Who are OpenRent?
Started in 2012, OpenRent was founded as an online letting agent and property service provider. They had one aim and that was to disrupt the traditional high street estate agent with a better, national, less expensive [the list continues] service!
Below, we’ll review OpenRent’s services, explain how it works, and if this is the right letting agent for you.
How big are they?
Well they clearly spotted a gap in the market and have since firmly filled it. They are now the UK largest letting agent – fact. As a landlord they claim to find you a tenant in just 8 days [the average is 5]. As a tenant they have zero fees. Yes you heard that right, bold claims so let’s explore further.
The Bottom Line
Truth be told, people care about one thing. Is the property listed on Rightmove or Zoopla? Because if it isn’t you won’t ‘let’ your property if you’re a landlord and you won’t find a property worth renting if you’re a tenant. It’s simple RightMove have cornered the market, they own the playing field.
With OpenRent the answer is yes, your property will be on RightMove where 98% of people start their property search. I can only imagine the other 2% are still looking in letting agents’ windows, hoping for ‘something good to come on the market’. Poor them.
The RightMove ‘Paradox’
Question: Can I place an advert on Rightmove myself?
Answer: Flat, no.
The reason RightMove only allows agents to list on their portal is probably because they were started by property agents themselves. So it seems only right they would want to cover their interests and keep agents in the business. To clarify we aren’t anti RightMove far from it. Those old enough to remember life before it was tough. Going round and round agents looking for the best place to rent or best fees if you were selling. It was maddening. RightMove placed everything under one roof – which was awesome!
How OpenRent Works
First I think we should define the criteria. Essentially what people want to know when they ask ‘who is the best online letting agent’ is:
- Do they list on the Rightmove and Zoopla?
- What are the charges?
- Is it safe and simple to use?
Well we have already established that OpenRent does list your property as a landlord on RightMove and Zoopla so lets jump straight to point 2.
Open Rent Costs
It depends what package you go for. Charges vary from nothing [free] to £49. But remember there are no hidden charges for a landlord or for a tenant. OpenRent have tried to be as transparent as possible and we think it works.
OpenRent ‘Light Advertising’
Free to use and you can list your property for 3 months but only on OpenRents website. As a free listing you do not get your property into RightMove or Zoopla. But you can take advantage of the free landlord services like being able to message tenants. If that sounds good, well then go for it…
Need it advertised on RightMove and Zoopla and let faster? Then you need the next package up.
OpenRent ‘Ultimate Advertising’
It’s £29 and comes with 3 months advertising on Zoopla, Rightmove and OpenRents website. You also have access to the ‘landlord services’. For under 30 quid we think that’s ace and it’s the DIYers dream. If you like doing all the other stuff yourself this one’s for you. But it still leaves you with lots of leg work to do like the referencing, the initial deposit collection and the rent collection. [Assuming your property has the appropriate certificates up to date like the Gas and Electrical safety] If you want all the features from this package but with a little help, you want their next package.
OpenRent ‘Rent Now’
£49. So it has all those same features that the package has but extra features too. Are the extra features worth it? Well you tell me – this is what you get:
- A 3 month listing on RightMove & Zoopla [plus the OpenRent website] remember on average your property will rent within 5 days, so 3 months is plenty long enough.
- Landlord services
- Contract drafting and digital signing
- Deposit registration
- Initial rent collection
How Easy Is it to Use OpenRent
Step 1 So first things first you register. That takes about 30 seconds. Even with going into your emails to confirm your account by clicking the link.
Step 2 After that as a landlord you create an advert for your property. This takes under 5 mins to do and you need to over stress this part, as OpenRent actually checks this for you to see if it complies with RightMoves T&C’s. So fear not, you aren’t going to put your foot in it.
Remember we are in the Instagram era, it’s more about how your pictures look then what you say, we think. And OpenRent does kind of agree, as they do say that really great photos on average command 10% more rent. Something to think on for sure, so get your photos right!
It’s also super easy to create your ad with just a few clicks and some drop down boxes. But if you want you can write the whole thing the choice is yours.
You then select the next bit so you only attract the tenants you want
At the bottom of the page is where you upload your photos, that’s simple enough but there is an option box to add a YouTube URL.
So what you could do is take a video, upload it to YouTube and share the link in the ad.
Video viewings are really popular now especially due to the pandemic. People will even now rent properties based on just watching a video tour, without even having a viewing in person.
Nothing. If your ad is all fine you have nothing left to do, your ad will go onto the property portals within 3-6 hours.
OpenRent Cost Review
So for under 50 pounds and according to OpenRent within 8 days they will rent you property, with everything in place you’d need to get going….that sounds very good to us. If you have ever dealt with traditional high street agents before you’ll know how appealing using OpenRent will sound and that’s aside from the huge cost savings.
OpenRent Reviews [TrustPilot & Google]
Well what good is it if they offer all these seemingly great features for great prices if the service is rubbish. The answer – it isn’t any good at all!
Luckily then Openrent actually has some of the best reviews on the internet of anything we have ever reviewed.
They have a Google rating of 4.9 out of 5 and that’s with thousands of reviews not just one or two. Even on Trustpilot they have a rating of ‘Excellent’. So they must be doing something right.
Who is OpenRent For?
It is for self starter landlords who want their property let quickly. For 49 quid they literally give you access to everything to let your property and fast! But notice we said ‘you’, it’s not for people who want to sign up and have everything done for them. ‘You’ have to create the ad [albeit with just a few clicks]. Being able to use the OpenRent platform and them giving you access to Zoopla and Rightmove should sound like a dream, if it doesn’t it’s probably not for you. Perhaps stick with a traditional high street agent…
Properties should be ready for viewings
Traditionally if you had some repair work to do to a property in between tenancies or you were a couple of weeks off getting your property ready to market; you could let an agent know and they would start to market the property for you. Place an ad in the shop window etc.
Don’t do this with Openrent, you simply won’t have the time.
Place your ad live when it’s ready. Like ready ready not nearly ready. As you will have your ad live the same day and possibly viewings the very next day [same day is not unheard of].
Having said that if you have a date when a current tenant is moving out and want to let it out again as quickly as possible get it on Openrent but just say something like available from ‘XYZ’. OpenRent are very fast so use that to your advantage to get rid of any void periods.
Other services offered by OpenRent
Tenant referencing its £20 per tenant [paid upfront by the landlord]
Gas Safety Certificate (CP12) from £45 – Legal Requirement [applies if you have gas in the property] by comparison high street letting agents can usually organize this for circa £80-£100.
Energy Performance Certificate from £69
Electrical Safety Certificate from £69 [this is not a legal requirement]
Inventory & Check In/Out from £85 – Great if you let your property furnished
Pro Photos & Floor Plans from £79 – Light and bright photos help let houses. Your phone camera is probably good enough though. Great for landlords who do not live near their property.
Accompanied Viewings Service from £36 – great again if you don’t live near you property or would prefer someone else to conduct viewings. However post Covid most people are happy with virtual or video tours.
Review of OpenRents Extra Services
We say: Great to know they offer the extra services and you can pick and choose at your leisure whatever suits.
Be aware that the only one you must have, legally, is the Gas Safety Certificate – if you have gas in the property. And they offer that from about half of what high street letting agents charge.
The tenant referencing for £20 each, we would go for. Bad tenants are a nightmare, reference them first and be done with it.
OpenRent Review Summary
To be honest spending time trawling through their reviews you actually find out more from their negative reviews than their good ones. They actually don’t have many. For those people who did leave a negative review they were pretty much saying the same thing.
Things like ‘‘I didn’t get help when I asked how much rent I should charge?’’ We actually laughed a bit.
Let’s be clear, use the OpenRent and their platform to market your property and save £££’s on traditional high street letting agents [literally hundreds]. By doing so you will save so much of your own time and you will reduce any void periods having it let much quicker than elsewhere [average 5 days], so again more savings. But what we are saying is whilst 500,000 landlords have used OpenRent to let their properties, it probably isn’t for granny.
For £29 your property will be on RightMove and Zoopla within hours, for another £20 you can get a tenant referenced. From another £45 you could get a Gas Safety Certificate through them. Upgrade to the £49 package all that and get contract drafting and digital signing, deposit registration and initial rent collection. All with change from a 100 quid. OpenRent = Bargain.