessarily the case, as some property investor horror stories show.

If you don’t do your research, you could find yourself working with an unprofessional letting agent
who won’t feel bad about charging extortionate fees for basic checks and maintenance work or who
don’t carry out proper checks for your would-be tenants or your buy-to-let property during while it’s
rented out. That’s why it’s important that you do your homework and read reviews before signing
any contracts.

There are two main types of property management services: let only and fully managed. The first
option only deals with your tenants until they’ve moved in. They’ll market your property, host
viewings, check references, deal with drawing up contracts and moving tenants in. After that, your
tenants are your responsibility. This is a good middle ground if you’d still like to try your hand at
being a landlord but need a helping hand to get started.

In contrast, a fully managed service covers everything, from collecting and passing on rent to regular
inspections, carrying out legal obligations like gas safety checks to managing maintenance work as
needed. Here at Bluestone Properties, we offer a full property management service that can be
highly customised to fit your exact needs. You can read more about letting your property Bluestone
Properties here
At the end of the day, whether going it alone or working with a letting agent depends on your
personality and what you want most out of your investment. If you’re a people person who wouldn’t
mind learning more about property legislation and maybe even carrying out some basic
maintenance work yourself, being a landlord could be the right option for you.
If, on the other hand, you’ve got a number of different commitments and value your time highly,
opting for a fully managed letting service could be a better option for you. The same is true if you
see renting out property merely as an investment and a way to generate passive income.
To find out more call us on 020 8355 3405

Share this article

Related News


Repair and maintenance are essential for landlords, offering short and long-term benefits in running a rental accommodation and pleasing tenants. However, landlords also need to consider making improvements to a rental property before they let it to tenants. Whether you are new to the letting industry or you are between tenants, there are property renov...

Read More

The kitchen is one of the focal points of a house. It can be considered the heart of a home. It’s where we cook, eat, and at times socialize with family and friends. If the kitchen space is small, at times it feels restricted.  So how to maximise small kitchen spaces?  1.     Choose the right appliances and kitchen essenti...

Read More
How to attract millennial renters

When it comes to filling the vacancies on letting properties, it is important to attract the most qualified tenants who can stay long term and pay the rent on time. A large number of millennials are renting in the UK and are expecting to rent for the rest of their lives.What are the benefits of attracting millennials? How to provide appeal to your rental pro...

Read More

Decorating a letting property is not just only about making it look nice but it is a part of making the property look attractive and appealing to people especially to potential tenants. It has always been advised to use neutral colors in decorating the rental property. Cream, white, gray, and similar shades are perfect to create a blank canvas for the t...

Read More