What to look for in a property manager

A valuable property manager is a gift for landlords, yet also beneficial for tenants. Being able to please and appease both sides of the equation is a rare commodity.

If you’re in the market for a responsible, reliable and reputable property manager, here are the must-haves for all savvy investors. 

Know your product

Researching the property values and comparative rentals in your region is essential for gaining not only the appropriate rate of return for your investment but also ensuring that you attract desirable tenants.  

Seek property managers with a proven track record in offering quality over quantity. Consult investor friends and colleagues, even owners of neighbourhood properties who often maintain inside knowledge. Attention to detail, an accent on management rather than tenancy procurement and high response rates for landlord and tenant should be prioritised when shopping around for property managers at local estate agents. 

Ideally, appoint a trusted manager within close range of your property. Direct access and a hands-on approach to emergency maintenance and repairs issues are essential safeguards for your investment. This makes perfect business sense to good property managers and landlords alike.    

Be informed about your rights and responsibilities

If you have invested in property with the primary aim of long-term tenancy, the most important lesson is an awareness of rental laws and the dual rights and responsibilities of landlord and tenant.  

The type of questions you should ask yourself include: do you plan to lease to pet owners? If so, make sure that contractual agreements that are in place help you and your tenant abide by established and changing laws. 

Know your property visitation rights, which must be agreed upon in writing in most states and regions.

When it comes to your prized investment, learn the difference between unintentional and wilful damage and know your rights and responsibilities in both instances. 

Shop around for proactive qualities

Property managers who offer a personable, professional and proactive approach are highly valued by investors and tenants.  

How do you screen and secure the right tenants and how do you retain them? This question should top your list when deciding on a prospective property manager.

Other must-ask questions include: how many properties do you manage?; how many tenants are in arrears and what is your payment procurement method?; are you the sole manager of my property, and if not, who else will be stepping into the role?; how many inspections are conducted annually?; and how do you advertise my property?

It’s important to know how far they spread their net (ie. on popular real estate portals; whether a ‘For Lease’ board is erected; if an email mailout is sent to past and current databases; and also if the potential manager advertises within their agency).

Budgeting for management fees 

In addition to property maintenance and repairs, there are ongoing fees when renting a property. Make sure that a full fee structure is outlined before deciding on a property manager. At its essence, a basic fee structure includes a management fee (a commission percentage of the weekly rental); a letting fee (one or two weeks’ rental); and an administration fee (usually monthly). Lastly, use your negotiation skills to gain their business and decide on the right price.