7 tips for picking the right property manager
Picking the perfect property manager will ensure that your investment is in safe hands.
When you’ve put a substantial amount of your hard-earned dollars on the line to purchase an investment property, you want to know that your property will be expertly managed to maximise your returns and minimise stress. While there is the option of managing the property yourself, many investors choose to utilise the services of a professional property manager.
7 indispensable tips for finding a property manager
Keep the following tips in mind when searching for a property manager:
1. Look locally.
In the real estate business, local knowledge is crucial. From knowing how to attract tenants, to setting the rent at the right level and having contacts with trusted tradies, a local property manager gives you a big advantage.
2. Do your research.
If you have an Internet connection and a spare half hour, you can find out a wealth of information about the property managers in your area. Habib recommends reading customer reviews of property managers online to get some honest opinions from fellow investors. Here are some great resources to help you find the right property manager:
- Google. Do a quick search for property managers in your local area to see what's available.
- Real estate websites. Realestate.com.au and Domain are the two biggest property listing websites in Australia, and they also have online tools to help you find real estate agents and property managers all around the country.
- Productreview.com.au. Check out reviews from fellow investors at this useful website to get an idea of what to expect from an agency. Just remember to take each review with a grain of salt.
- WOMO. Word of Mouth Online is a business review site that can help you track down useful information about property managers.
- Rent.com.au. Search a directory of more than 6,200 property management agencies throughout Australia.
3. Rely on word of mouth.
“The best way to find a good property manager is through word of mouth and client feedback,” Habib says. “This is the most trustworthy feedback as it is feedback based on experience from consumers and not just what is read via marketing or advertising campaigns.”
4. Ask questions.
A property management company may sound spectacular on its website or brochure, but you’ll need to ask a range of questions to get past the PR spin. You’ll find a list of handy questions you can ask a prospective property manager below.
5. Find out what services they offer.
Not all property managers are created the same, and not all of them will offer the same services, so make sure you know exactly what you’ll be getting for your money.
6. Compare communication.
A property manager must be able to quickly and effectively communicate with you at all times, whether it be to inform you of necessary repairs, provide you with a choice of tenants or simply check in to see if there’s anything more they can do for you. Make sure you find a property manager who is always easily reached and who always keeps you up to date.
7. Count the cost.
Any expense associated with an investment is always going to be an important consideration, but remember that it’s not the only factor you’ll need to take into account. The old adage that you always get what you pay for holds true when it comes to property management, so don’t put price above all other factors.
5 essential questions to ask a prospective property manager
Leanne Habib, CEO of Premium Strata, outlines five key questions you can ask prospective property managers to help narrow down your choice:
- What are your qualifications? “This would provide an indication of the level of experience the manager has to offer, such as a licensed manager versus a manager who holds a certification of registration,” she says.
- How many properties do you manage as a company? This provides an indication of the size of the agency and their experience and service levels. Be mindful that an agency that looks over a large volume of properties may not have the time to devote to managing your property.
- How many properties are allocated to each manager within the company? “This will provide an indication if their managers have too many properties to look after, and in return are likely to be stretched out over too many clients, giving less time to each client as a result,” Habib says.
- What is your commitment to best practice? “This will provide an overview of how they do things within their business,” Habib says.
- What differentiates your services to other agencies? This will help you learn more about what one property manager can offer that other managers can’t. For example, what marketing strategies will they use to attract potential tenants to your property? What processes do they have for selecting a tenant? When they find a good tenant, what sort of steps will they take to retain that tenant?
Some other key questions you might ask include:
- Will I have one point of contact with the agency?
- How do you determine the rental amount?
- How will repairs and maintenance be handled?
- Will I be contacted before any work is performed?
- How often will you inspect the property?
- What will you do if a tenant falls behind on rental payments?
- How often will you contact me about my property?
Well-known property management agencies
We’ve included a selection of well-known property managers below to help you begin your search. The list is by no means exhaustive, so make sure to shop around for more options in your local area.
Some companies specialise in property management, including:
- Rental Management Australia
- Real Property Management Australia
- Your Future Property Management
- Investment Property Managers
Others also sell real estate, including:
- LJ Hooker
- Ray White
- First National
- Century 21
Make sure to compare a range of available options to determine which property management agency is right for you.
How to get the best out of your property manager?
You’ll need to add the property manager’s fee into your calculations when determining the overall success of your investment. The fee charged varies depending on the state or territory the property is located in, but it’s usually a percentage of the rent on the property, such as 8% or 10%.
It also pays to review your property management services regularly to make sure your property is receiving the care and attention it deserves and not falling through the cracks. Contacting your property manager regularly for updates will help you determine how high a priority your investment is and will also help ensure that the manager remains committed to helping you get the most out of your investment.
If you’re looking for someone to look after your investment property so that you don’t have to, make sure to do your research and shop around. Selecting the wrong property manager can have a detrimental impact on the success of your investment and even threaten its viability. But if you put in the time and effort to find a reliable and professional manager, you’ll be able to sit back and watch your wealth grow.
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