Apart from charging a reasonable rate for managing your investment properties, I value the following criteria which makes a great property manager:
1. Service and responsiveness
The time when you need your property manager most and the acid test to his capability is in finding you quality tenants. A good property manager will not accept the first or any tenant that comes along but will diligently check references to ensure your tenant is of good repute, will pay rent in full and on time and will take good care of your property over the course of the tenancy. Responsiveness in putting up advertisements, conducting inspections with tenants and having good knowledge and information about your properties is key to being able to effectively market your properties to the desired tenants. Good property managers will have intimate knowledge of rental and vacancy rates in your suburb, understand local trends and attractions and be able to advice you on your obligations as a landlord to attract and secure quality tenants.
A good property manager will also never hand out keys to tenants for them to do inspections unattended. Yes, believe me that some property managers do just that and if and when that occurs, it’s time to look for a new manager.
Property managers are usually a part of a real estate agency whose core business is in buying and selling properties for their clients and earning good commission from that process. Therefore, the property management aspect of a real estate agency is usually a support function or a secondary priority business and can sometimes be viewed as being “less glamorous” by certain agencies. One way to ascertain good property managers is whether there is a separate function within the real estate agency with staff specifically dedicated to taking care of rental properties and maintenance.
Good property managers also have their preferred listing of plumbers, electricians, locksmiths and other important tradesmen with proven and tested quality workmanship to call upon in the event your properties are in need of repair or maintenance. This will ensure repair and maintenance work on your properties will be carried out effectively and at competitive prices.
2. Attention to detail and documentation
Keeping proper records such as repair bills, utilities, providing detailed monthly statements, yearly summaries for tax purposes are all part of a good property manger’s traits in keeping a client informed and having your properties under good care.
Periodic inspections with updated photos on the state of repair of your investment properties are part of the service accorded by some of the better property managers.
A good indication of a good property manager is the quality of his website. Needless to say that you should not even bother with property managers who do not have a website. Check your property manager’s website to ascertain if he has an objective or mission for customer / landlord care, staff who are dedicated to property management, the number and type of properties for lease, testimonials etc.
4. Tenant care
A good property manager not only has your interest as the landlord at heart but will also attempt to understand and appreciate your tenant’s reasonable needs and requirements. As a landlord, you should also appreciate that any reasonable request by a tenant should be considered because a happy tenant as opposed to a disgruntled one will also have your property at heart. This will ultimately develop into a win-win situation for both landlord and tenant over the long run and minimise tenant turnover which costs more time and money than keeping a good tenant happy.
Overall, a good property manager will ensure your properties are always tenanted, rent monies paid on time by the tenants and deposited into your bank account in a timely manner, repairs and maintenance carried out effectively and most importantly, keep good records on your behalf and keep your tenants happy for a mutually beneficial relationship.