When it comes to renting out your investment property you’ll need to look at hiring a property manager to look after all the details. The benefits run deeper than just having a third party to handle tenant communications. A property manager will have a wealth of experience and knowledge you can tap into and can influence the amount of rental income you receive and the quality of your tenants.
Hiring the right property manager from the outset is crucial to making sure you get the most of your rental property investment.
We’ve provided top tips on the things you need to keep in mind to help you get the best property manager for your investment property.
Great people skills
Looking after your property is far from a paper-pushing job. Having patience with people, understanding different needs and amazing communication skills are essential.
This is one aspect of management that often gets overlooked. Great managers talk to people effectively and inspire results, rather than using force and intimidation. The property manager you choose will be someone who meets people face to face in their home. Approachable friendliness will go a long way to establishing good relationships with your tenants and that means good maintenance of your home and long-term leases.
Choose a property manager you can easily talk to and someone you feel genuinely listens to what you say. They occasionally might be asked to mediate conflict so a calm personality and even temperament are essential. If you have questions or concerns expect them to offer solutions with enough detail and logic to give you confidence.
When it comes to property management you want to look for someone with qualifications and life experience.
A Certificate of Registration or Real Estate License is the first thing they need as part of their work qualifications but someone who works in a diverse environment or who has travelled and understands different cultures and different backgrounds can solve problems and think of solutions quickly and easily. Every tenant will be different so a ridged mindset can lead to heated arguments. Someone who has been working in property management for some time will already be aware of the needs of the wider community.
Meet in person
Web research can narrow the field but it can’t give you the full story.
Web profiles and testimonials are often based or lacking detail.
To get the full story make an appointment and meet in person. This gives you an opportunity to ask questions about their previous work history, how many properties they are currently managing, their individual experience level, their tenant review process and conflict resolution ability. Remember you are hiring them so make it as intense as any job interview you have ever been to, to get the scoop on what they really bring to the table.
Create some What If scenarios
A great way to bring personality, experience and temperament together is through asking hypothetical questions. Go to the meeting armed with some ‘What If’ scenarios that would put a property manager on the spot in the real world.
What if you received a phone call from a tenant saying they were burgled?
What if you were receiving complaints of a barking dog at the premises when no pet had been included in the paperwork?
You can also ask them for the best and worst things they have had to troubleshoot on the job and see what they have been up against before.
Do background checks
When you are happy that your meeting went well and your property manager will be a good fit for your property it’s important to double check by doing a reference check. Ask if you can contact one or two of their current property owners or tenants. Keep the phone calls brief and polite and use the time to get a sense of their overall satisfaction. Be sure to thank them warmly for their time.
Professional requirements that need to be in place for a property manager to operate effectively:
- Application for tenancy reference and background checks
- Inspect property at least every six months
- Review rent every 12 months
- Procedures for emergencies (fire, hot water service failure, flooding) including out of hours response and charges
- Bond lodged with relevant authorities in a timely manner
- Strategies for removing disruptive or troublesome tenants
Questions to keep in mind
- Fees they charge for their service (an average fee is 7.7% inc GST)
- How they select rental rates for tenants
- What property marketing and advertising tools they use to expose your property to potential tenants
- What the lease terms are and if they give you enough cover if something goes wrong
- The success rate for removing delinquent tenants
Your investment property is a vital part of your property portfolio and future nest egg, making it so important that you consider the above checklist items when hiring a property manager.