How to find a great property manager?

Getting the right property manager is critical which of course is no surprise to any experienced landlord. Knowing how to interview their prospective property manager to be sure they are selecting the right agent for the job may be a challenge though so when I saw this list of questions to ask your property manager I thought them ideal to share.

 As an agency principal I of course had to read them to check out how we would rate and I got excited because we rate really well! 🙂  You forget that not everyone has opens on Saturdays to get the properties rented faster and so many other little things we do and have done for so long that perhaps are not the norm for most.

1.       Does the agency have a dedicated rental department and how many staff will be looking after my property?

Many agencies see property management as the ‘poor sister’ to the more glamorous sales department and some even leave the management of a client’s assets to the front desk staff and receptionists. Ensure your agent has a dedicated property management department.

 2.       Is a Director/owner of an agency involved in the day-to-day management of the property management department?

You may find that in an agency where the Director has an active involvement, the property management department will take the business of property management more seriously.

 3.       How many years has the property manager been working in real estate?

Going to a brand name agency doesn’t mean their service is going to be any better. Many people start their career in real estate as receptionists and then move up to property management department and some of the top performers move into sales. Yet some individuals choose property management as a career and this is the type of person who should be looking after your property. They should preferably have four years’ industry experience.

 4.       Does the property manager give you a written proposal?

Some property managers just go out and look at your property and say, “okay, we’ll put it on our books”. Look for someone who has put in the time and effort to present a professional image to you and gives you a written proposal.

 5.       What geographical area does the property management service cover?

While you should be looking for a property manager with expert local knowledge, consider what your property portfolio will look like in a couple of years’ time. Will you own a number of properties spread throughout the suburbs? You could either employ a specialist property manager in each geographic location or you could instruct a large property management company that covers a larger geographic area.

 6.       Does the property manager just hand out keys or do they attend property inspections with prospective tenants?

If they hand out keys and let the tenant inspect the property on their own, move on to another agency. Too many things can go wrong with this approach and the security of your property is compromised.

 7.       How many properties does the manager look after?

A property manager who looks after too many properties may not have time to devote attention to your property. Some busy agencies have more than 250 properties per property manager. In general, this is far too many to give your property individual attention.

 8.       Do you have staff available to show my property to prospective tenants six days a week?

The hectic pace of life and the advertising of rental properties on the internet 24 hours a day means a good property manager must be available to show prospective tenants your property when it best suits the tenant.

 9.       Do you have a system for checking prospective tenants’ credit worthiness, rental history and their current employment?

Ensure that your property manager subscribes to a major tenancy database and screens all prospective tenants carefully.

 10.   Do you have a system that daily checks rental arrears and takes appropriate action immediately?

A good property manager who uses electronic funds transfer for rent collections and up-to-date computer systems should be able to monitor rental arrears daily and minimise late rental payments by regular communication with tenants.

 11.   Will you go to court for me and what is your previous success rate?

Unfortunately, you just might have to go to the tenancy tribunal to protect your rights as a landlord. If this happens you will need an experienced property manager to represent you as tenancy laws have become quite complex.

Questions source: Metropole properties as they appeared in the November issue of the Australian Property Investor Magazine.

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