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Choosing the right Property Manager

Securing the right Property Manager can save you thousands of dollars in the long run, so how do you decide on who’s right for you?

While it’s easy to slip into making a decision based on fees, there are many more important areas you should take into account when it comes to the management of your largest financial asset. Here are five golden questions to help you uncover the best Property Manager for you.

1. Firstly, what do you need in a Property Manager?
Consider your personal circumstances… Think about your work schedule, how available you are during the day and your preferred communication method. Do you want to be contacted for every maintenance issue or just the more significant ones? Do you have any family or friends working as trades that you would prefer your Property Manager to use? Are you a strict budgeter? It’s important to match these needs with the Property Managers on your shortlist who can deliver on them.

2. How will your property be advertised? 
Ask to see the Marketing for a property currently available for rent. The quality of photography, marketing copy, brochure and reach to potential tenants directly correlates with the average days on market. A small investment on good quality marketing at the beginning will reward you with better tenants and shorter vacancy periods.

3. What level of detail do they provide you on the upkeep of your investment? 
Ask to view their Inspection Reports. Expect descriptions and images of each room including the appearance of important areas such as floors, walls, stove, oven, exhaust fans, shower screen, alcove and head, vanity and mirrors along with the garden. These are areas that if not maintained regularly, can cause premature wear, staining or maintenance problems. A proactive Property Manager will also look out for minor maintenance issues such as dripping taps or deteriorating grout, as a simple fix or patch up whilst the problem is still small – saving you a lot of money in the long run!

4. What do other clients think of their service?
Ask for references from their existing clients… after all, you are conducting an interview of sorts. Good Property Managers are hard to come by, so if they are great, they’re going to have raving fans. I’m sure their clients will only be too glad to show their appreciation for someone responsible in making their investment journey a smooth and successful ride

5. Lastly, Does the company have a fee structure that suits your budget?
While traditionally agencies charge a lower monthly management fee plus letting and inspection fees, ‘all inclusive’ packages (based on an average tenancy) are becoming much more common. On this structure you will pay a higher monthly management fee, however you don’t have to pay as many (or any) additional fees for the other services provided by your agency over and above the day-to-day management tasks. A great option for those who love continuity!

So spend some time working through what you need from a Property Manager and closely compare what’s being offered to you. If an agency’s only stand out point is lower fees… be concerned and dig a little deeper as to what services are being cut to make ends meet.

Jennifer Norcliffe
Investment Specialist  |  New Business Consultant  |  Columnist for The Property Investor