Buying an investment property is a big step and while Robson + Robson Property can assist you in making the most suitable purchase for your situation and goals, the success of your property doesn’t stop at settlement. If you think of it like a business or team, you’re going to want the best people working with you, and that’s the mindset you should have when you’re hiring a property manager.
When you’ve put a substantial amount of your hard-earned money on the line to purchase an investment property, you need to know that your property will be expertly managed to maximise your returns and minimise stress. While you certainly can manage the property yourself, many investors choose to utilise the services of a professional property manager.
If you’re still unsure, head over to the RTA’s website here to read all about your rights and responsibilities or give us a call on 07 5635 4238 and we’ll gladly point you in the right direction.
When interviewing Property Managers, use this simple questionnaire to determine if they’ll be a valuable addition to your property team or a drain on time and money.
1. Are the staff experienced?
Property management traditionally has a high staff turnover. You need to know your Property Manager has the experience, training and knowledge to handle your investment as if it were their own.
2. Is the agency established and local?
New agencies come and go and when they do, they often sell their rent roll to the highest bidding agency which may not live up to your expectations. Select an agency that’s in it for the long haul and that has an interest in maintaining a good reputation in the local area.
3. How do they stay up to date with legislation to ensure your property is compliant?
Property laws are constantly being amended. It’s imperative that your property manager invests in training their team to ensure they are up to date with the latest legislative requirements and best practice policies to guarantee your property is compliant.
4. Are they accredited by their state’s local industry body?
QLD has the Real Estate Industry Queensland (REIQ) while NSW has the Real Estate Industry NSW (REINSW). Each state has a local industry body to regulate the industry. Employees must be registered, especially property management. As a minimum requirement of their registration, all registered staff must undertake annual training (referred to as CPD points) in order to ensure they’re up to date with the latest policy changes. If in doubt, you can request to view your property manager’s Real Estate Certificate and CPD completion certificate or search the REI website here
5. What level of service are they committed to providing and do they really care?
A great Property Manager will treat an investment property as if it were their own. Their primary focus should be maximising your income, optimising capital growth and ensuring your most valuable asset is compliant and being taken care of by quality tenants.
6. What is there rent arrears policy?
Ideally rent is paid on time every time but occasionally life gets in the way and tenants may fall behind. It is crucial that the Property Manager has systems in place to recognise rent arrears immediately and strong communication skills to liaise with the tenant. Most well-run agencies will have a procedure that starts with a prompting text message on day 1 and daily follow ups until the outstanding amount is paid.
7. Communication – Are they attentive & responsive?
All enquiries, from tenants and landlords should receive a response within 24 hours. Your Property Manager should also take the care to provide you with accurate, clear and concise documentation regarding your property and process all documentation to comply with legislation.
8. How will they minimise vacancy and maximise return on investment?
Your Property Manager should be able to demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the current market conditions and provide supporting evidence to their recommended rental price (including a comparison of similar properties in the area).
They should also be able to explain their proven process for attracting the highest quality tenants in the shortest amount of time. A good Property Manager will inspect the property and suggest any maintenance or improvements required prior to professional photos being arranged. Your property should be advertised at the top of the major websites (realestate.com.au and domain.com.au are essential) and open homes should be held at least twice per week at times that prospective tenants can realistically view the home.
9. How do they select quality tenants?
Selecting a quality tenant starts at the inspection and will dictate your property’s performance. At open homes, some Property Managers simply unlock the property and greet tenants at the door. A great Property Manager will walk through the property with prospective tenants pointing out it’s qualities, answering any questions and explaining the condition of the tenancy while establishing rapport and gaging each attendees character and situation. Post-inspection, they will be able to provide you with feedback about the property and a brief overview of each attendee.
Each application will be screened to confirm the applicant’s rental history, living situation, ability to pay rent (income) and overall character. This will include obtaining 100 points of I.D, proof of income, previous rental ledgers, reference checks (current employer and current property manager) and a check through multiple tenancy databases (such at TICA) to ensure they have a great rental history. This information should then be passed onto you as the landlord to ensure you are able to make an informed selection.
10. Do they take care of all invoices, insurances and rates for you?
As a property owner, you can manage your own asset however, you hire a professional in order to take much of the stress away and to ensure you’re getting the most out of it while complying with regulations. Your Property Manager should have procedures in place to ensure your rates and invoices are paid on time, your property stays compliant (i.e. smoke alarms tested, pool certificate etc), appropriate insurances are in place and tax depreciation schedules are provided at the end of the financial year along with a detailed annual statement outlining income, expenses, GST on expenses and balance making tax time much easier.
11. Do they have sufficient time to focus on your asset?
Often at discount agencies, property managers are overworked and overloaded with a large portfolio to manage on their own. Speak with your agent to find out how many properties they’re managing. Consider asking them if they have a leasing agent, or if they’re also required to do the leasing.
12. Will I receive detailed Routine Inspection reports?
Legally, your Property Manager can conduct 4 routine inspections per year, the best property managers take advantage of that allowance completing an inspection every 3 months. A detailed condition report with photos outlining required, preventative and future maintenance items must be provided to you after each inspection.
13. Would they go to court for you?
Even after rigorous screening of applicants and regular routine inspections, tenancy disputes can arise. Your Property Manager should attempt to resolve disputes through the RTA however, in the event the dispute is required to go to tribunal, your Property Manager will need to attend on your behalf.
14. How do they justify their fees?
Often, you get what you pay for. Some agencies offer very cheap fees but if they’re not managing your investment effectively it could end up costing you thousands of dollars every year and worse still, you could be exposed to legal disputes if your property isn’t compliant or is leased to a bad tenant.
15. Is your rental income kept in line with the market?
Your agent should be conducting regular rent reviews to maximise your income. They will ensure your property is sitting in line with the current market. Are they able to discuss with you the current market trends, and how that will affect your investment?
16. Who are their tradespeople?
An established agency will have a selection of licensed, high-quality, competitively priced contractors who they’ve built trusting relationships with over the years. It’s important that your agent has also verified the contractors’ licensing and insurance documentation.
17. What’s their tenancy Retention Rate?
Tenants are clients too, so your property manager should always be fair and communicative with them. Good rapport is essential if you want to retain good tenants in your investment property.