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You’re searching for a property manager to look after your investment, but you’re not sure who’s best? When you look at their websites, each agency seems like the next. When you make enquiries, their manner seems pleasant enough. So how do you dig deeper to work out whether they are up to the task of making your life easier and maximising your returns?
1. Do their references check out?
Don’t just take their word for it that they have lots of happy customers. Look beyond website testimonials to product and business review websites. Also, ask for a contact list of current customers whose portfolios they are managing. Make it clear that you wish to contact referrals to check their view of the property manager.
2. Are they upfront about their processes?
You shouldn’t have to drag information out of them about the processes they have in place for looking after properties. Be sure to find out details about both the management and the financials, including:
- Inspections and maintenance – can you have it in writing how often inspections to your property will occur. How do they respond to maintenance requests and how often will you receive reports?
- Handling emergencies – what’s the process for emergency maintenance and is it cost-effective?
- Resolving disputes – how do they resolve disputes?
- Financials – what is their total project-fee, including ongoing charges? What is their proven method for collecting rent and their procedure for late rent? Do they take care of the financial accounts?
3. How do they plan to find tenants for your rental?
Every day your property sits vacant is another day of potential lost income. So it’s vital to choose a property manager who has experience in finding suitable tenants quickly. Find out about how they advertise for tenants and how much this will cost you. Do they handle all aspects of the tenant changeover, including open inspections, paperwork and cleaning?
Also, enquire about the screening for potential tenants. A proper vetting process is vital to finding reliable occupants who pay their rent on time and take care of the property. You want to know that your property manager calls references, runs a credit check, verifies current employment and income, and contacts the previous landlord.
Get it right from the start with professional help.
Check that the property manager you interview will be the one looking after your property.
4. Do they show professionalism?
A property manager must get on with a range of people and personality types, your tenants included. Do they seem like the type of person who will stay calm when faced with conflict and act professionally to resolve the situation? Are they aware of changes in property management laws and landlord-tenant regulations so they can advise you accordingly?
5. Do they come across as organised?
From your first dealings with a property manager, you should be able to get a good idea of whether they are well-organised. Do they provide you with checklists? Do they send you all the information you request? They must be exceptionally organised to keep up with all the reporting requirements of this job, as well as deal efficiently with requests and complications from multiple listings.
6. Do they respond promptly to you?
Your tenants will quickly get frustrated with a property manager who doesn’t return phone calls. Check out their responsiveness by seeing how quickly they respond to your enquiry emails and calls. Find out if there is a way for yourself or your tenants to contact them outside standard office hours.