The most important thing to consider when you’ve purchased an investment property, is ‘Who will manage my investment property and how will I know who is the best property manager?’
There are a number of things to be considered when choosing a property manager and while most property managers will give you all the reasons why you should trust your property to them, time should be spent on evaluating what a property manager has to offer from the moment you first make contact with them. That first impression is critical – how they handle themselves and respond to the questions you ask, should indicate to you how they will handle themselves when securing a tenant or resolving any issues that could come up during the course of any tenancy.
How a property manager presents themselves is also very important. Are they well groomed with a professional appearance? If they don’t care about their own professional presentation, how would they care about the presentation of your investment?
With some 30 years experience in property management, I’ve seen all the reasons why landlords leave their property manager. To make sure we deliver the service our landlords deserve, the Investors Direct Property Management team always focus on the basics of managing investment property as well as the ‘not so basic’ items.
1. Communication, including social media:
The No. 1 reason why landlords will leave an agency is because of a property manager’s poor communication or a complete lack of communication. This is an absolute fact, as many landlords will agree. But sadly it continues to happen and it simply shouldn’t. It’s not hard to make sure all emails, calls and messages have been dealt with before leaving for the day, which is why we have strict policies in place on how communication is handled.
The world of property management has changed incredibly over the past five years and there is no doubt whatsoever that it will continue to change even more. If your property manager hasn’t accepted that social media is now part of how they manage property, you need to consider what they should be doing to meet the needs of both today’s landlords and tenants – it’s absolutely vital that your property manager has embraced social media and is using it for your benefit.
How we adapt now to social media, is just the same as how we adapted to the technology that completely changed the way we managed property only a few short years ago! Social media is just another change that will make our industry more professional and more efficient.
2. Attention to Detail:
Good Property Managers are pedantic and paranoid!! They know what can happen if the ‘i’s’ aren’t dotted and the ‘t’s’ aren’t crossed. It may take a few more minutes to make sure everything is included in that Entry Condition Report, but it will make life so much easier at the end of the tenancy if it’s completely accurate and thoroughly attended to. The same applies to every other property management task, attention to detail must be second nature so that everything that happens with every property under management, is attended to as it should be.
Landlords know if a property manager isn’t providing enough detail – they rightly see it as not caring enough about the property to take the extra time to do the job properly. Make sure your property manager and everyone else in the department has the same focus on attention to detail. It’s important for the protection of the landlord’s property – the devil is always in the detail!
3. Systems; Systems; Systems:
The ideal time systems should be put in place is right at the beginning. So ask yourself is your potential property manager advising you of their systems right from the start? While it’s never too late for a manager to introduce or implement systems into the way they manage your properties, it is preferable to have them set up at the start.
Property Managers are always happier when they have systems to follow, as these make the job much easier and everyone is generally much happier, as increased efficiency normally creates better outcomes. Landlords will be happier because tasks are being attended to more efficiently. Tenants will be happier because their requests or needs are being handled more quickly and again, more efficiently. Unless there are efficient and workable systems in place, no property manager will achieve their full potential and the properties under their management will not be managed or looked after as they should be. Does your property manager follow up to make sure items have been completed or processed? If not, their system isn’t working or they may not have a system in place to manage that particular process and therefore follow up simply doesn’t happen.
4. Customer Service:
Customer Service should happen as a matter of course, but sadly in today’s world that personal touch and taking the time to do the ‘extras’ don’t always happen as they used to. People are ‘too busy’ or they don’t think the small things matter anymore. Nothing could be further from the truth. The small personal things really do matter as they demonstrate to clients and customers that their business really does matter – and no one can ever be too busy to make sure their clients needs or requests have been satisfactorily and efficiently attended to. Quality customer service should be built into every property management task so that property managers can clearly demonstrate that they care about their clients. Make sure any request or task is responded to as quickly as possible, inform the clients when appropriate, follow up the person who is attending to the task or request and keep following up until everything has been completed efficiently and the desired outcome has been achieved. And the client should also be advised that everything has been done according to their request. Customer service is not just lip-service; it’s actually achieving the outcome the client wanted.
5. Honesty and Integrity:
In my humble opinion, these are the two most important words to live by, not only in property management, but real estate generally, as well as life itself.
The very worst thing any property manager can do is not tell the truth. If your property manager is honest with you, even if its bad news, you will respect them. If they’ve made a mistake, are honest about it and tell you what’s happened as soon as they possibly can, then this is great. Your property manager may need to give you bad news sometimes, this can happen unfortunately, but they must be honest and inform you of anything that affects your investment.
Landlords need to trust that their property manager will care for their valuable investment; tenants need to trust that their interests will be looked after as well. Property Managers who deal with people honestly and act with integrity will always have referrals from their landlords as well as tenants.
“People don’t care how much you know – until they know how much you care!”