Your property manager needs to be a switched on, intelligent and courteous person who is approachable and friendly, but is also a shrewd judge of a possible tenant’s character.
They should have local knowledge, know how to source a reliable tenant base, and know how to represent you at a tribunal hearing if there’s a tenant dispute.
It’s a mix of openness, toughness and regulatory knowledge that makes a good property manager, so let’s look at three of these aspects.
Having industry and local knowledge
A property manager with local knowledge understands how to market your property and which type of tenants are going to be keen to rent it.
For example, you might think your property is family friendly, but the local property manager knows there’s a live music venue close by that’s likely to keep the kids awake. With the understanding of the area’s surroundings, the property manager looks at their tenant database, and narrows the search for younger tenants without children instead.
When you talk to a potential property manager, ask them about the area. If they know their stuff, they should be able to tell you about other customers’ properties and the sorts of tenants that find the area popular. If they respond with, “I don’t know, I just moved here from interstate,” you need to look for someone with a local advantage.
Knowledge of an area’s growing or decreasing attraction also gives a local manager the advantage of knowing when to increase rent and when to leave it as is, so that you are never without a tenant.
Regular updates on your property
Once you have given your approval and the tenant moves in, you don’t want a day-by-day commentary on what they are up to.
What you do want is to be forewarned about things like changes to the rent payment schedule, and quotes before any repairs are undertaken.
There shouldn’t be any surprises when you open your rental statements. Your property manager should have been in touch to advise on any repairs and to arrange for them to be staggered over a couple of months if necessary.
A regular quarterly or six-monthly report on the property with photos taken by the manager should also be part of your management agreement.
Maintaining a dependable tenant base
A property manager should be able to keep your property constantly tenanted, it’s fundamental to the job. A big property management company will have more potential tenants than a smaller one, but the way they find tenants is important too.
They should be able to offer a National Tenancy Database check, and have a tenant database for those looking for a particular rental type. A newsletter to tenants guiding them towards properties they manage keeps tenants within the same management pool – which means your property will remain occupied.
Property investing is a positive step to increasing your financial security. But a property without a tenant is costing you money, and that’s where a good property manager from a firm like Ironfish is indispensable.