You’re ready to hand over the management of your investment property to an experienced professional so you can focus on other parts of your life. You’ve been researching different companies and have narrowed it down to a shortlist. But how do you determine who will suit your needs?
Property management is more than just rent collection and fixing maintenance issues, and no two property managers are the same. Everyone provides a different level of service and charges accordingly. What you need to look for is the property manager who meets your specific requirements and provides you with peace of mind.
So what kind of questions should you be asking? Look no further as we’re going to uncover the 12 questions you should ask your property manager before hiring them and why preparation is so important to your future success.
Why is preparation so important?
You’ve chosen a property manager and are looking forward to not having to worry about your investment property. Until you realise you are still spending too much time chasing your property manager for financial reports every month so you can compile your records for EOFY. This is not what you signed up for.
When it comes to property management, preparation is key to your future success. Find out as much information as possible before you commit to anyone, especially about anything specific to your situation. Living interstate? Make sure you know what to expect when it comes to inspections. Concerned about taxes? Find out how they can assist you with financial records and knowing what tax payments are required.
The more you know about your property manager before hiring them, the more contentment and satisfaction you will discover. Prioritise your time and wellbeing and be prepared with the following questions when meeting a prospective property manager.
12 questions to ask before hiring a property manager
- What kind of properties have you worked with before?
This one may seem simple but can prevent future complications. If you have a new build property and they have only ever worked with established homes, they may be unaware of certain elements, such as the defect process, which could affect your wallet down the line. Perhaps they have focused solely on apartment blocks, which may not be helpful for your established house with a large garden. Understanding their history will let you know what to expect.
- How familiar are you with tenancy laws in every state?
This may be more crucial for property owners from out of state, as you want to ensure the property manager is fully aware of what laws and regulations everyone needs to abide by. But it’s also relevant for all property managers as laws and regulations do change. Nobody wants to be caught out by a change in the law.
- At what stage do you start the leasing process?
This can be crucial to reduce downtime. For a new property, you want tenants ready to move in on settlement day. The same logic applies in between tenants. Some property managers will not start the leasing process until the property is ready – which can be costly for you. Discuss the leasing process before hiring anyone to ensure downtime is kept at a minimum.
- What are the top qualities you look for in a tenant?
Finding the right tenant can be a stressful time for everyone – you want to occupy your property, but you also want tenants who will respect your home. Finding out what your property manager looks for in a potential tenant will help you identify whether you are both in agreement on what is the right tenant for you. If you don’t like what they are saying, then they are not the right property manager for you.
- What is your method for choosing tradespeople for maintenance/repairs?
It’s not just about ensuring you have the right tenants, but also that you have the right tradespeople working in your investment home. Obviously, you want qualified tradespeople who are also cost-effective, but the bigger question is, how does your property manager find them? Do they already have an existing relationship with reliable tradespeople, or do they turn to Air Tasker and hire the cheapest option? You want your home to be taken care of, so you want a property manager who understands your needs and can strike the right balance between quality and frugality.
- In what kind of situations would you contact me, and what would you be seeking from me in that moment?
This can be a tricky question – what you are looking for is how open are their communication channels. Will they only contact you in case of emergency, in which case they want you to resolve the issue for them? Or will they be sending you regular updates with concise details of any issues and solutions? You need to be aware of what you are looking for in terms of communication as well, so you can understand what works best for you.
- How do you manage inspections if I am unable to physically attend?
You may be planning to attend every inspection yourself, but who can predict the future? You may decide to move interstate next year or be unavailable due to an impromptu business trip. Rather than deal with the situation when it happens, be prepared in advance and ask what the options are if you are unavailable. Would you want the inspection postponed to a later date, or would you prefer a virtual inspection narrated by your property manager? Don’t be caught out in the future – find out now and prepare for unexpected situations.
- Do you provide any digital services or systems for me to access information?
You may not have thought about using any online systems, but wouldn’t it be great to have everything available with just a simple touch of your fingertips? Discover if the property manager can provide you with online access and what would be available to you. Some property managers, like ARG PM for example, offer an online client portal.
- What is your preferred method of record-keeping?
No matter how small or big your portfolio, there will be a lot of paperwork. Finding out how the property manager compiles and stores all the relevant financial records will make your life easier.
- If I was looking for financial advice for my property, how can you assist me?
You want to increase your capital growth through long-term rental yields, otherwise you wouldn’t be looking into property investment. You may feel that you have enough financial knowledge already, but what if you could tap into additional services through your property manager to maximise returns? Some property managers like ARG PM can fall back on the wider expertise of the ARG Group to provide you with advanced investment management advice.
- What is your management fee, what is included and what is excluded from that fee?
Don’t be caught out. Find out exactly what is covered within the management fee and if there are any additional charges or fees which are not included. Some property managers will only collect your rent and take care of maintenance issues. Others like ARG PM provide a more substantial and customised package to suit your needs.
- What extra services do you provide and how will they benefit me?
If this hasn’t already been covered by any of the questions above, now is the time to find out what other extras you may be able to access. Not only do you want to know what else they provide but how it can be of benefit to you – it sounds great to be told there is a premier gardening service, but that’s not going to be helpful in a one-bedroom apartment!
Don’t panic. With these 12 simple questions, you will have all the answers you need to decide which property manager is the best option for you.
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