Choosing The Best Property Manager In One Appointment
If you’re new to property investment, you may not have a relationship with a property manager, meaning finding a good one should be high on your priority list.
The process is relatively simple, you ask around for referrals, or find a local agent/agency who have been doing good things and then call them in for an appraisal and interview to see if they will be the best fit for you.
You may do this with two or three agents in order to get a full grasp of your options. But how do you make the right choice in only a brief meeting?
One of the best ways to make the right choice is to keep track of personality traits and attributes during the meeting and in their follow up communication.
Here are some attributes you should be looking for:
This is without a doubt the most important. At all times, you need to be convinced that your agent is working for you. If and when you need to make a difficult or uncomfortable decision, you will need to trust in your agent’s advice, and not feel like they have a 'hidden agenda’. The catch here is that trust is built over time, so you may need to rely on the trust they have built with others via the agents' testimonials. Ask them for some.
Your PM not only needs to have effective communication with you but also with your tenant. This means the content of the message itself, but the method of delivery also needs to be appropriate to the situation and delivered in a timely manner. If your PM is not communicating with you effectively, you can be sure that their communication with your tenant is even worse.
An efficient PM will naturally have a large network. When you need a job done, they should know of a local professional who can do it. They will also rely on their network of professionals to give them good advice so that they can, in turn, give good advice to you. Building a network is no overnight feat, so a large network also assumes that your PM has experience.
When there’s an issue with your property, be it tenant-related or maintenance, your PM needs to contact you to tell you about it, but they also need to tell you what they intend to do about it (or have already done).
For example, if the tenant calls your PM about renewing the lease, your agent should not only contact you to let you know, but by the time they contact you they should have already conducted a review of the rent, and had a quick look at the most recent periodical inspection report to be able to give you relevant, professional advice.
A disorganised person won't last in this business for long. With so many moving parts, your PM needs to have, and be able to demonstrate, high organisational skills, so you can be sure they won’t drop the ball.
Understanding of the law
This one goes without saying. Your PM should have a copy of the Residential Tenancies Act on hand and refer to it regularly. They should be able to answer most questions you have with regards to notice periods, access and inspections. You will be able to ascertain the PM’s understanding of the Act in only a couple of interactions.
Up to date with the market
Your PM needs to be well aware of all the relevant statistics pertaining to your property and your local market in order to give you up to date, reliable advice on what decisions you need to make. They also need to have a good understanding of trends in the market so you can be ahead of the curve.
Understand what makes a great tenant
Your agent should have the experience, foresight and general awareness to know what sort of person to put in your property, and in doing so will find a tenant who will look after and care for your investment. This is achieved by knowing what to look for in the applicant’s rental history, what to ask of the applicant’s previous property manager/landlord, and how they present themselves at the inspection. They also need to know what to look for in the applicant’s supporting documents. Part of knowing what makes a good tenant is knowing what makes a bad tenant, and your agent should be very good at spotting these (often subtle) red flags.
With so many decisions to make in property investment, help yourself make one of these decisions easier.
Don’t overcomplicate it, look for traits you think will work best for you and your property, and select the best agent who ticks your boxes.