Your property is likely to be your most valuable asset, so you want to make sure you have the right person on your team to get the best possible outcome for you. The right property manager can make or break your investment. So how can you sift through the competition and find a professional who is best suited to you? This article will guide you through the key questions you should ask any prospective property manager to find the best match for your property.
- What is your knowledge of the local rental market?
You want a property manager with experience in the local area of your property. This specialised knowledge is invaluable. Ask about their knowledge of the area, other properties they manage, as well as the current performance of the rental market, and any trends or future expectations. You really want to make sure your property manager can demonstrate their knowledge.
- How much do you charge and what is included?
When appointing a property manager, there are usually upfront costs as well as ongoing costs you should be aware of. The three basic costs you could expect include:
- Management fee à a percentage of the weekly rental figure.
- Letting fee à Usually 1-2 weeks’ rent.
- Administration fee à Usually a monthly amount.
The management fee will often include advertising, inspections, reports and organisation of maintenance quotes, but each property manager is different. Make sure you ask exactly what’s included so you don’t face any nasty hidden fees later on!
- What is your estimate of the weekly rental potential of the property?
You want a property manager who has high but realistic expectations for your rental income. You should ask upon what basis they have made their estimate, so you can grasp their understanding of similar properties in the area and the rents they have achieved.
- How – and how often – will you communicate with me?
Good communication between a property manager and landlord is very important. You want someone who will regularly communicate with you through an agreed process, whether that’s through email updates, monthly statements, or property inspection reports. Ask your property manager how they will keep you informed about anything that happens with your property, such as maintenance issues, lease renewals or rent reviews. Your agent should always make you feel like a top priority.
- What is your tenant selection criteria?
Good tenant selection is vital. Your property manager should always maintain excellent tenant selection standards despite the rush to receive rental income. A bad tenant can damage the property, fail to pay rent, refuse to leave, and overall cause a lot of wasted time and money. Make sure you are happy with your property manager’s criteria.
Examples of tenant selection steps your property manager might take include:
- Requesting evidence of an income equal or 3 times the weekly rent.
- Obtaining a good rental reference from another agent or proof of previous home ownership.
- Screening for tenants on TICA – Australia’s largest tenant default database.
- How will you market my property and attract good tenants?
Does your agent have a large database of quality tenants looking for a home and/or a clear marketing strategy? Ask your agent how they intend to market your property and how often they will be available to show the property to interested tenants. Many prospective tenants work business hours so you will want a property manager who is flexible enough to show your property outside of business hours or on weekends.
- How often will you inspect my property?
Property inspections are an important way to make sure your property is well looked after. The number of inspections your property manager can carry out is restricted by legislation for your state, but you want to make sure your agent complies with the maximum allowed. You also want to find out what kind of report you will receive and whether the costs of inspections and reports are included in the management fee.
- What action will be taken if a tenant falls behind in rent?
A property manager should check the rent arrears regularly and identify any tenants behind in rent. There is a timeline of steps a property manager should take in the event of a tenant’s failure to pay rent. This may include the issue of a notice to vacate, and later taking the tenant to the state’s relevant tribunal to be issued a grant of possession. Ask your property manager about the relevant legislation in your state to make sure they have the required knowledge to deal with any issues that may arise.
- How are the financial aspects managed?
Ask your property manager how and when rents are collected, and when you can expect to receive the money in your bank account. You should be given a clear explanation of how all financial matters will be managed, including how fees are expected to be paid by you.
- What benefits will your property management services provide that others don’t?
This is an important question to help you make your final decision. Find out the point of difference each prospective property manager offers. For example, do they have excellent knowledge of the local market, offer open communication with their landlords, operate 7 days a week, or have a unique promotional strategy? Weight up the pros and cons of each agent.
A great property manager is an invaluable asset to have. By asking these ten questions, you will be well on your way to finding the best person to look after your particular property.
If you are looking for a property manager or have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
0419 237 044
Vogue Real Estate