“Help! I want to sack my Property Manager”. It’s a sentence we hear regularly. Ok, that’s not entirely true…it’s more along the lines of “My Property Manager is driving my crazy” or “My Property Manager doesn’t even know who I am”. Hot tip, you’re not alone, it’s a common conundrum amongst landlords and one of the most common complaints we come across when speaking with investors.
Not all Property Managers are created equal and the reality of it is, industry training is scares and the pay is low, so the likelihood of being placed with an incompetent Property Manager or one with little to no experience is all down to luck.
Below you’ll find some handy hints on how to align yourself with a competent Property Manager and ensure some stress-free sailing when it comes to your investments.
It sounds obvious, but a lot of landlords seem to grapple with the idea of terminating the relationship. And it is a relationship, just not a healthy one. You’ve started dating, things were travelling along nicely, you were considering introducing them to your parents, then things turned sour; they stopped returning your calls, began making arrangements without you and making promises without following through. Just to add insult to injury, you’re paying them money for the privilege.
Sometimes making the very decision to “call it off” is the hardest step. It gets easier from there, trust me.
Move Move Move
Now that you’ve decided to end it, the next step is to find a new Property Manager, one that values your business this time and is worth their weight. Now we are all busy people and time is not in abundance, however taking the time to get this step right is crucial. Get it wrong and you might as well not have bothered.
When selecting a new Property Manager, the following tips should be kept in mind to make the best choice:-
- Interview a handful of different Property Managers before making your selection. When liaising with an agency you do not have to go with whoever you are assigned to, you can request to speak with more than one Property Manager within a team to get the best fit. Let them know what your values are and have an open conversation about what level of communication you expect, every landlord is different and it’s about getting to know each other.
- When conducting your interviews, qualify the Property Manager to get a feel for the environment they work in. It’s ok to ask them how many properties they manage, who you will be hearing from day to day, what level of support the team has and how long they have worked for the company. An office with high turnover of Property Managers should set off warning bells and a Property Manager managing 100+ properties without assistance will not provide you with the level of service you require.
- Try not to focus too heavily on the fees. An agency with a team that are worth their salt will not be handing out discounts left and right, they know their worth and they are methodical in the clients they take on to ensure their service remains high. An agency willing to offer you the lowest fee are more likely to hand you over to a junior with little to no experience. Your agency fees are tax deductable after all, so think of it as an investment for your investment. As they say – Pay peanuts, get monkeys.
- Go with your gut (it’s always right). When making your choice, try to go with the person that feels right for you, all of them will say the right things, not all of them do what they say.
- Haven’t found a Property Manager in the area that you are happy with? Don’t be afraid to reach out to agents in neighbouring suburbs. Whilst many people believe they must employ a local agent, you’ll find that most, if not all of the nearby agencies will service your area and they should still exhibit high knowledge levels of the market.
Your other option is to take on self-managing the property. In our experience, we do not recommend this choice. Managing a property may seem like an easy venture on the surface, but there is a substantial amount of work that goes in to managing a tenancy and unless you’re versed in the industry, it does not take much for things to go wrong and once it does, it is difficult to navigate the tenancy laws.
Making the Transition
This is the easy part. Once you have made your choice, all that is left to do is sign the documentation with your new Property Manager and the rest is up to them. Your new Property Manager will liaise with your current Property Manager and handle the file transfer on their end. You needn’t even tell your Property Manager that you’re leaving them! If only all breakups could be so non-confrontational. Your old Property Manager may contact you to gain some feedback or try to retain the business, however if they have proven to be slack in the management of your property, they probably won’t even bother.
Now that you’ve made the transition, all that is left to do is sit back and relax!