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Letting agents

We can't stress strongly enough the importance of ensuring that you have a reliable letting agent to safeguard your home in your absence. Don't make the mistake of assuming that first impressions of professionalism will necessarily be borne out in performance. They're after your business.

If you have a digital camera, take photos of everything you're leaving in your home so that you have a visual record of your inventory and its condition. There's also a handy software package available from Contents Safe which enables you to create a full inventory yourself on your computer: see their advert on this page.

You may have instructed your letting agent to make regular inspections of your home in your absence. That's fine, as far as it goes. But don't set too much store by the reports you receive from them.

If you can get back to check on your house personally from time to time, so much the better. If you can't, it may be worth letting a trusted neighbour have your address so that they can let you know if there are any problems. One way or another, it's a good idea to have a second opinion to hand.

Another thing to bear in mind is that your letting agent is just that: your agent. All too often it seems that once a tenant is established in your home, the agent is only too happy to keep things as they are, receiving a steady flow of income for very little work. If you suspect that your letting agent isn't looking after your interests adequately, then it may be time to consider engaging another one.

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