Professional property management can save you valuable time, money and headaches, making your investment journey a lot smoother. That is, of course, if you have a great property manager. Just as you need to do your research to find the best possible investment property, you should also do the same for the perfect property manager. So what kind of attributes does the ideal property manager possess? Here’s what you should be looking for.
Professionalism and experience
Property management should be, above all else, professional. This includes having acquired the necessary qualifications and a demonstrated track record of good results. Experience is earned, not bought, so there is just no substitute for a professional property manager who has years of industry knowledge and experience under their belt. References from current clients can be helpful, and you should always ask the property manager to show evidence of their general vacancy rates, how long it takes them on average to let a property, and how long they have worked in the industry.
An agent who has their finger on the pulse within the broader market scope is a valuable player on your team. However, a property manager who is also intimately familiar with the local region is even better. Market knowledge is key to purchasing a property in the right area for your investment, and a good property manager should be able to provide detailed information on local services, facilities and infrastructure.
Good property management extends beyond collecting rent and dealing with maintenance issues. It requires proactive thinking and a genuine passion for the industry. A property manager should regularly review the rent fees to ensure tenants are paying an amount that corresponds with the current market. They also understand that landlords rely on rent from the tenants to meet their mortgage repayments, so a decent property manager will help maximise your yields.
The reason you hire a property management team is because they know more than you about the industry, and you trust their judgement. This means they should be able to provide expert advice when you need it, or even when you think you don’t. A good property manager will assess your investment property to determine its correct market value for prospective tenants. They understand the rental balance and know that if you charge too much, you risk extended vacancies. But if you charge too little, you are not maximising your yields. Hire a property manager who is able to suggest certain upgrades to improve the value and appeal of your investment.
Finding the right tenants
One of the most critical tasks you trust your property manager with is the application process. Using their skills and experience, they can advise you on the suitability of applicants and conduct reference and rental history checks. Rather than filling the vacancy with just anybody, a good property manager will always seek applicants who are most likely to be long term, reliable tenants.
Taking care of business
Just because it’s part of the job description doesn’t mean all property managers handle business the same. A good property manager will stay on top of any maintenance issues and respond to them in a timely manner. They usually have a list of trusted tradespeople to carry out the work, meaning they can fast-track repairs and pass on discounts to the landlord. They should also conduct regular inspections to ensure that the tenant is looking after your investment.
Look for the best, not the cheapest
‘How much are your fees?’ is often the first question an investor will ask a property management agency. While this is a fair question, it’s not the most important one. It is all relevant to the kind of service you receive for the amount you pay. Ideally, you want the most bang for your buck, which means seeking the best service rather than the best price. It’s a good idea to chat with a number of property managers before you make a decision and go with the one you feel has your best interests at heart.
Property management and good property management are not the same thing; be smart and shop around if you have to. Your investment property is too valuable an asset to leave in the hands of luck.
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