Choosing the right property manager for your investment property is a big decision
You need to find someone you can trust to look after your property as if it were their own. Here are 6 tips to help you narrow it down to the right candidate.
If you’ve gone through the work and expense to purchase an investment property, you want to be sure that it will be looked after when you decide to rent it out. Of course, you always have the option to manage it yourself, but the right property manager will minimise the stress and work involved in protecting your asset.
With services that range from advertising your property to overseeing maintenance requests, your property manager can become an invaluable member of your investment network. You just need to find the right one. Here’s how.
Do your research
As with most things in life, a good place to start is by doing some research. A simple Google search will no doubt bring up reams of options. To help you narrow it down, you should try:
- searching real estate websites or property blogs
- speaking to a fellow investor who you trust
- checking with your investment agent
- asking friends and family members who rent.
This will help you choose a few reliable options so you can delve a little deeper. When looking into each one, make sure you check:
- customer and tenant reviews
- the services they offer and their fees
- their experience and history within the area.
Look for a local company
One of the first decisions you’ll have to make is whether to go local or with a larger company that may be located in a different city or state. While larger companies may have a slick website with cheaper prices, local knowledge and experience is invaluable when it comes to real estate.
You want to find a property manager that is near your property. Not only will this help when it comes to setting the right rental price, advertising to attract the best tenants and screening to find the right tenant, but it will pay off in dividends if there’s ever a problem at the property. They will be able to offer tenants quick and reliable service and more easily conduct routine inspections to ensure your property is being taken care of.
Review their services
It may go without saying, but not all property managers are created equal. Each one will offer a different level of service. It’s up to you to find one that provides the level of service you feel most comfortable with. Make sure you ask what services your preferred property manager offers, and understand exactly what your money gets you.
At a minimum, you’ll want a property manager that will:
- provide guidance on rental pricing
- advertise your property and conduct inspections
- perform appropriate background checks on prospective tenants
- collect rent and utilities (if necessary)
- provide a point of contact for the tenant
- oversee all maintenance and repair requests
- conduct regular routine inspections to check up on your property
- oversee the move-out process and bond return.
Prioritise quality over cost
When it comes to property managers you get what you pay for. While it may be tempting to go with the cheapest option, this isn’t always the best choice. Sure you’ll save a few bucks up front, but it may end up costing you more in the end because of bad service that drives out tenants or compromises your property.
Review their management agreement and the associated fee structures to ensure you agree with them. Pay close attention to any additional fees they may charge and why. The aim is to find a property manager that offers all the service you need at a price that you’re comfortable with.
When you’re screening prospective property managers, make sure you discuss and fully understand their preferred communication methods. Do you want to be in regular contact with them about the property and tenants? Do you trust them to make certain decisions on your behalf? When should they contact your? When shouldn’t they contact you?
While you are hiring them to take care of certain aspects of managing your property for you, you need to have clearly defined communication expectations to ensure you’re kept in the loop when you need to be. Defining these expectations upfront is also a good way to ensure you’re comfortable working together, and there won’t be any nasty surprises down the line.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Choosing the right property manager is a big decision. You want to make sure you’ve chosen wisely, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. A lot of questions. This includes:
- What qualifications, registrations or licenses do you have?
- How long have you been managing properties?
- How many properties does your company manage?
- How many properties does each manager look after?
- What services do you offer?
- How is your service better than other agencies?
- What is your tenant review process?
It’s all about understanding their experience and service so you can pick a company that you trust and you’re happy to work with.