Property managers are a key member of your investment team, so finding the right one for you and your asset is undoubtedly a key priority.
In order to help you interview potential property managers, here are 11 questions to help you to narrow down your shortlist to find the right one.
1. Tell me about your property management team, their experience and their approach.
The idea here is to get a feel for both the work culture and property investment knowledge inherent within the agency. You’re looking for a property manager that is supported by an enthusiastic team with many years of successful property management behind them. A team who work collaboratively with the sales and administration team to provide the highest level of service to clients.
You also want to find an agency that has made the connection between happy landlords and happy tenants who can become the buyers and sellers of the future. At these agencies, the property management staff are valued. Good property managers are drawn to these kinds of agencies where the directors strive for excellence in both the sales and property management departments.
You’ll want to find out how many properties the agency manages. A property manager who has a manageable workload or what we call a head count by property, and is supported by a leasing and administrative team, means the property manager can concentrate on where they can add the most value to the relationship by protecting a return for the landlord.
Use this opportunity to find out who your primary point of contact will be and how long they’ve been in the industry. Perhaps they can talk you through how they deal with difficult tenants, absent landlords, rental arrears or rental market downturns.
2. What fees do you charge?
Most property managers will charge two main fees.
The first is a letting fee paid when the manager finds a new tenant at the beginning of a lease, and payable again to find replacement tenants when a tenant moves on. It’s often equal to a week’s rent.
The second fee is a management fee for the week-to-week tasks of caring for your property. The management fee charged varies from agency to agency but is usually calculated as a percentage of the weekly rent and typically ranges from three to 10 per cent.
Some agencies will also charge administration fees.
3. What services are included in the fees?
There are a range of services you can expect a property manager to perform, but it’s good to get these in writing so you know exactly what to expect. Property managers that charge lower fees may not provide a comprehensive service. The main responsibilities of a property manager include:
managing the lease contract
lodging the rental bond
conducting periodic inspections of the property
organising maintenance and repairs
paying bills on your behalf
At DiJones we are conscious that not all our landlords want the full bells and whistles when it comes to property management which is why we offer a tiered management fee structure so you only pay for what you want. To find out more about our flexible management fees click here.
4. How do you screen tenants?
A good property manager will check an applicant’s rental history, call up references and verify income claims.
5. What digital tools do you use to manage a property?
In recent years there has been an influx of new technology to support the property management industry. From sophisticated customer relationship management systems to cutting-edge apps to streamline communication and task allocation, this technology is designed to improve a property manager’s efficiency and increase their accountability. It should also improve the user experience for tenants and landlords.
If your property manager hasn’t embraced technology there’s a good chance their processes will be labour-intensive and time-consuming, leading to delays and frustration for all parties.
At DiJones our Landlord Portal gives you real time transparency into your rental income, expenses, maintenance reports and more.
6. What is your policy for choosing tradespeople?
One of your property manager’s key roles is to deal with any maintenance and repairs required at your property. But sometimes tradespeople charge a premium to attend a callout for a rental property. You’ll want to find out how the agency chooses trades to work with and confirm that all their tradespeople are licensed and have the correct insurances in place.
It’s best if the agency has a system where all work orders are put in writing to avoid miscommunication and provide a paper trail of every job.
7. What is your process for routine property inspections?
It’s your property manager’s job to conduct routine inspections of your rental property to ensure it’s being well-maintained. Find out how often they conduct inspections and what kind of report you can expect to receive following each visit. Ask whether you are allowed to accompany the agent should you wish to see first-hand the condition of your property.
8. How long do you expect it to take to rent my property?
While there are no guarantees for how long your property will take to lease, a good property manager will be able to show evidence of a low vacancy rate and low average days on market. Of course, getting the price right is critical here…which needs us onto the next question.
9. How much rent should I charge?
Local property managers are well versed in how much similar properties are renting for in the area and can provide you with a detailed rental market report showing recent data. They also should be able to share with you insights into what changes you could make to your property to add value and appeal and how best to position it with marketing so it attracts and retain high quality tenants.
10. Are you able to provide some recent references from landlords and tenants?
You can check online reviews, but there’s nothing quite like a first-hand recommendation either in the form of a written testimonial or a phone call. A well-regarded property manager who has been in the industry for many years should be able to produce references on request. Be sure to get both landlord and tenant referees, as this will give you a better picture of how well the manager operates on both sides of the rental equation.
11. Who do you think would like to live in my property?
This question will give you an insight into how well the property manager knows the local market and whether they can quickly evaluate the selling points of your property. It shouldn’t matter if your property has just been renovated, is in good, “original” condition or has been newly built, there is usually a tenant for every property at the right price.
To talk to your local DiJones property manager about your investment property click here.
To get a rental appraisal and find out how much rent you could charge or how you could improve your rental yield click here.
Other property management tools and information
Guide to property investment success in NSW
Qualities of a high performing property manager
How to review the performance of your investment property
Property investment in NSW FAQ’s
How much rent can I charge?
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