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One of Britain's most famous property investors, Samantha Collett, has given a huge pat on the back to letting agents.

In her latest book Collett - a columnist in the London Evening Standard and creator of the award-winning property blog What Sam Saw Today - describes good agents as worth their weight in gold.

Her advice on what landlords should look for in a good agent, and why they should avoid basing a decision to select an agent purely on cost terms, will be familiar to industry insiders. But one of her techniques for selection may raise eyebrows - it's by using mystery shopping'.

More precisely, Collett advises landlords to contact agents by telephone claiming to be a prospective tenant.

Time how long it takes for them to answer the phone and connect you to the right person. Ask lots of questions about the property and test how they respond she advises.

How much knowledge does the agent have How interested do they sound How helpful are they Do they make you want to view the property she suggests.

Collett then advises you to note a score for the agent and try the next one. Do this for three afents and compare your notes. Which agent made you feel they wanted your business

Agents - be careful next time that phone rings...

Property Investment: The Essential Rules by Samantha Collett, published by Constable & Robinson, £9.99p


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    Great advice once again from Samantha Collett! Mystery shopping is a great way to not only find out how engaging, competent and knowledgeable agents are but also find out how they would interact with your future prospective tenants.

    • 01 July 2014 12:46 PM
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    The mystery shopping idea is brilliant - a quick and easy way, disguising yourself as a prospective tenant, to see if youre getting the best possible service from your lettings agents. I dont think its misleading or an attempt to catch people out, because customer service should be the same for every new client. It would certainly be a reassurance tool to landlords like me. I might have to try it now!

    • 01 July 2014 08:47 AM
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    Ms Collett - thumbs up to you indeed re: mystery shopping. You have a customer for your book - just about to order it!

    I used to actively encourage new Landlords to call my agency and pretend to be a Tenant looking for a property and got some wonderful feedback. My aim was to convince them that what I told them at the valuation meeting was all true in terms of Customer Service.

    Particularly in relation to what we called "Property experts". My agency employed 15 staff and, obviously, not all of them will have seen every property we were marketing.

    However, our computer system records who has been to which property so staff are able to go as far as they can explaining the details from the system then can go on to say "Let me put you through to one of my colleagues who has actually visited the property. He/she can give you more details before you book your viewing".

    Feedback from Landlords was very positive.

    • 01 July 2014 07:06 AM
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