How to Choose a Property Management Company – October 2014

by Tracey Sparrow

Do you now find yourself no longer able to commit the time needed to successfully manage your investments? If so, you may want to consider engaging the services of a property management company to deal with your properties and tenants on your behalf. A good property management company can help maximise the return on your investment property while saving you time and reducing stress.

Are you looking to invest in the property market? Perhaps you’re already self-managing a rental property or looking to increase your portfolio of investment properties? Do you now find yourself no longer able to commit the time needed to successfully manage your investments?

If so, you may want to consider engaging the services of a property management company to deal with your properties and tenants on your behalf. A good property management company can help maximise the return on your investment property while saving you time and reducing stress.

This article explains how working with a Property Manager can benefit you and help you know what to look for in a Property Management company in order to make the best choice for you.

Why work with a Property Manager?

There are a number of benefits that come with working alongside a Property Manager. If you are not confident with how to oversee a rental property, including the laws surrounding the industry, a Property Manager will have the necessary experience and knowledge to be able to follow the correct procedures and act within the boundaries of the law in regards to tenants, tax and other property matters.

You will be able to hand over a majority of the time-consuming responsibilities as owner and landlord e.g. advertising, tenant screening, credit/reference checking, property open homes, weekly rent payment administration and property inspections, to name a few. The overall control of the property remains with you and the most important decision – the final say on who will live in your property based on the final applications provided by your Property Manager.

If you are a first-time landlord or do not have sufficient time to fully manage a property (or several properties), working with a Property Manager can make life simpler and leave you time to focus on other opportunities.

Different types of property manager

A simple Google search will uncover many property managers who would all be happy to manage your property. However, not all Property Managers are created equal and it can be difficult to decide which one will meet your needs.

  • The independent or freelance Property Manager is someone who does not work for a specific company and manages the properties they are responsible for on a full or part time basis. Though they may offer lower rates, be cautious here as some may not have the correct qualifications, licences or training to effectively and professionally manage your property.
  • A Property Manager in a real estate company could be either a real estate agent tasked with managing properties, or a Property Manager hired by a real estate company. Make sure the company employs professional Property Managers and takes as much pride in property management as they do in real estate.
  • A property management company focusses solely on managing property. They have either a dedicated person in charge of particular properties or a group that manages properties as a team.

Any Property Manager you work with should be licenced, which means they adhere to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand property management code, ensuring professional and law-abiding practices.  When talking to a prospective Property Manager, ask what qualifications they hold.

What to look for in a property management company

Before choosing a property management company, thoroughly research your options and then interview your candidates to gauge how they work, how they treat their own staff, the quality of the services they provide to clients, tenants and properties, and about the culture of the company itself. Here are a few additional questions you might consider asking:

  • Is there a dedicated property management department and are staff licenced? Ask to take a look through the property management department or office and inquire as to whether the staff is qualified. Do they provide continuous training to keep up with the ebb and flow of the market?  How do they communicate effectively with tenants and property owners?
  • How are tenants screened? A good property management company will ensure only the best tenants are able to rent your property. A robust process should mean tenants are screened through completed applications, referees, references and credit checks and acknowledge their agreement to the terms and conditions of a property.
  • What is their rent collection process? Qualified professionals will collect rent through an audited trust account, which will protect you and your tenants.
  • How many properties does each staff member look after? Ensure Property Managers aren’t busy with too many properties that will prevent them from being able to allow adequate time for each one.
  • Do staff members have local knowledge of the area’s market? People with local knowledge and a firm understanding of the area’s market will be able to better promote and care for your property. For example, knowing young families like to be located in an area close to a school or knowing that certain areas are better for the elderly as they are close to shops and essential facilities. This shows that a manager knows the area well and is able to maximise its potential.
  • Are occupancy rates high? High occupancy rates of quality tenants are a good sign that a company is highly regarded and able to provide great services to both property owners and tenants.
  • Does the company have access to reputable, cost-effective tradespeople?  As Property Managers will be expected to manage any maintenance issues, you should first discuss whether you are happy for them to proceed on the basis that the repair falls under a monetary limit or request that they check with you in all circumstances.  A property management company should have access to reputable and cost effective tradespeople, who will be able to provide a quote provide before the commencement of any work.  Be aware, in some cases companies charge a maintenance fee on top of the cost of the repair.
  • Are inspections carried out? A property management company must be able to make sure properties are well maintained and kept clean. Regular inspections are important, along with disciplinary processes for tenants who are messy, destructive or are continually late with rent payments. Remember if good tenants are selected in the first place, there should be very little disciplinary worries.
  • Ask to see a portfolio. You will be able to see a number of properties managed by the company. Make sure that you are happy with the condition of these properties – companies should take pride in the condition and running of the properties they manage.

A quality property management company should be able to tick all of these boxes and more.

At Irelands, we go above and beyond to ensure you and your tenants are looked after and able to communicate with our Property Managers if any problems or questions arise.

Are you ready to learn more about the Irelands experience? Contact us today to talk to one of our friendly Property Managers.

 

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