You’ve just bought or are in the process of buying an investment property – it’s an exciting milestone! Now, you’re probably looking for someone to manage and protect your property. But finding a good property manager can be a complex undertaking.
Investors expect a property manager to screen tenants, arrange the lease paperwork and collect rents. But good property management goes much further.
Here are the burning questions you need to ask when choosing a rental property manager that’s right for you
1 – How will you make sure my tenants pay rent on time?
Regular rent is a must-have for successful property investing. It goes a long way to keeping your cashflow healthy and protecting your financial position.
You want to look for a property management company with systems in place that make it easy for tenants to pay rent on time, every time.
Something as simple as offering tenants the option to pay via direct debit can go a long way to increasing reliability of rental income.
While you’re asking about rents, be sure to enquire about the property manager’s policy on rent arrears. The majority of tenants pay on time, but it’s good to know where you stand, and what procedures your property manager has in place to address these issues – just in case.
2 – Do you offer advice on adding value to my property?
When doing your research to find a property manager, you’ll find that many perform well when it comes to everyday management – maintaining your property, collecting rent, addressing repairs and the like.
But focusing on this alone, without considering your overall returns, will often result in a property that underperforms, or potential that is overlooked.
Good management isn’t just about collecting rent. It involves researching tenant demand, understanding the local rental market, and explaining what you can do to proactively maximise rental returns.
Even simple, well-researched suggestions around cost-effective improvements – such as a few finishing touches or a fresh lick of paint, could mean a surprising uptick in weekly rent.
It’s all about your property manager helping you make the most of your property – which means looking beyond the “norm” of everyday strategies.
3 – How will you protect me from compliance issues?
One of the most crucial roles of a property manager is to protect your rights and obligations as a landlord.
As well as ensuring your tenant’s safety, this is a critical step in mitigating your risk and protecting you from costly penalties.
This is another area that can be somewhat of a test of a property manager’s quality.
While every property manager should be assessing the compliance of your property prior to the start of a tenancy, the best property management companies will also have steps in place to maintain this level of protection on an ongoing basis.
When choosing a property manager, ask what procedures they have in place to support ongoing compliance, such as whether they offer an annual RCD or smoke alarm check to maintain your property’s safety standards.
4 – How will you protect my property’s value?
No one wants to live in a poorly maintained property. But effective management isn’t just about responding to problems when they arise.
A proactive manager will take a forward-thinking approach to the condition of your property. This might mean organising annual maintenance such as gutter cleaning, or booking regular pest inspections to prevent ongoing damage – steps that if left unattended could lead to serious safety or structural issues.
Another great guage of a property manager’s proactiveness is their approach to your lease agreement.
Some property managers may be happy to hand you and the tenant a standard lease agreement. It’s quick. It’s convenient. But it may not cover you against as much as you think.
A good property manager will know this, and if necessary, recommend other special clauses to be inserted into the lease agreement. These could involve protecting polished floorboards, supporting better maintenance of outdoor areas, or covering possible damage by pets.
5 – What other value-adds do you provide?
Healthy rents, a good tenant, and minimal vacancy periods are all part and parcel of successful investing. But what about the other side of the ledger?
An outstanding property manager will help you look at the whole picture of your property and take an overarching view of your investment position.
It’s another way of helping you get the most from your property, with possible savings on loan interest giving your returns a welcome boost.
An investment-minded property manager might also help you identify ways to get more from your portfolio. This could mean tapping into the equity you’ve built up in your property, or looking at ways to kickstart a dual-income strategy.
Download our property management brochure for investors
So, there are our top hacks on how to find a good property manager! These questions should give you a good gauge on the level of ongoing service and support you can expect to receive from your property manager, helping you make a more informed decision on the right choice and team for you.
In the process of starting your property investment journey? Download our property management brochure for investors to find out more about how our unique approach could deliver better results for your portfolio.