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6 key questions to ask your next property manager

Wednesday, 3rd Aug 2016

The quality of your property management will have a big impact on your experiences as an investor. Here are 6 key questions to ask before appointing a property manager.

When searching the market for your next property manager, bear in mind that the level of service you’ll receive will vary significantly depending on who you appoint.

Many investors will only consider the quality of the individual property manager, however it’s just as important to complete due diligence on the company who employs that property manager, as individual property managers may move on for various reasons.

After all, it’s the systems, policies, procedures and culture of that company that provides the foundations for individual property managers to provide outstanding service.

Here are 6 key questions to ask when appointing your next property management firm.

How many properties do each of the company’s PMs look after?

Typically, the fewer number of properties a PM is responsible for the better the service you’ll receive because they’ll have more time to focus on your portfolio. A PM should be able to adequately manage about 100-120 properties, with support from an assistant. Any more than this and the level of service may deteriorate.

Does the company have client testimonials?

Ask the company for testimonials to see what existing clients have said about the level of service they’ve received.

Has the company won any industry awards?

Industry awards are a great sign that the company provides a high-quality service to its clients through proven systems and procedures. Look on the company’s website or ask them for recent awards.

Does the company provide add-value recommendations to maximise your rental return?

A good property management firm will have systems in place to inspect your property and provide recommendations to optimise your rental returns. This may be a simple, low-cost face lift, including fresh paint and fittings or fixtures, or additional amenities, such as installing an air conditioner.

Do the company’s PMs understand the local tenancies act?

Many states have their own residential tenancies act which outlines the relevant legal responsibilities and obligations landlords must comply with, such as minimum security requirements and smoke alarms. Does the company ensure its property managers hold a firm understanding of the relevant act to mitigate the risks on the landlord? As a landlord, you could face significant penalties if you don’t comply with the relevant legislation.

What is the company’s policy to manage repairs and maintenance issues?

In most states there is legislation that outlines the provisions for repairs and maintenance on leased properties, such as what is deemed urgent, what are essential services, who can complete repairs and in what timeframe. Ask the company about their policies so you understand what items you’ll need to provide consent for and in what circumstances the property management firm can action repairs without your approval.

Many landlords only compare property managers based on fees. It’s important to remember that they are managing your investment that could be worth $500,000 or even more. Smart investors focus on finding property managers who deliver the best value and give the owner peace of mind, not those who charge the lowest fees.