How can you tell if your current property manager is really doing a good job looking after your investment?
After 30 years in property management, I can tell you there are some early warning signs you should be looking out for.
- The first and most important question to ask yourself is, are your property managers investors themselves? If they are not, then they simply don’t have full understanding of what it is really like to be a landlord. Therefore they only have a vague idea of some of the issues they are trying to represent you on. But if they are property investors themselves then they’ve had the experience of having a property manager work for them and they can tell the good from the bad.
- High repair & maintenance costs. If you are finding yourself questioning the cost of some of the repairs and maintenance being done on your property, then you might be right. The property manager could simply be lazy and not obtaining competitive quotes for you. They might not have the network of competent, reliable and affordable tradespeople needed to effect fast and inexpensive repairs and maintenance. They might not be making sure their trade rates are competitive and economical. Or if they are more than just lazy and actually unethical, they might even be taking kickbacks for the work from the tradesman, who are loading up the jobs to give the agent a cut of the deal.
- Unhappy tenants. One of the most important parts of a property manager’s job is relationship building. A good property manager is able to maintain good relationships with both landlords and tenants and will see it as part of their job to keep everyone happy with the arrangement. But if small issues for the tenant aren’t handled appropriately they can niggle away and grow into major issues which can lead to major disputes between tenant and landlord. Nipping problems in the bud and servicing both the landlord and the tenant’s needs properly, can help prevent small problems turning into major issues.
- Infrequent inspections/few repairs. If your agent is not conducting regular inspections on your property according to legislation and providing updates on the condition of the property, then they are simply not doing their job. You shouldn’t have to insist on this, it should be something that is just done on your behalf. And if you think your property is great because you are not spending much on repairs, it could be that needed repairs are being missed, because of lack of inspections or because they are not thorough enough. So small issues could be festering away and turning into bigger problems that will come back to haunt you as bigger bills, later on.
- No regular rent increases. If your agent is not constantly reviewing your rent and making recommendations on when to increase it within the boundaries set by legislation, the chances are your property could be falling behind market rental rates. It is a fine art managing rent rises to ensure you maximise the returns for the landlord while still keeping the property well let with good tenants. It’s an art that can take some time to acquire and not all new property managers have that skill.
If, after reading this, you get the feeling your property manager could be slipping behind a little in their responsibilities to you, feel free to contact us for a no-obligation free chat or you can send me an email.