What to look for in a Property Manager
How hard is it to find a good Property Manager?
In 12 years I am still yet to find someone who provides a consistent service and standard. In saying that it must be one of the most thankless jobs in the industry, with people complaining every day, constantly chasing problems and no one thanking you for anything.
Managing your Property Manager and setting clear expectations is the key to success. On my second purchase I learnt a valuable lesson I will never forget; one that has set a precedent for me going forward.
I figured if the Property Manager had not called me, everything must be rosy. After 6 months having had my 2 bedder tenanted and being too busy to check my bank statements, I assumed it was fine……… and then I received a letter from my Property Manager saying the tenant was 3 months behind on rent.
How does this happen when you are paying someone to follow-up? I still don’t know.
At this point I decided I better take action and went with the Property Manager to do an inspection; we got a nice surprise. The person who signed the lease had moved out to another location and taken with her the electrical package of dryer, washing machine, TV and stereo that I had included with the apartment when she moved in.
Not only that, as I entered the room I inevitably woke up the 8 overseas students that were now living in the property. Beds had been put in the lounge and dining rooms and double bunks in the bedroom to get the maximum space utilised. Yes the property was being sublet illegally and this was my first experience of something I had only heard about.
Of course everybody pleaded ignorance; or those that could communicate. What was worse was the fact that there had been a water leak in the bathroom that was going out into the lounge. To add to my distress further, I saw that my whole $10,000 floating floor had been destroyed and was buckled and twisted.
To this day I take this episode as an expensive lesson that has held me in good stead every since.
The lessons I learnt were many, but here I have listed a few essential tips in finding a good Property Manager:-
- Ensure your Property Managers attains references from landlords
- Don’t swap getting a discounted commission for good service as the hundreds you save could cost you thousands later
- Always set ground rules of communication, such as them giving notice of when leases are coming due 6 weeks out
- Ask them to go over there strategy to tenant the property, before you give them the property and show you examples of previous campaigns
- Check the marketing to see it generates curiosity and whether it targets the market you want (and is not boring)
- Make sure the photos are professional, capture the best features and are actually of your property not someone else’s
- Make them accountable for updating you regularly when letting properties; request details on the number of enquires and the feedback from potential tenants
- Don’t hold out for a higher rent in a soft market when there is higher vacancy rates or
- When there is an oversupply of rental properties, drop the rent for a short lease and get it tenanted ASAP; then go back and put the rent up when the vacancies have all been filled (this could save you thousands)
- Check what properties are actually renting for in your suburb and do your research on the market, so you know what rent you should be getting
There are many more rules and guidelines for successful property management but keeping your finger on the pulse is paramount.
Finally people are always the key and taking that bit of time to nurture the relationship with your Property Manager and tenant goes along way; even a gift at Chrissie goes a long way to maintaining a happy Manager and therefore tenant and keeping vacancy rates low in the hard times.