It’s important to understand what to look for in a property manager, and even more important to understand what they actually do. A property manager is a licenced real estate professional and it is their job to keep things in order for you and your tenants. Their education allows them to help you navigate the legalities involved with renting your property and a great property manager has the experience to monitor the market to correctly price your property.
When it comes time to choosing the right property manager for you and your property it’s important to educate yourself in the industry and know what attributes make up the best property manager.
- Don’t Settle
When purchasing an investment property your sales agent will often recommend you seek property management services from the same real estate agency. At this point is crucial to remember that when appointing a property manager you must looking beyond the ‘here and now.’ You need to fully explore all of your options and the merits of all agencies available to you.
Tip: For most real estate agencies the sales and rental departments are totally separate and often one department is stronger than the other, a good sales agent does not equate to strong property management.
- Negotiate for Your Needs
It is no question that when seeking a property manager service is a priority, however, that’s not to say that the bottom line isn’t equally as important. As an investor, management rates mean a lot, if your portfolio contains multiple properties then the difference between a 4% and 6% management fee can make a world of difference.
Remember: Everyone in the investment property industry is there to make a profit and you shouldn’t be afraid to compare and negotiate between agencies.
- Think Outside the Box
Do not be afraid to think outside of the box, remember that there are places to find property managers other than the leading agencies. Often agencies priorities the sales department over the rental department and this can have a negative effect on your investment. Going through a company that specialises in property management only is like buying a cake from a bakery instead of a supermarket, it is their only source of income so they will work harder for their clients.
- Play the Field
Over the course of time, you will interact with multiple agencies, and you should use this information to your advantage. Be open with who you are dealing with, let them know you are speaking to other agencies and what they are offering. Remember that you are the client, and they should be chasing you. Choosing a property manager is a business decision. Whether this is your first investment property or your eighth, ensure that you present yourself as a serious investor.
Tip: Agents worth your while will go the extra mile to secure your business.
- Do Your Research
Doing your research is arguably the most important step. Initially, when contacting potential agencies you should discuss their experience, credentials and ask them to provide testimonials. From here you can begin to form and educated opinion. When it comes time to finalise your top picks you should then engage in further research, look at online reviews, LinkedIn testimonials and seek out other owners and their experiences if available to you.
- Inspections & Tennant Policies
When you finally decide to appoint a manager, confirm that you are content with their inspection and tenant policies, and ensure you have their word in writing. The industry held standard for inspections is a minimum of two per year. Inspections not only offer a chance to view your property but they show the tenant that the agency is actively involved.
When it comes to screening tenants it is also important to make sure you understand the process that the agency undergoes. It is in your best interest to ensure the screening process is thorough so that you do not end up at a financial loss. A good way to determine the standard of tenant screening held by an agency is to request a copy of their rental contract, often the more detailed the contract the better the agency.