Having the right property manager on your side can be the difference between a successful property investment experience and a stressful and expensive one.
Whether you’re looking for a new property manager or want to get the most out of your existing one, here are ten questions you may want to ask.
1. How will you attract and retain quality tenants for my property?
Good tenants are property investment’s holy grail, and you want a property manager who knows how to find – and keeps – the best tenants for your property. Can your property manager recommend the best methods to use to find tenants in your area? They’ll also need to be able to set the right rental price for the local market. Find out what questions they ask prospective tenants, and what their process is for screening applicants to make sure the tenants who move in are the best of the bunch.
2. What are the benefits of investing in professional marketing materials for my property?
Ask your property manager exactly what difference professional photos will make. Where does your property manager plan to promote your property? What type of advertising do they recommend? They should be able to tell you how they plan to target the right tenants for your rental home.
3. How often will you conduct rental inspections and review the rent?
Your property manager’s response to this question will give you an idea of their dedication to managing your investment property over the long term. After all, there is a lot more to property management than just installing tenants. Regular rental inspections and rent reviews should be scheduled as a matter of course, in line with the current regulations (which they should be able to tell you all about).
4. How can I minimise vacancy rates?
A good property manager knows that keeping your property tenanted is one of the most important ways they can add value, and they’ll have a strategy for doing so. Treating your tenants with care and respect should be on top of the list.
5. How will you communicate with me and my tenants?
Any property manager worth their salt knows that good relationship built on a foundation of great communication are the key to successful property management. Is your property manager easy to get a hold of by phone and email? Do they have a user-friendly system for landlords to access lease and financial information? How do they handle urgent and emergency communication from tenants?
6. How quickly do I need to deal with any maintenance issues?
Handling repairs and maintenance is a big part of a property manager’s job. They should have a directory of trusted, qualified tradespeople to call on and be able to advise you on your rights and obligations as a landlord. There are rules about dealing with emergency repairs and non-urgent repairs, and there’s sound advice about proactive property maintenance. Ideally, your property manager will be able to provide them all.
7. Are there any compliance issues I should be aware of?
Property law is complex and ever-evolving, and varies from one Australian state to another. Keeping up to date with it can be complicated and time-consuming for property investors. That’s why you need to feel confident you can rely on your property manager to keep you informed of all compliance issues. Ask them for the latest on the WA Residential Tenancies Act and if you own a strata property, the recent changes to WA’s strata laws.
8. What improvements – if any – should I make to my property?
A good property manager will be able to advise you on the best way to present your property, and whether any improvements, repairs or changes should be made in order to maximise your rental return. Be sure to ask what your property manager estimates the return on any changes to be.
9. What experience and qualifications do your property management staff have?
When it comes to property management, experience matters. All property managers here in WA need to have completed a relevant course (REIWA is the industry standard) and obtain a certificate of registration from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS).
Find out how long your property management agency has been around and the depth of its connection with the local market. Customer testimonials and industry awards are good indicators of high-quality client care.
10. What is your management fee?
You’ve invested in property in order to make money, and your outgoings are just as important as your rental income. When weighing up your property manager’s fee, remember to look at exactly what it includes. Are there additional marketing costs to consider? And more importantly, does the fee accurately reflect your property manager’s experience, track record, communication skills, expertise, local knowledge, advice and willingness to go above and beyond?
Ultimately, you want to feel comfortable with your property manager. After all, you need to work well together to look after what is one of your biggest assets. If you’re interested in posing these ten questions to our team, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us today.