Wednesday, 21 October 2015

7 Critical questions to ask your Property Manager before signing on the dotted line

You wouldn’t award someone a job without asking them if they have relevant skills and experience… so why would you appoint a Property Manager without checking them out?


To ensure your assets are placed in the right hands, here are 7 critical questions to ask your Property Manager:

  1. How long have you been in Property Management (with the same office?)


You wouldn’t be confident in a medical intern carrying out your heart operation, so why would you risk trusting the management of your investment portfolio with a rookie?


A Property Manager equipped with confident experience in handling an array of tenancy situations and nurtured by their agency with opportunities for continuous training, a tried and tested system supporting them and motivating financial incentives is the right person to manage your assets. With some portfolios worth in excess of $40 million per property manager (and that’s a low estimate!), this is a serious investment, vital to your financial future, which requires a top notch professional approach.


  1. What happens when you are out of office?
One of the greatest failures of Real Estate Agencies is poor communication.


Whilst you should expect your Property Manager to call you first with any status change to your property, my advice is to find a Property Management service that can provide you with 24/7 access to information about your property. This can take the form of mobile phone access, online landlord portals, inspection videos, and qualified support teams who can answer your questions with expertise....after all, it is your money on the line, and the best staff still take holidays and have lunch!


  1. How do you intend to market my property so I get the best tenant at the best rental?


Evidence and relevant statistics are the key.


Your Property Manager should price your property with the intent of keeping your property occupied whilst achieving the best rent possible. An agency working in your best interests (to achieve the ‘best’ rent) will provide high-quality photography and extensive online advertising.


A dedicated Property Manager will be motivated to organise showings of your property at least 5-6 days out of the week, will carefully record tenant feedback and will provide this feedback hand-in-hand with their advice.Phrases like ‘it feels like your property is too expensive’ from your property manager during marketing is not a good enough response! Expect evidence and qualified advice based on the most important information: feedback from prospective tenants and market.  


  1. Do you have a tenancy database that you can use to quickly lease my property?


Agents can say anything  so ask for evidence.


Very few agents actually keep a database of active prospective tenants. Ask to view theirs, perhaps on a tablet or online. A vacant property is an unprofitable asset…and no it is not normal for your investment property to be vacant for months on end ‘because of the market’. Experienced real estate agencies will be able to provide you with an abundant pool of potential tenants. Prudential Real Estate alone has a database of 900-1200 tenants actively seeking a rental right now!


  1. How thoroughly and frequently do you perform inspections and what material do you use to support them?


Don’t just take anyone’s word for it when it comes to updates on your property.


To ensure that your property has been thoroughly inspected between 2 and 4 times annually, ask what processes and materials are used to document the feedback from the inspection. What you should expect from a high-quality Property Management service is expert photos, inspection videos, written and electronically filed reports and an invitation to the inspection!


  1. Are you prepared to provide a written, contractual guarantee as to the quality of your service?


In asking this question you are aiming to ascertain who will take responsibility for every piece of advice they provide when it comes to the management of your investment. If the Property Manager is not willing to guarantee their quality of service and ‘put their money where their mouth is’ do not invest your money in their services. Simple.


  1. Can you provide a list of references from current landlords?

Don’t be afraid to ask your prospective Property Manager for evidence of their service quality, managing their current portfolio. If the Property Manager is serious about winning the management of your assets they should have evidence from current landlords and tenants including; written testimonials, testimonial videos and online reviews e.g. Facebook & Google+.

These 7 critical questions are all vital to assess the skill and systems of the agents available to you. Knowledge is power, so the more informed you are about a Property Management service, the more comfortable you will be with your sign-up decision. All in all, high value assets deserve an excellent standard of property management and value...to determine this don't be afraid to ask, it's your money after all!

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