Property managers save you considerable time and effort, but with most taking an average of 7% of your rental income, you want to ensure you choose the right person for the job.
Why use a property manager?
Managing a rental property can be a significant time investment, especially when you are looking for new tenants, conducting inspections and handling maintenance enquiries. A property manager takes care of all this for you, and has the networks and experience to ensure your property is only ever vacant for the shortest possible time.
Property managers are also abreast of all the legal obligations that come with renting out an investment property. If you aren’t up to speed with the law, it’s best to let an expert handle this for you. They also have access to databases with information on tenant history, which assists in the screening process and reduces your chance of winding up with tenants who either don’t pay rent on time or damage your property.
What to look for in a property manager
It is worth investing time into finding the right person or agency. Unfortunately, there are a number of poor property managers in the industry and hiring a bad one can cost you more than just their monthly fee if things go wrong.
Look for someone with experience in the industry. Ideally, the property manager you choose will specialise in the area your investment is located in. This generally indicates they already have a network of potential tenants in the area and it’s also nice to know they are close at hand.
Even if you use a property manager, it’s a good idea for you to personally inspect the property from time to time.
A good property manager is a good communicator
This is the most important trait of a good property manager. Look for someone who isn’t afraid to pick up the phone and handle enquiries promptly. Email communication can be slow and unnecessary in some instances, but it does work for many people. Make it clear how you prefer to communicate and check whether the property manager is on board with this.
When all is said and done, you are hiring them to maximise your investment and rental income. Ask yourself whether you believe your chosen property manager will manage your investment with care and effectively handle tenants and maintenance.
Narrowing down your search
Once you’ve identified the property managers you think will be suitable, narrow your search by getting to the nitty gritty. This is the time to ask questions such as how they intend to market your property to ensure it is occupied as quickly as possible. How big is their database and why are their methods effective? No matter how big or small the agency is, you want to know they have qualified leads and a proven plan of attack.
Ask the property manager for testimonials and check online reviews as well as social media pages for feedback. Together, these pieces of the puzzle will give you an indication of which property manager you feel most comfortable with.
Signs of a good property manager
A good property manager is there to make your life easier and should be able to assist you with the following:
- Advising how much rent you can charge
- Thoroughly assessing new tenants by meeting them and checking their references
- Drawing up the lease and arranging bond payment
- Providing a report at the start of each tenancy outlining the condition of the property
- Conducting regular inspections and advising you of maintenance before it becomes a major issue
- Managing rent collection
- Handling tenant enquiries in a polite and prompt manner, including emergency repairs
- Managing a tenant tribunal hearing, should one arise
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