- Choosing the right agency for you is important, says Paige Garvey
- She suggests the 7 questions you should ask of your property manager
- Become an expert in interviewing property management agencies
With the rental market performing at its best in years, now is a great opportunity to take full advantage in setting up your best and most effective property portfolio.
I have heard prospective clients tell me many times that all agencies ‘must be the same’. Believe me, this is not the case.
In order to ensure you are experiencing the best possible service, and the highest return, here’s seven questions you should be asking your property manager:
- How and when do you conduct your home opens? There are property management agencies that have their property managers completing all home opens, or there are agencies that have a sales team. Each can be beneficial, though this depends on what you are after. Having the property manager conduct all home opens may mean they can only do so during work hours, which can make it hard for prospective applicants (who are also at work then). There could be a separate leasing team (who are essentially salespeople) that work outside of 9 – 5pm, and on weekends. An agency that can show people through across 7 days a week will target a greater market.
- How are the applications checked? One of the most important aspects of having an investment property is having good tenants. You want the agents to be completing all necessary backgrounds checks on this, because if any prospective tenants have breached the terms in previous contracts, you want this information to surface in the screening process.
- What does the property condition report (PCR) look like? A PCR should be a minimum of 15 pages, with lots of written detail. This is the most important document you can hold for your property. Should there be a dispute about the condition of your property once the tenant vacates, this is where the courts will look. There should also be a large folder of time-stamped photos.
- Head of Department? You want to be looking for an agency that has a manager or director that works directly with the team. You should be able to contact that person, should the property manager not perform at their best. This senior person will also be responsible for creating seamless and meticulous processes, ensuring that issues do not arise.
- Service Guarantees? Query with the agency how you can know that what they are saying will actually happen. How can you hold them accountable? There are agencies that are so confident in what they offer that they will draw up a service guarantee. This may include conditions that they will respond within one business day, for example. There should be promises such as a one month free management fee, should they not hit this guarantee.
- Ongoing management? If you have a good agent, not only are you going to like them and want to stay, but your tenant will also. A good agent will treat your tenant well and ensure they stay in your property long term. Another way property managers can maximise your return is to include a 6-monthly rent review. The manager will start a conversation with your tenant around this first and then understand the middle ground for both parties in terms of a rent increase.
- How many properties are in the manager’s portfolio? Most agents will have around 100 properties each, which is manageable. Anything above this, you should be wary especially if they are promising to complete the inspections, process the applications, as well.
I wish you well in choosing your property manager.