When it comes to owning an investment property, many of us will look at using a Property Manager to manage our investment properties for us rather than do all the hard work ourselves. This is mainly because we are time-poor, live away from our investment property and typically want to avoid managing what can be a stressful experience. This is particularly true for investors with more than one investment property in their portfolios.
Finding a good Property Manager however isn’t always that simple and can mean the difference to your property enjoying strong capital growth due to being tenanted by decent tenants, compared to one that continues to be left vacant.
If you’re a property investor or are looking to turn your home into a rental property, then how do you go about finding a Property Manager who will expertly look after your property as if it were their own home?
No matter whether this is your first investment property, or you already own a large portfolio of investment properties, here’s everything you need to know about Property Managers and how to choose the perfect person to manage your investment for you.
A Property Manager is responsible for looking after buildings such as residential housing and commercial property and will handle all the daily operations of a real estate investment for a fee. They work on behalf of the landlord to help you lease and manage your property with ease.
Property Managers typically deal with tenants, acting as a liaison between the landlord and tenant whilst ensuring all the landlord’s wishes are met. Some of the main duties that Property Managers are responsible for include:
Finding tenants through marketing the property to fill vacancies;
Screening tenants including sorting through prospective tenant applications and running credit checks and criminal background checks;
Setting, collecting and adjusting rent;
Negotiating leases and rent reviews;
Regular maintenance and emergency repairs, either by attending to it themselves or hiring a specialist to deal with it such as a plumber, electrician or other contractor;
Being familiar with current legislation and state-wide and national laws;
Maintaining thorough records including incomes and expenses;
Handling move outs and evicting tenants;
Arranging cleaning and pest inspections;
Advising the landlord what to do when the tenant is in breach of their lease or in rental arrears;
Representing the property owner at tribunal hearings.
So how do you find and select the perfect Property Manager to ensure your investment property is as successful as possible? Here are 7 things to consider.
1. Do your homework
The first thing you need to do is do your homework. You want to find a Property Manager who is prepared to put in the work to make your property a success and worth the fee that they are charging. You also want to use a Property Manager who is very familiar with the local market, as they will know what the tenants are looking for.
2. Shop around
Just like looking for the best mortgage, it’s important that you shop around and don’t go with the first Property Manager you come across. Create a shortlist of potential Property Managers in the area or close to your investment property. You can then use this shortlist to make comparisons and find out which Property Manager offers you the best service for the best price. Remember, the cheapest Property Manager does not always offer the best service and can make a dramatic difference to your long-term capital gains. You want someone who can look after you and your property, not only in the good times, but also when times get tough. You therefore want someone who has your back.
3. Meet the Property Manager in person if possible
The best way to get an idea of who your Property Manager is, is to meet them in person, or at least speak to them on the phone. If they are too busy or you feel rushed, the this is a good indication that they don’t have time to manage your property effectively, especially if they cannot answer all your questions.
4. Compare fees
All Property Managers come at a fee and you shouldn’t discount the most expensive Property Manager solely because they are the most expensive. There might be a very good reason for this. Try to negotiate and get to a figure that you are both happy with. At the end of the day, you want to keep your overall holding costs as low as possible, yet enlist a high-quality service at the same time. Don’t forget, Property Manager fees are tax deductible.
5. Good relationships
It is important that you are able to build up a good rapport between yourself and your Property Manager as the better relationship you have with them, the more likely they will go out of their way to help you. The Property Manager also needs to be able to have a good relationship with tenants, show that they care and provide excellent customer service. Choosing a Property Manager with excellent customer service can be the difference between utter frustration and pure satisfaction when owning an investment property.
6. Read the reviews and testimonials
To get a better idea of the Property Manager or company you plan on using, it’s best to speak to other current landlords or tenants to hear their thoughts and opinions. There may also be reviews online to consider. If you cannot find reviews, then ask your Property Manager for a list of names of who you can speak to.
7. Ask questions
When you meet with your Property Manager it is important that you ask as many questions as possible to find out more about them and how experienced they actually are. You should be treating this meeting as an interview to determine if they are the right person to work for you. Key questions to ask include:
How long have you worked as a Property Manager for?
How many properties do you look after?
How many properties does the company manage?
How will you advertise my property?
How often do you collect rent and how frequently will this be paid to me?
How often is the rental return re-assessed?
How often do you inspect properties?
How do you attract the best possible tenants?
How do you screen prospective tenants?
How much are your fees?
What is the process for urgent repairs and maintenance?
How do you assess whether a repair or maintenance is required?
Have you ever had to evict someone?
What action do you take if a tenant goes into rental arrears?
What happens if my Property Manager is sick or on holiday?
How often will you communicate with me and how will this be done?
Do you only work with licensed and insured contractors?
Will you contact me before any work is carried out?
Why should I use you over other Property Managers?
Do you own any rental properties?
How can you ensure the best returns from my property?
Don’t forget, choosing the perfect Property Manager can make the difference as to whether your investment property experiences a good level of capital growth, or only experiences mediocre growth. Choosing the wrong Property Manager can cost you dearly, whether this is through property vacancy, having bad tenants who don’t pay their rent or causes expensive damage to your property.
To learn more about finding and selecting the perfect Property Manager which has your best interests at heart, get in touch with iBuyNew today.
Call us on 1300 123 463.