For any landlord with an investment property, your property manager should be your greatest asset.
While it’s always possible to manage your own property, it can be so much smoother to have a professional do it for you.
They can help you find the best tenants, manage (and chase) rent collection, keep up-to date on maintenance and repairs, and act as the important and impartial “go-between” for you and your tenants.
But how can you be sure your property manager is doing the best possible job?
How can you tell when they’re starting to slack?
If your investment dream is turning into a nightmare, consider these 5 signs that it might be time to find a new property manager.
1. THEY’RE QUIET… TOO QUIET
No one likes being bombarded by endless calls, texts and emails, but it’s much worse if your property manager never checks in.
They should be happy to report back to you regularly and give you updates as often as you request them, but if you feel like you’re getting to know their message service more than them, take this as an alarm bell.
For instance, if you can’t remember the last time they offered you a market comparison or recommended a rental increase, that is cause for concern — as you could be missing out on potential income.
Managing properties is their job, and communicating with landlords regularly should be part and parcel of that job description.
2. THEY FAIL TO GIVE YOU A MONTHLY REPORT (OR SEND IT IN LATE)
Your property manager should be providing you with a report each month that details your property’s financials, like the budget, income, expenses, and any deductions (such as repairs and maintenance).
A highly detailed report will also include a breakdown of the amount collected in rent and anything owing in arrears, as well as planning for maintenance, property market updates and any other important notes you need to know.
3. THEY CHARGE LIKE A WOUNDED BULL
Hiring a property manager is just one of those expenses that come with having a property investment, but don’t be fooled into paying too much for their expertise.
Property manager fees vary on a case by case basis, but generally you should be paying somewhere between seven to 10 per cent of your weekly rental income.
If you’re being charged over this amount — especially if they’re not doing a thorough job — then it might be time to start looking around for another manager.
4. THEY HAVE TERRIBLE TASTE
In tenants, that is.
Having a friendly property manager is great.
Having a property manager who is overly friendly and too trusting is not.
If you’re finding your property is frequently rented out to poor tenants (whether they pay rent late, host wild parties or generally cause a nuisance), you can assume your property manager isn’t vetting the applicants properly.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your property manager to try and get on the same page regarding the type of tenants you’re looking for.
Any property manager worth their salt should be able to take your request into account and find someone more suitable.
5. THEY DON’T INSPECT THE PROPERTY REGULARLY
In Australia, it’s standard practice for property managers to conduct regular inspections of the property.
Depending on which state your property is located in, this can vary anywhere between once a year to four times annually.
It should include a decent inspection of both the inside and outside of the property, and a detailed report should be provided afterwards.
If your property manager is failing to do this, then simply put, they’re failing to do their job properly.
A good property manager can make it seem like owning investment properties is a total breeze — and you only realise quite how valuable they are when you experience the full impact of working with a dud one.
Remember that at the end of the day, you invest in property to make a profit and grow your wealth.
If your property manager isn’t doing their best to optimise your investment, then they’re ultimately costing you money.