7 tips for picking the right property manager

Picking the perfect property manager will ensure that your investment is in safe hands.

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. What is your commitment to best practice? “This will provide an overview of how they do things within their business,” Habib says.
  5. 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:

  • Metropole
  • 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
  • McGrath
  • Century 21
  • RE/MAX

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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Rates last updated February 20th, 2020
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Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate - Discount Offer for Investor Variable P&I Rate
$0 p.a.
Get a discounted, low-fee investor loan from a convenient online lender. 20% deposit required.
Athena Variable Home Loan - Investor, P&I
$0 p.a.
Athena offers one of the lowest rates in the market for investors. No ongoing fees and no application fee. Principal and interest repayments.
State Custodians Low Rate Home Loan with Offset - LVR up to 80% (Investor, P&I)
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This investment loan keeps fees low, has a sharp interest rate and comes with a 100% offset account. This loan is not available for construction.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society  Premium Plus Package Fixed Rate - 2 Year Fixed (Investor, P&I)
$395 p.a.
Investors can lock in their rate for two years and pay no upfront fees.
Virgin Reward Me Variable Home Loan - LVR <= 80% ($500k to $750k Investor, P&I)
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
A flexible variable loan for investors. No application fee.
loans.com.au Smart Home Loan - (Investor, P&I)
$0 p.a.
A competitive variable investor rate for borrowers with 20% deposits. Low fees, redraw facilities and repayment flexibility.
IMB Fixed Rate Home Loan - 3 Years Fixed (LVR ≤90% Investor, P&I, NSW and ACT borrowers only)
$6 monthly ($72 p.a.)
NSW and ACT customers only. A 3 years fixed rate investor which allows extra repayments to be made.
Macquarie Bank Basic Fixed Home Loan - 3 Year Fixed Rate LVR ≤ 70% (Investor, P&I)
$0 p.a.
A principal and interest loan for property investors with a 30% deposit.
Gateway Bank Low Rate Essentials Variable Rate Home Loan - Special offer LVR up to 80% and over $500k (Investor, P&I)
$0 p.a.
Investors with 20% deposits can get this flexible variable mortgage with low fees and a reasonable rate.
UBank UHomeLoan - 1 Year Fixed Rate (Investor, P&I)
$0 p.a.
Investors can enjoy flexible repayments and an easy application process with this pioneering online lender.
Macquarie Bank Basic Fixed Home Loan - 1 Year Fixed Rate LVR ≤ 70% (Investor, P&I)
$0 p.a.
This fixed investor loan keeps it simple and boasts a low rate. Requires a 30% deposit.
Pepper Money Essential Prime Full Doc Home Loan - LVR >75% up to 80%
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
This is a competitive, flexible variable rate suitable for borrowers with a good credit history. Borrow up to 80%.
State Custodians Low Rate Home Loan with Offset - LVR up to 80% (Investor, IO)
$0 p.a.
A competitive rate with no application or ongoing fee. This loan is not available for construction.
ING Orange Advantage Loan - $150k to $500k (LVR <=80% Investor, P&I)
$299 p.a.
Investors can enjoy a 100% offset account, a redraw facility and flexible repayments.
State Custodians Low Rate LOC - LVR up to 80% (Investor, IO)
$0 p.a.
Investors can easily access their equity using BPAY, a debit Master Card or cheque book with this interest-only line of credit. This loan is not available for construction.
UBank UHomeLoan - 3 Year Fixed Rate (Investor, P&I)
$0 p.a.
Pay no ongoing fees on this investment loan fixed for 3 years.
State Custodians Low Rate Home Loan with Offset - LVR 80% to 90% (Investor, P&I)
$0 p.a.
Access a fee-free offset account and a special interest rate for investors. This loan is not available for construction.
Pepper Money Essential Prime Alt Doc Home Loan - LVR up to 55%
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
A competitive rate home loan with an offset facility for self-employed borrowers.
ANZ Breakfree Home Loan Package  - $500,000 plus (LVR <=80% Investor, IO)
$395 p.a.
Pay no application fee with 100% offset account with redraw facility and borrow up to 95% LVR.

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Credit services for Aussie Select, Aussie Activate and Aussie Elevate products are provided by AHL Investments Pty Ltd ACN 105 265 861 (“Aussie”) and its appointed credit representatives, Australian Credit Licence 246786. Credit for Aussie Select products is provided by Residential Mortgage Group Pty Ltd ACN 152 378 133, Australian Credit Licence 414133 (“RMG”). RMG is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 234945. Credit for Aussie Activate products is provided by Pepper Finance Corporation Limited ACN 094 317 647 (“Pepper”). Pepper Group Limited ACN 094 317 665, Australian Credit Licence 286655 acts on behalf of Pepper. Credit services for Aussie Elevate products are provided by AHL Investments Pty Ltd ACN 105 265 861 Australian Credit Licence 246786 (“Aussie”) and its appointed credit representatives. Aussie is a trade mark of AHL Investments Pty Ltd ABN 27 105 265 861. Credit and any applicable offset accounts for Aussie Elevate are issued by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited ABN 11 068 049 178 AFSL / Australian Credit Licence 237879.

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