If you own an investment property it can be tempting to consider sidestepping a real estate agent or property manager and managing things yourself.
But there are some important aspects to consider before you take this step.
Finding the right tenant
Finding the right tenant might seem easy: advertise the property, hold an open inspection, read through the applications that flood in, then accept the applicant with the highest pay packet.
But there’s more to it than that. For starters, you need to know the best places to advertise. Then, once you’ve received tenancy applications you must make numerous phone calls to verify the information given. Getting a suitable tenant also involves checking credit scores, employment history, previous tenancy records, and perhaps conversations with former property managers or landlords.
More than all this, however, is discerning whether the tenant is a good fit for you and your property. This is something professional property managers are attuned to look out for – it’s a skill honed through years of industry experience.
Do you have the time?
Self-managing your investment property is a little like running a small business, with all the time and dedication this requires.
You’ll need to advertise the property when vacant, vet tenants, respond to repair requests and find and organise suitable tradespeople, take care of regular maintenance and emergencies, and conduct property inspections. You’ll also want to keep records of rent payments and expenses, for tax. If you own more than one investment property this will obviously increase your workload.
Another key consideration is: how far is the property from your own home? If it isn’t close, self-management will be very difficult and you will need to factor in the time and costs involved in travelling to and from the property when required.
Know the legal ins and outs
Self-managing your investment property means being up to speed with all aspects of lease agreements and bond lodgment forms. You’ll also need to know about property condition reports. Rules and regulations around renting are administered by the WA state government and not adhering to these can attract some hefty penalties.
Late 2019 saw some key changes to the WA Residential Tenancies Act. Keeping up to date with such changes when self-managing an investment property is vital so you don’t find yourself in hot water.
Other legal aspects to be aware of include:
- knowing when you can and can’t enter the property, and how much notice you must give tenants for access to the property
- if and when you can increase the rent, and how often
- your obligations regarding repairs and maintenance
- your rights and obligations regarding end-of-lease and eviction.
Communication with tenants
You might think having easy access to the landlord is appealing for tenants – they can, after all, contact you directly for issues such as repairs and maintenance.
However, some tenants actually prefer to deal with an agent rather than directly with the property owner. Why? A professional property manager is a neutral intermediary. They can balance the needs of tenants and landlords without things becoming emotional or personal. And they are well-versed in maintaining open lines of communication between all parties in a professional, timely manner.
What do professionals offer?
At Rentwest we specialise in property management. That means we focus on doing just one thing well – looking after your property so you and your tenants can rest easy.
Looking for a fresh approach to property management? Contact the team at Rentwest to find out how we can help.