Property management is not just about collecting rent. It is a comprehensive management service which should be done by a trained professional. To become a Property Management in Australia you can do an online course which can be completed within 1 – 4 months and it only gives you the basics of Property Management.
If you own an investment property you want to make sure that a professional is looking after your property, that rental money keeps coming in every month and that your property won’t get trashed by the tenants. You are paying someone to do this for you so you don’t have to lie awake every night worried about your investment property.
Before hiring a Property Manager, make sure you ask them (some of) the following questions. See this as an interview as it might be a long term business relationship and you want to make sure it is a good one without too much stress.
Questions you can ask:
- Are you the property manager who’ll be looking after my property? And if not, who will be?
- How many years have you been working in real estate as a property manager?
- How many properties do you personally currently manage?
- Who will look after my property if you are on leave?
- What action do you take if a tenant is behind in rent?
- How often will money be paid into my account?
- How do you collect the rent from the tenant?
- Do you enforce late fees?
- What is the outline of their policy for what happens when a tenant falls into arrears?
- What happens if my property needs urgent maintenance?
- What methods would you use to market my property and attract tenants?
- How do you screen tenants?
- Do you have a system for checking prospective tenants with regard to credit worthiness, past rental history and current employment?
- How many inspections do you carry out per year? And what is the cost?
- Do you provide photos of the state of the property after each inspection?
- What action do you take if you see damage at the property?
- Will you provide me with property inspection reports? Is this part of the management fee?
- What other forms of communication can I expect from you? Will I receive the following?
- Monthly statements
- Email updates
- General market information
- Maintenance issues
- Rent reviews
- Lease renewals
- Warning about when tenants are vacating
19. What is the full cost of management?
The three basic upfront fees you will incur are:
- A Management fee (a commission percentage of the weekly rental figure)
- A Letting fee (often one or two weeks’ rent)
- An Administration fee (usually a monthly fee for administration)
20. What is included in the management fee? Is the cost of advertising of your property to
find a tenant, your inspections, reports and organisation of maintenance quotes included?
21. What is your estimate of the weekly rental potential of the property? ’What are you
basing this on?’
22. How can you ensure the best returns from my property?
23. What else can you do that another property manager can’t?
Remember that management fees are always negotiable.
Compare the results from all the questions and you’ll be able to make an informed decision on who is the best property manager for you. Only hire a property manager if you feel like you can trust this person. In the end they are looking after one of your biggest assets.
You don’t need to become the expert, but having some knowledge will save you a lot of headache down the road.