Gun property managers do more than collect rent once a month and pass it onto their client with their cut taken out. So, what should you expect from a gun property manager?
A property manager has some core tasks that should maximise a landlord, or investors return on what is probably their most significant asset. Some of these tasks or responsibilities passively generate returns by keeping tenants happy, others will actively contribute by increasing the market value of the property.
Alexia Salagaras, a landlord with one investment property, has fired five different property managers citing inattentiveness, poor follow through, non-responsive to tenant issues and slow to pass on information.
She says property managers should care about an investment like it’s their own. And, that the bad ones treat it as “just another statistic on their books”.
To her, a property manager is a service that allows you to to have the freedom to know the property is in good hands.
“It is reasonable for this to come at a cost, but when the service is poor and the manager treats your income as a given with no work associated with it, it’s a hard cost to justify.”
So, how do you ensure your property is in good hands?
Leonie Fitzgerald, founder and investment specialist at Wealthology bought her first investment property at just 18 years old, and now with an impressive portfolio, she always recommends landlords and investors use a property manager.
“When you have more than one or two properties it’s time consuming [to manage them], and when things go wrong a good property manager knows all the ins and outs, all the legalities,” says Leonie.
Even those with one or two investment properties should also consider a manager for the same reasons, says Leonie.
She agrees with Alexia there are property managers who don’t provide the kind of service a good property manager should, but she has a few tips for finding a good one.
And, it starts with a vetting process. She always meets property managers armed with a list of questions before she hires them, such as: How long have you been in the role? What do you do differently from the agency down the street? And, what kind of service do you provide for your clients?
This first step is about building rapport with a manager, and from here Leonie says she is very clear about the expectations she has for their ongoing relationship.
Great property management expectations
A property manager who is good at their job will do a lot to keep investments ticking over and improving in value.
To do this successfully they will be experts in the area their client is investing in. They’ll know exactly how much a two, three or four bedroom house is renting for each week, and how much they are selling for. And, they’ll let investors know if they can increase the rent, even if it means a lot more work, without much gain for them.
According to Leonie, the best way to find a property manager who knows the city and suburbs is to look for one in the area you are investing in because they are on the ground, they’ve got people walking by and they know the market.
An absolute ace manager will also be highly proactive in every piece of communication with you and highly reactive to the needs of the tenants. They won’t need chasing up.
“I like them to come back to me within 24hrs, I know they are busy but I also have expectations around customer service,” says Leonie.
“I want to know if my tenant gives notice,” says Leonie. “I want my property manager to phone me and let me know, so that I’m aware of what’s going on. I don’t want to wait to get a newly signed tenancy agreement from someone I’ve never heard of.”
Another attribute unique to great property managers is their amazing contacts of high quality tradespeople. Leonie fears if she were managing her own properties and a tenant called her with a problem she wouldn’t have the expertise to help without calling in an expensive tradie picked at random from the phone book.
“If I got a phone call from a tenant who said ‘The light is not working in the bathroom, what do I do?’ I’d be like, ‘oh god, I’ll get a sparky out’. And, it’ll cost me $300. And, then I’ll find out all I had to do was reach into the power box and flick a switch!”
A really gun property manager will know if they actually need to call in tradesperson or if it’s just a light bulb that needs changing.
Perhaps most importantly a really good property manager will see to it that your tenants are the perfect fit for your investment and will stay for a long time.
“When you’ve got a good tenant you want them to stay for as long as possible, so you try to do what you can to keep them happy,” says Leonie.
“I want to know if there are any issues with my property, so if something needs fixed or the tenant is not happy with something, then I want to know so I can get it sorted.”
Any good property manager will keep landlords and investors up-to-date with any issues their tenants are having.
having a gun property manager saves her time, money and really importantly, it means she isn’t stressed about her properties. “The rent just goes into the bank account every month. If I’ve got any questions I just shoot it off to the professional and she’ll deal with it.”