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Get maximum value out of your property manager

By Angela Brackenridge

Smart property investment can be your key to a better retirement and a more secure future. That’s why getting the most out of the property manager you hire to look after your investment is absolutely essential. As dramatic as it sounds, your future could quite literally depend on how well they do their job. To that end, keep these tips in mind to ensure you get maximum value of of your property manager.

1. LOOK FOR RELEVANT LOCAL EXPERIENCE

There are almost 26,000 property managers throughout Australia, according to IBISWorld. Out of them all only a select few will be perfectly suited to the task of managing your investment property – those with relevant local experience.

Look for someone who has spent five years or more working in the immediate area, with properties similar to yours.

These property managers will know the market and the tenants in the area well, and be knowledgeable enough to offer industry insider advice to help you increase the profitability of your investment.

2. HIRE A MANAGER WITH A SOLID AGENCY BEHIND THEM

Regardless of how fantastic a property manager is, if they don’t have a large and reputable agency behind them they may not be able to provide the service you need. That’s because property managers at large agencies have access to the support and resources they need to effectively market your property to tenants. This will allow them to reach a wider pool of prospective renters when it comes time.

What’s more, if anything goes wrong with your property and the agent or agency are at fault, you’ll have the insurance and legal expertise of a large firm at your disposal to solve the problem.

3. FIND SOMEONE WHO ISN’T OVERWORKED

Many busy agencies have a staff of property managers who look after 200 or more properties each.

Many busy agencies have a staff of property managers who look after 200 or more properties each. Generally speaking, these managers won’t be able to spend the time of day necessary on your investment.

For that reason you shouldn’t hesitate to ask your prospective hires how many properties they look after.

Fewer is generally better – around the 100 to 150 mark if possible.

4. LISTEN TO YOUR GUT FEELING

If you’re interviewing a property manager and your gut tells you they’re not quite right – listen to it. One of the most important traits any effective manager should have is the ability to quickly relate to people and form relationships.

This allows them to get on your tenant’s side to reduce the chance of a dispute and make regular communication with you as easy as possible. If for some reason you’re not fond of a property manager there’s a good chance your tenants won’t be either.

5. MAKE EXPECTATIONS CLEAR

At the very start of your arrangement you should set out what exactly you expect from your property manager – in writing if possible. These expectations might include:

  • The reasons why the property manager should contact you immediately (i.e. damage to the property, late rent payments).
  • The regularity of check-ins or updates on the property.
  • How often you’d like to receive the property manager’s financial records for the property.
  • When a property manager should contact you to ask permission to perform repairs and maintenance (i.e. if costs exceed $500).
  • How often the property manager should increase the rent or inspect the property.

If you’re clear at the very start of the arrangement your property manager will know what you need, and will be better able to provide a service that meets your expectations.

6. COMMUNICATE REGULARLY

Regular communication is key to building a successful relationship with any property manager.

Many would say it’s good news if you don’t hear from your property manager for months on end. However, the most experienced investors know that regular communication is key to building a successful relationship with any property manager.

Not only will regular contact help you build a solid working relationship, it’ll also keep you informed with your property, and involved in the decision making around it. With regular communication, you’ll also always be aware of any concerns the property manager has, and be able to provide input on how they should be managed.

7. HIRE A PROPERTY MANAGER WHO CARES

Unfortunately there are some fly-by-night property managers who will do the bare minimum to collect their commission. Going with a reputable, well known agency should help to weed them out – however, to be extra safe you should pay close attention when you meet them.

If they genuinely care about your property and are passionate about what they do that’ll come across in person. Picking someone who really cares will ensure your property is managed with the utmost diligence, so that it grows in value over time, and causes you the least possible stress.

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