I’ve known about the value of professional property management for a long while now.
Over my many years in the industry, I’ve come across plenty of good property managers but also some that you should give a wide berth.
The first problem is that many novice investors don’t recognise that property managers can make their investment journey much easier.
Instead, they try to do it all themselves to supposedly save money, which usually ends badly.
If they do recognise the value of property management, they often can’t tell the top operators from the bottoms ones, which usually ends badly, too.
So, to save repeating myself a third time, here are four things that I wish I’d known about property managers at the beginning.
1. Big is not necessarily best
Now I’m not saying that agencies that have large rent rolls should be avoided.
That’s because it doesn’t really matter the number of listings an agency has — it’s whether they have enough staff to manage them professionally.
When investigating whether an agency is the best one for you, make sure you ask how many properties each property manager, well, manages.
And it’s not just about how many properties they look after, it’s also about how many in their team.
For example, a good property manager who works together with an administrative assistant and a leasing manager (the system we use at Metropole Property Management) can look after 180 or more properties
On the other hand if they do it all themselves, somewhere around 80 to 100 properties per person is probably about the right number to ensure that your property will be professionally managed on your behalf.
2. Don’t know the market
Professional property managers understand the rental market where your property is located.
Unprofessional ones do not.
And the difference could be a big hole in your back pocket.
Why is that?
Well, a good property manager will assess what the market rent should be for your property and advise whether you should adjust the asking rent at the end of a lease or during a break lease situation.
An unprofessional property manager, on the other hand, will not do either of these so you could be missing out on more rent or, worse still, have an overpriced property sitting on the market vacant.
3. Management churn
Far too many agencies employ junior or inexperienced staff as property managers, when the role is far too important for that.
Property management can be complex and it requires staff who have the ability to understand the relevant legislation as well as mediate between owners and tenants.
Property managers are also usually the ones that feel the heat from tenants and owners so it takes a wise head to keep their cool in emotional situations.
That’s why when inexperienced staff are employed as property managers, they usually don’t last long.
Look for an agency that has long-standing property managers with ample experience as well as those who recognise it as a career rather than a stepping stone to sales.
4. Lack of inspections
A professional property manager will inspect your property at least every six or 12 months and provide you with a written report about its condition with lots of photos.
They’ll also suggest any proactive repairs or cosmetic renovations that they believe should be undertaken to ensure the property is in tip-top shape.
By keeping the property looking its best, it will not only help to keep your tenants longer, it will also assist with attracting new tenants far more quickly.
Bad property managers don’t conduct regular inspections, which could result in major repairs once the tenant has shifted out and you learn there are holes in the wall or even window panes missing.
Let me be clear: most property managers are professional and do their best for both tenants and their landlord clients.
However, this is a difference between average and superior service.
That’s why it’s vital that you understand the difference between the two.
If you’d like to chat with a professional about managing your investment property or portfolio, then one of our Metropole Property Management team would be happy to help.