You’ve leveraged the equity in your own home, done your research on how to invest in property, found your ideal property at the right price and now you are approaching settlement day. Congratulations on your smart move! Now you need to find tenants and put your rental property in the right hands – that’s why the task of choosing a rental property manager can be a tough one. Some of the characteristics of a good property manager you’re looking for are local experience, passion, excellent communication skills and the know-how to navigate today’s property market for you – so you can rest easy.
Don’t just go with the property manager at the same real estate agency you bought the property through. Ask around, speak with several property managers in the area and keep looking until you find someone you know you can trust implicitly.
To get you on track to finding the ideal property manager, here are some questions to ask as starting points as you shop around.
9 questions to ask a property manager before hiring
1. How many properties do you currently manage?
Too many properties over too wide an area may mean the property manager will be spread too thin and any problems associated with your property may not be attended to as promptly as they should.
2. How will you market my property to potential tenants?
Do they have a list of interested tenants on file? How will they advertise your property? What is their recommended weekly rental fee for the property? Hopefully, you will have ascertained the expected rental return before buying the property, so if the person you are speaking with quotes a weekly rental that is significantly higher or lower than you are expecting, be very wary indeed.
3. Are there any improvements I should make to the property now to attract better tenants and gain a higher rental return?
This question will reveal how knowledgeable the property manager is about what attracts local tenants. If your property is likely to attract a young family, for example, a fully fenced yard could entice more potential tenants and even lead to a higher rental return. If your tenant is likely to be a single female, then better security or an alarm system may be key.
4. What is your process for showing a property to prospective tenants?
You want to know they will go the hard yards here and show the property on week days or after hours if requested by a potential tenant.
5. What is your screening process for new tenants?
You want to know that extra care will be taken to find you reliable, stable tenants. You also want to know that your tenants will be well treated so they have no cause for complaint and will stay long term.
6. How do you handle situations such as a tenant missing a rental payment or an after hours emergency occurs?
The answer to this question will give you important clues as to the property manager’s people skills and dedication.
7. What are my responsibilities as a landlord?
As a new landlord, you need to know your rights and responsibilities and also the rights and responsibilities of your tenants. A knowledgeable answer to this question will show that your potential property manager is well-versed in all the necessary legal issues.
8. How often will you inspect my property?
You need to know that your property will be carefully inspected on a regular basis (up to four times a year in New South Wales and twice annually in Victoria) and that you will receive a full report after each inspection.
9. What is your fee structure?
Price isn’t everything, however it’s important to understand where your dollars are being invested. In most cases, a property manager’s fee will be calculated as a percentage of the rental fee.
The answers to the above questions should give you lots of signals as to the property manager’s local knowledge, level of enthusiasm for his or her job and professional integrity. Any sign of a lacksadaisical attitude should ring warning bells.
Over to you
Ultimately, you want a property manager who will diligently care for you, your tenants and your asset, protecting your investment and consistently delivering the best possible returns. Taking time and care when choosing a rental property manager is an investment that will bring you long term returns and peace of mind.
Want to know more about making the most of your properties and future? We’ve created The Aussie Guide to Managing Property And Your Future with you in mind. With essential insights from real estate agents, property professionals and personal finance gurus, we’ve gathered the best resources in a single, comprehensive guide you can download here. It's on us!