Handing over the keys to your property manager can be a daunting task for any investor!
Choose the right property manager and you can look forward to a regular rental income, quality tenants and a well-maintained property. If you choose the wrong property manager however, you may leave yourself at risk of rental arrears, terrible tenants and a home that doesn’t receive the attention and maintenance it deserves. For many investors, their property is one of their biggest assets. So, it makes sense to undertake independent research to ensure you are choosing the right property manager that suits the needs of both yourself and your property.
When conducting your research, consider these 5 factors below to help you choose the right property manager for you:
1. Knowledge of the local area and market
Just because a property management office is based in the same suburb of your investment property, doesn’t always mean your property manager has local knowledge of the area and market. An excellent property manager will continuously monitor the market in order to provide you with all the facts you need to help you make informed decisions.
Questions to ask a potential property manager may include:
- How long has the agency operated in the local area?
- Are they aware of vacancy rates, average days on market and other driving factors affecting demand for rental homes in the area?
- Do they understand the latest supply and demand trends?
- Does the agency assess rental value at each tenancy renewal and provide research to support their estimates?
A property manager who can answer the above questions and back it up with evidence and feedback demonstrates they are working with your best interests at heart, helping you to achieve a maximum return on your investment.
Pricing can vary between agencies, and it’s not always a case of “the cheaper the better”. Most agencies charge a fee which is a percentage of the weekly rent. However, some agencies will offer this as an all-inclusive flat fee whilst others charge extra for additional costs including statement fees, lease renewals and advertising fees.
To avoid any nasty surprises at the end of each month, it’s important to compare costs. Sometimes a lower ongoing fee with multiple ancillary charges can end up being more costly than an all-inclusive flat rate. When comparing costs, ensure you are comparing “apples” to “apples” to guarantee you are getting the best deal. Always request a quote in writing so you can refer to it later if a discrepancy arises.
3. Experience & performance
In recent times, the real estate industry has become more transparent thanks to online reviews which have made it easier to identify a bad egg! To find a reputable and professional property management service, conduct the following research at a minimum:
- Google the company and thoroughly read their reviews. Are the reviews genuine? Are they from tenants and owners?
- Ask family and friends for referrals. Word of mouth is often the best way to obtain feedback.
- Has the agency been recognised in the real estate industry as a top performer? What accolades and awards have they won that demonstrate their performance?
- Are the team members well-trained and accredited with approved courses through industry recognised institutions?
4. Structure of the office & team
Every agency has a different office structure, so it’s important to select an agency with a setup that will meet the needs of you and your property. Will you be dealing with one person or a team of professionals? Will the property manager you sign up with be the person responsible for the day-to-day management going forward? Is this a specialised property management business, or is this a side source of revenue for a sales focussed agency?
The property management industry has a high turnover rate of staff. An excellent indication of the consistency of management is finding an agency that has long-term employees. This provides confidence not only to the landlords but also to tenants knowing they won’t be handed around to multiple managers over a period of time.
5. Transparency & communication
Transparency and communication are essential ingredients for a long and healthy relationship with your property manager. A property manager with exceptional communication skills and a proactive approach to management will prevent smaller issues from becoming bigger, more expensive issues. For example, would you prefer to find out at the end of the month via your statement that your tenant is in arrears? Or would you prefer your property manager to advise you the moment the tenants fail to pay rent and provide you with an update as to the actions they’ve taken to get the rent back on track?
Other factors to consider include:
- Does the agency offer an online portal so you can access information relating to your property 24/7? This is particularly important if you live interstate or overseas due to the limited access you might have to contact the agency within business hours.
- Does the agency provide copies of inspection reports, entry and exit reports, photographs of your property before, during and after a tenancy?
- Does the agency have a clear and transparent arrears policy?
- How involved is the Principal in the day to day operations of the property management department? A hands-on Principal who values their staff, employees, tenants and landlords shows greater accountability.
Jean Brown Properties is a specialised property management service with over 20 years’ experience in the Gold Coast area. Call 07 5630 1146 now to speak to our specialised leasing team. We’d love to help!
DISCLAIMER: Whilst every care is taken in the preparation of the information contained within the above writing, Write My Ad will not be held liable for any errors in typing, errors, content or information. All interested parties should rely upon their own enquiries in order to determine whether this information is in fact accurate.