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SIX TIPS FOR CHOOSING A STANDOUT PROPERTY MANAGER
One of Realty8’s favourite Google reviews from a valued client says, “Royden swept in like a cool breeze, taking care of everything”. Like a refreshing change on a hot summer’s day, a top-notch property manager will breeze in and swiftly rejuvenate your prize rental property.
You might have had challenges with your previous PM, but an efficient new agent will sweep in with energy and enthusiasm. They’ll make smart, sensible changes, so you can sit back and relax while the rental yields roll in.
Whether you’re a new landlord or experienced investor, here are SIX TOP TIPS for choosing a phenomenal property manager.
1. LOOK LOCAL FIRST
In Brisbane, we are blessed with diverse neighbourhoods that each have special qualities. For example, compare the trendy shopping precincts in Greenslopes and Stones Corner with the thriving university hubs of Mount Gravatt and Upper Mount Gravatt.
As a property owner/ investor, you may be based in Brisbane, interstate or even overseas. Regardless of location, your ultimate goal is to keep rental income flowing steadily. This means you need stable tenants who are committed to making rental payments on time, and respecting the terms of their lease.
It is therefore good business sense to find a local property manager who understands the area extremely well. Knowing all the right neighbourhood shops, cafés, schools, and businesses gives an agent the edge in matching your rental to your dream tenant.
2. CHECK THE AGENT’S REPUTATION
Members of your local network can vouch for an agent’s reputation. Before taking the plunge, always check your potential property manager’s track record. You don’t want a “cool breeze” to be a cyclone in disguise!
At Realty8, we proudly publish our 5-star Google reviews on our site, and happily provide contact details for referees. In fact, we encourage you to check out online reviews, references, and testimonials before making a decision.
A few points to consider to help make your decision to choose your Property Manager
What do previous clients say about the PM’s work ethic?
Were they available after hours or when an emergency (like a sudden plumbing crisis) hit?
Do they go the extra mile to help clients?
Do they add a personal touch or treat their clients like a number?
Did they suggest improvements that lifted a property’s rental value?
Were they effective in filling vacancies, sourcing and keeping quality tenants?
Did they address tenancy issues quickly and appropriately?
Another great piece of feedback that Realty8’s received was “they treat our property like it was their own”. You could remember that quote when you consider options for people to manage your major asset!
3. FIRST E-PRESSIONS COUNT
An agent’s online shopfront is more important than their bricks and mortar agency – if they still have one! A website is most people’s first port of call to assess a potential property manager.
Realty8 recommend looking closely at your real estate agent’s website. Is it up to date, with current information and news?
– Is information on fees and pricing transparent?
– What about the team and their track record? Are you provided sufficient detail on their approach to managing your major asset to help you make an informed decision?
– Are property listings kept fresh, with clear photos that mean no hidden surprises?
Good customer service is more than lip service. Make sure to also check out social media, like Facebook which may include comments from tenants, to get the full picture!
4. ASK YOURSELF, WILL THEY ADD VALUE?
The Real Estate Institute of Queensland surveyed landlords throughout Australia for their views on the ideal property manager. They found the top criterion that owners want is value. And not just value for money, but the value that a good PM brings through strong business processes.
For example, at Realty8 we implement ICT (Information And Communications Technology) systems that add value by making life easier for our clients:
A Landlord’s Portal that is available 24/7 for clients to view inspection reports, financial information and track maintenance
Customers sign paperwork digitally on their iPad or smart phone – no mucking around with hard copies and scanners
We deliver paperless entry and exit reports – good for the environment and extra efficient!
These options save both money and time, but it’s critical to remember that value for money doesn’t mean “cheap”.
As smart investors, you know the false economy in going for a cheaper appliance, like an aircon system without a warranty bought from your friend’s mate or Gumtree versus one that won’t break down in the scorching Brisbane summer.
Property management is no different, as our clients have found.
One customer came to us with a unique property, having had challenges with previous agents and sourcing suitable tenants. Realty8 made several suggestions, which the client took on board, and within two weeks the property was tenanted.
Another client with a similar experience was kind enough to say if she “could give us a 6 star rating” she would, and added that “cheaper does not always mean better”.
We offer reasonable rates but there will always be those who undercut. True value is in the results!
5. CLEAR COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY
Many real estate agents are outgoing, and love their job. At Realty8, we certainly do! But there’s a difference between good and outstanding communication.
A property manager who is a great communicator will:
Listen to your needs so they understand your expectations
Ask questions about your previous experience, so they learn from others’ mistakes
Show both owners and tenants the same level of professional communication
Renting is a two-way street and respectful relationships are essential to retaining quality tenants!
Not over-communicate – nobody wants to be spammed by over-zealous contact or sales emails
It’s essential that an agent looks at communication from the client’s point of view, not from their own needs. For example, we have customised our dedicated Landlord’s Portal from the user perspective. For Realty8, it was all about developing a way of communicating with our clients that recognised they are busy, and want information at their fingertips.
6. ARE THEY FLEXIBLE AND RESOURCEFUL
All of the above factors paint a picture of the type of service a property manager should provide. In Realty8’s opinion, one of the most prized qualities an outstanding PM can have is flexibility.
Your property manager is a Jack or Jill of all trades. They need to find terrific tenants, run regular inspections, and seamlessly manage maintenance issues. “Multitasking” is their middle name!
That’s why staying as cool as a summer breeze drifting in from the ocean is vital. In real estate, you need to stay calm under pressure and respond to reactive situations. You also need to adapt to clients’ changing circumstances. This includes tenants as well as landlords.
Make sure to ask prospective PMs about their processes for unexpected early lease terminations, lease non-payments, and tenant hardship. Transparent and open communication on all sides is critical. You might consider asking for examples of how an agent has managed disputes previously.
With our positive track record, clients who have worked with Realty8 as property managers sometimes change tactics and decide to sell the property.
It’s always a pleasure for us to continue our service to our valued partners, and if selling is likely to be a consideration for you in future, you may want to discuss this with the agent.
WRAPPING UP …
A “cool breeze” is exactly how a property management experience should leave you feeling: calm and relaxed, not stressed and anxious. By following these six key tips, you can easily find the right fit for a long-term property manager, and enjoy putting your feet up while they get the job done!
Royden is the principal and founder of Realty8. He is a Fellow of CPA Australia (FCPA) and holds a Business degree from the Queensland University of Technology. Royden is an avid reader and is a passionate hobby photographer. However, his real passion is Real Estate and Property Management in particular.