- Do you own your own home and/or investment property?
There is nobody more likely to get the job done than someone with first-hand experience of your investment decision. A fellow property investor knows about paying the bills associated to investment properties, they know the repercussions of non-payment of rent, the importance of routine inspections and the value in finding the right tenant (and working hard to keep them).
- How long have you been in property management?
A property manager who is new to the office may have been a property manager elsewhere. Ask where and why they changed offices. How many offices have they worked in, over what period? You’ll quickly get an idea of how many tenants they have dealt with and either been ‘amazing’ because they got work done where previous property managers had failed or ‘disappointing’.
- How much do you charge?
This is not just about the percentage of rent collected. There are also additional charges that can apply for letting the property, re-letting or re-negotiating the rent/lease term, advertising, postage, electronic transfers, bill payments, financial statements, inspections… with some agencies the list goes on and on. Sometimes paying a higher percentage to have these fees included can actually work to your financial benefit, including being able to budget for paying your mortgage. By seeing HOW different agents charge, you’ll see why some charge 5.5% and others charge 11%. While the higher charges are not always indicative of a better job, lower fees means less revenue, which means it is harder to justify paying the right people enough money to stay in the job. This is one of the reasons agencies tend to see staff changing regularly.
- What is your routine inspection process?
How do they report after they have inspected your property? Do they include photographs as part of the report? Will they tell you about any maintenance that needs to be done and what do they do to make sure that this is followed through on? Make sure that there process is thorough and keeps you informed.
- What type of relationship do you ‘want’ with the tenants?
As a landlord you probably want to know if you need to spend some money on maintenance to keep your tenant paying the rent. Equally you need the tenant to feel comfortable in coming to the agent if something goes wrong with the property so that it can be rectified quickly and efficiently. Having open lines of communication and having a level of trust with the tenant is important.
- Is your property manager hands on?
Someone that is doing the work on your property directly is more likely to care about what is going on with your property. You need someone that notices if the door handles need tightening, that observes that the decking is getting worn and might need replacing. This helps to minimise large expenses, keeps your property looking its best and attracting a higher rental return & mitigating as many potential liabilities as possible.