How well is your investment property being managed? The quality of service your property manager (PM) provides can significantly impact your investment experience. Problematic tenants, low return on investment, lack of support and property deterioration are all potential indicators of poor property management.
If you want a smoother and more successful investment experience, engaging the right PM is key. As well as dealing with the day-to-day management and maintenance of your investment property, the ideal candidate will have proven portfolio performance and offer additional recommendations to assist you with your journey.
When selecting a manager for your property, you want to know that they're going to care about your investment as much as you do. Here are some key questions to ask your PM to ensure your investment is in safe hands.
Is your property management team well-supported?
Managing an excessive number of properties means your agent is less likely to service your investment proactively. Large portfolios can result in overwhelmed managers, poor communication and costly mistakes.
A professional PM should be able to adequately manage between 100 and 200 properties, with support from an assistant. These property management assistants ensure there are enough resources and support to proactively manage the properties in larger portfolios.
What is the procedure for late rental payments?
Property agents who act early and keep the lines of communication open are better for your investment. The agency you choose to engage should have a proactive process to deal with late payments.
A quick phone call to you as the owner, in addition to written notifications, demonstrates the agent is committed to reaching your investment goals. Professional PMs will follow up any late rent with tenants immediately, send payment reminders and in extreme cases issue a notice to vacate if payment is over 14 days late.
How often are inspections?
It’s important to find out how regularly property inspections are carried out by the property management team. These inspections are key to ensuring your property remains in good condition and helps identify any issues that may need addressing. This can be particularly important in winter, as appliances such as hot water systems and heaters may require additional checks in the colder months.
Agents must give written notice (between seven and fourteen days) to tenants of an upcoming inspection. When choosing a PM, find out their process for inspections, including how they are reported, to ensure it meets your expectations.
What is the process for managing property damage, repairs & maintenance?
If damage is caused by tenants, PMs will need to act promptly to resolve the issue. By scheduling regular inspections, your PM should be able to uncover and rectify any problems earlier rather than later.
Professional PMs who take your investment seriously will also be able to weed out ‘nice to have’ maintenance from necessary or urgent repairs. As the homeowner, you have a duty of care to provide and pay for essential property maintenance, but it’s up to the tenants and your agent to ensure the requests are practical, prompt and properly managed.
Do you offer recommendations on how to maximise rental returns?
You pay your property agent a manager’s fee to look after the essentials, but it’s often the extra advice and recommendations that will prove beneficial in guiding you on your investment journey.
Ask your chosen PM whether they can offer information on how to maximise your rental returns. Their property and rental market knowledge could provide significant added value to your current investments and future investment endeavours.
To benefit from these skills, your chosen agent must be kept up to date with regular training. Good property management relies on a thorough understanding of the latest protocols and market conditions. Past experience matters, but choosing a PM that has their finger on the pulse with today’s property market is also hugely valuable.
Where can I find testimonials?
The most reputable agencies will have client testimonials on their website and social media channels.
References and testimonials are vital to ensuring the PM delivers what they say they will. Ask to see references from both tenants and landlords so you can trust you’re making the right decision with your choice of PM. If you can’t find any testimonials online, you can always ask them to provide you with some.
Do you provide end of month statements?
A good PM will keep you updated on the performance of your rental property through regular reports such as end of month statements.
These reports are essential to monitoring monthly rental income, but they're also necessary for crunching numbers and keeping track of whether your investment property is performing well.
Engaging a PM who has exceptional attention to detail is important, and these regular communications are key to ensuring you remain aware of costs and important updates that will affect your investment income.
The right property agent can make or break your investment journey. To find the best PM for you, do your homework and look for someone who ticks all the boxes. Most of all, your chosen PM should be as interested in the performance of your property as you are.
This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who recommends Momentum Wealth. Offering market leading research and advice on the Australian property market, the company helps clients accelerate their wealth through property investment by assisting them in the strategic planning, financing, acquisition, management and development of their commercial and residential investment properties. Catch Jayde on Google+.
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