You’ve placed your investment and your trust into your property manager’s capable hands, now read on to see if you are getting full value for your fees.
Blogger : Athena Law, client services manager, Define Property Agents
Now that you’ve selected the right property management agency for your investment portfolio, based on their expertise and service standards, make the conscious decision to hand over the reins completely.
This not only allows your property manager to flourish in their professional capacity, it also ensures that you have complete certainty that you are getting your money’s worth.
Here are six tests to make sure you’re getting the most from your property manager
SHOW ME THE MONEY
Are your tenants always up to date with their rent, if not in advance? Late payments from tenants equals late mortgage payments for you, so ensure that your PM is well-versed in rent arrears collection techniques. Have your PM disperse funds to you twice monthly, instead of just the end of the month. By law, rental trust accounts cannot accrue interest, so the funds are certainly better off earning that interest in your account!
WILL THAT BE EFT OR CHEQUE?
Your PM is probably already paying regular property invoices on your behalf, such as pool or garden maintenance. They should also be authorised to pay all maintenance invoices and also accounts like council rates and water.
KEEP AN EYE OUT
More agencies are outsourcing their routine inspections to third party companies, but this can lead to a real breakdown in communication and a lack of consistency regarding your property. Ensure your routine inspections are happening regularly and thoroughly – you’d be surprised to hear that some agencies haven’t been inside properties in their portfolio for nearly a year. Also request photos from each inspection, along with a list of required and recommended repairs or improvements. A dollar spent now on prevention is $100 saved next year.
Don’t be shy to ask for a Comparative Market Analysis (Rental Appraisal) each time your property is due for lease, or a lease renewal, to ensure that your property is achieving the correct market rent. If you can increase the rent by an additional $20 per week, that is over $18 per week in YOUR pocket!
SUNDRIES AND ALL THAT JAZZ
Most agencies will charge a nominal fee each month to cover the cost of administration. Consider changing from paper statements to e-statements, and ask if your PM will reduce your sundries fee slightly.
IT’S A TRUST THING
You may have advised your agent that they are authorised to organise repairs and maintenance under say $200, however do they really feel empowered to do so? Let’s calculate how much your time is worth – perhaps $70 per hour? If your property manager has contacted you a few times in the month to discuss small repair items, those conversations or emails may have cost you $35 of your time.
Clarify in writing to your PM that they are truly authorised to organise necessary repairs and that you will rely on their expertise.
Treat your property manager the same way you do your accountant at tax time: hand everything over, trust that they know what they’re doing and then sit back and relax – you’re in good hands!
Athena Law is the client services manager at Define Property Agents in sunny Mooloolaba, and has enjoyed a property management career in both Brisbane and Sydney. She likes to call herself the “Happiness Manager” and loves meeting new clients and staying in touch with existing landlords. She can often be found loitering around on the Define Property Facebook page whilst eating jellybeans.