Without doubt, one of the most important factors in maintaining a profitable investment property portfolio is having an excellent property manager.
A property manager not only knows the ins and outs of the market, but they have systems and processes to make sure everything is running smoothly, a database of prospective tenants, access to an array of services and most importantly – they choose to manage property for a living.In most cases property management fees are an eligible tax deduction, so engaging a quality property manager can offset some of your costs as well as peace of mind that your investment is in good hands and free up your time. Here’s some advice on what to look for when on the hunt for a champion property manager that’s the right fit for you:
You want a property manager who is committed to finding you the best possible tenants and minimising vacancy. Most property managers use apps and technology to assist the management of their prospective tenant database but not all utilise them beyond scheduling inspections and recording the attendees. Leasing properties is so much more than opening the door and property managers with great leasing processes will have systems in place to allow prospective tenants to select a time to view a property that suits the prospect and will also communicate regularly with their prospective tenant database to let them know of rental properties on the horizon, send virtual tours and will use great marketing across various platforms so that your property is getting in front of as many prospects as possible and ensuring the best possible tenant for your investment property within the shortest possible vacancy period.
Communication and response times
Nobody likes being on hold for 20 minutes only to then find out your property manager is out at a property inspection and nobody else is able to help, or emailing/lodging an online request and waiting a couple days for someone to reply. Great property managers will not only communicate with you on the regular about all matters to do with your property, providing you the full picture each time you need to make a decision (increase the rent, renew the lease, replace an appliance etc) but are also highly organised and will have an infallible system in place to ensure you are provided the advice or information you need ASAP and not left hanging.
It’s worthwhile asking the agency whose property management services you are considering about how you can communicate with your property manager and what response time frames look like within the business if they’re unavailable. The core of property management is communication and anyone serious about offering great customer service will have a tight game plan around response time frames.
Make sure that you ask about the team set up also, and if there is anyone additional to the property manager you will communicate with. Some property managers look after a large number of properties and have assistants or other staff members to support them that you might sometimes or often communicate with also. Consider the big picture, your specific wish list and what works for you.
There is an array of landlord/tenant apps and a good property management company will not only have everything in relation to your investment property in a neat, tidy and easy to understand online system for you and remain current so that they continue to manage property in the most efficient and transparent way for their landlords and tenants.
Industry knowledge and trust
This is the big one. Your property manager is likely to be looking after some of the biggest assets in your financial portfolio. Try to check in with other local investors and/or review feedback online to make sure you find a knowledgeable property manager you can trust.
Knowledge will pour out of any property manager naturally when having a chat about your investment property needs. I recommend that you always talk to the person who will be managing your property before signing on the dotted line. Business development staff are great assets to business owners but most often will not be managing your property and you won’t have any dealings with them beyond signing the agreement and your property being leased.
Talking with the property manager will also give you a good feel for their personality and the right one will have you feeling comfortable in communicating with them and provide you with the confidence that they will manage your property well.