If you own an investment property and are on the lookout for a professional property manager, there are some key factors you should consider before signing on the dotted line.
After all, property managers take care of absolutely everything relating to your rental, from the initial marketing and open inspections, through to managing the ongoing tenancy, answering queries, receiving rental payments, monitoring maintenance and more.
Choosing a great property manager will help you attract the very best renters, maximize your rental income and enhance the overall value of your investment, whilst also minimizing your exposure to risk.
So, without further ado, here are my top 7 tips for finding a professional property manager:
Prompt responses and excellent communication skills are key to a positive property management experience.
If you are waiting over a week for a reply to an email or your property manager isn’t picking up the phone this can be extremely frustrating. A great property manager should be proactive and always have their mobile phone on hand, even while on the go.
When you initially reach out to a property management company, try and keep a record of how long they take to get back to you. If they are not meeting your expectations throughout the signup process, this usually is not a good sign.
Ensure Legal & Compliance Expertise
A reputable property manager needs to have an in-depth understanding of legal and compliance relating to your investment.
In Victoria complying with the Residential Tenancies Act is vital to ensuring property owners meet their obligations and avoid severe penalties. Grounds for terminating a tenant’s lease and information on a properties minimum safety standards are just some examples of what is covered by the Act.
Look For Local Market Knowledge
Market knowledge is an area that is often overlooked. Does this real estate agent lease other properties in the area?
Are they utilizing property data reports to determine the optimal rental amount for your investment? Choosing a property manager with the right tools and local knowledge will minimize vacancy and ensure you are achieving the maximum return.
Read Client Feedback
Online customer reviews are a quick and straightforward way to identify a professional property manager. Reading experiences from both property owners and tenants will give you a strong indication of what to expect once you hand your property over.
Property marketing determines how many tenants your property reaches and ultimately whether you receive optimal rental returns.
Make sure to check the property managers photography, if they include floorplans, appear on all the top listing websites and whether they invest in email or social media marketing.
Another form of marketing that has accelerated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is online virtual property tours. During periods of lockdown renters could inspect the property from the comfort of their own home.
When open inspections resumed, virtual tours continued to help qualify renters before they opted to see the property in person. Request a marketing pack and make a note of the marketing costs so you can compare level of exposure vs expenses.
Fees are an important consideration and should be assessed along with the expertise and service standards.
The average fee for property management services in Melbourne is currently between 6% and 8% of all rental income, plus GST.
As fees are a regular expense it is a good idea to compare the local market and check any additional costs when the property needs to be advertised.
Be wary of agents pitching extremely low fees as they may not invest time ensuring your property is adequately taken care of and in some circumstances outsource work to third parties overseas.
Are you reaching out to new property managers right now?
Here are some questions you might like to ask when making your initial inquiry:
- How many years of experience do you have as a property manager?
- What training and development programs do team members participate in to ensure they are up to date with laws and regulations?
- What is the occupancy/vacancy rates for properties under your management?
- How many inspections will your team conduct each year?
- Can you provide any references from previous clients?
- What is the average time on market for your rental properties in the current market?
So those were my top 7 tips for choosing a professional property management service provider.
By engaging a qualified property manager, like our team at The Hopkins Group, you can rest easy knowing your property is in safe hands.