Managing an investment property can be a tricky business. You can spend a good chunk of time on tasks like choosing tenants, answering queries, chasing up unpaid rent, organising contractors to fix leaky taps, and more.
While some investors choose to DIY their property management, this is a big job and often underestimated, especially if you own several investment properties.
However, many investors choose to hire a property manager to look after their properties instead. This takes away a lot of the work, stress and time, and ensures the property is managed in a legally compliant manner.
Some people may choose to use a property manager because they don’t live in the same city as their rental property. This a good solution for tasks that require a physical presence, such as interviewing tenants, showing the property and performing inspections.
A property manager can take care of the basic necessities of renting out your property, such as:
- Screening and interviewing applicants
- Showing the apartment
- Preparing the rental agreement
- Collecting bond and rent payments
- Organising repairs and tradespeople
- Scheduling regular inspections
- Organising the end of lease inspection
- Communicating with tenants
Negotiating With Your Property Manager
There are some great property managers out there, but there are also some shoddy ones that you’ll want to avoid.
If you’re looking to hire a property manager it’s a good idea to ask questions and do some research before you sign a contract. If the agency cares about their clients and the properties they look after, then they’ll encourage reviews of their services and post them on Facebook or their website. Google their name and any feedback – positive or negative – is sure to pop up!
When you meet with them ask how many years they’ve been working in real estate. You’re after someone with experience and expert local knowledge – not a glorified receptionist who’s been shifted into the property management department.
Also ask how many properties they look after and if they use property management software for managing and responding to tenant queries.
A common complaint with property managers is that they don’t act in a timely manner and tasks fall through the cracks. So if they look after 200+ properties and don’t use an app or professional program to manage communications, be warned!
A boutique agency may charge a little more for their services but it can be worth it to get the attention your property deserves.
Find out what kind of system they have for screening tenants, for example checking their credit history, past rental experiences and current employment. Do they subscribe to a major tenancy database?
Lastly, you may want to give your property manager permission to act on your behalf for maintenance tasks up to a certain amount of money (say $200) – but it’s important that this is set out in writing so there’s no confusion and you don’t get any nasty surprise bills.
Likewise, you have certain responsibilities as a landlord to undertake repairs so if your property manager makes you aware of something, don’t ignore it. This will ensure your property is kept in top condition, your tenants are happy and the rent payments keep coming.