Selecting a Property Management Team

Sarah Boyle

Whether you’ve recently purchased your first investment property, or have already been in rental investment market, it can prove to be challenging in selecting your Property Manager.

Often after purchasing a property, buyers feel compelled to engage the same agency to manage the property. This isn’t necessarily a bad business transaction, as the company have prior knowledge to the property, however, Property Management is a different ball-game to that of Sales, and you may feel disappointed with the decline in service after you go from being a Buyer, to a Landlord.

Property Management isn’t all roses and lollipops, it is a tough job. And it is not just the Property Manager who needs to meet your criteria as a Landlord, but more importantly the Company. After all, a great Property Manager could be appointed to you and exceed all of your expectations, but if they are not getting the adequate support and encouragement from their Directors, they will quickly move on and this often happens.

If you were to call your local Franchised Real Estate business requesting an appraisal and discussion on the potential listing of your property, 9 times out of 10, you will be introduced to a fabulous Business Development Manager (BDM) who will run through all things Leasing with you. The BDM will discuss and negotiate fees with you, marketing strategies, how they will find the right tenant, conduct private and open for inspections etc. The BDM often takes home a commission for successfully bringing on your business to the company and this is paid once the property is Leased. However, once your tenant is secured, your property will be handed onto a Property Manager – who may not share your excitement as a new Landlord as this means it is another property for them to manage, and they are left to do all of the laborious parts of the business transaction with no monetary gain; conducting the Entry Condition Report, meeting your new Tenants to sign Lease documents and handing over of keys, as well as the on going management which entails bi-annual routine inspections, arranging maintenance, chasing rental payments and the list goes on.

It is important to ask the Property Manager a number of questions:

  • How many properties do you manage?
  • Do you have an assistant or additional support in your office?
  • Do you work on Saturday’s and conduct open for inspections?
  • Do you process all applications or do you have an assistant or leasing consultant who does that?
  • Will you be available via phone and do you have a work mobile?
  • How often will you do Routine Inspections on my property, and, will I receive a photographic report?
  • What is your policy for rental arrears and how do you manage this?
  • Do you have good understanding and experience with VCAT procedures?
  • What is the turn around on a return phone call?
  • Will you call me if there is a maintenance request?

We conducted a survey of 100 clients and the biggest frustrations they had experienced whilst having their property under management were:

  1. Never get a call back from their Property Manager
  2. Had to leave numerous messages with the receptionist and constantly being told “they aren’t available right now”
  3. Maintenance issues took too long to rectify
  4. Not receiving updates in a timely manner
  5. Re-active management rather than pro-active management

The most important thing to remember when selecting an agent to manage your investment property is to confirm that someone will be available regardless of the circumstances. When selecting an agent make sure they have the appropriate procedures and processes in place to manage any situation or scenario – it is not the clients responsibility to follow up with the Property Manager to make sure that all the necessary tasks have been completed.