10 Essential Questions to Ask Before Appointing a Property Manager

10 Essential Questions to Ask Before Appointing a Property Manager

By Billie-Jean Lukin on May 01 2017

If you are looking to rent out your property, here are 10 essential questions to ask before appointing a property manager.

Buying a property for investment purposes is a difficult task in itself. However, things get a little more complicated, when you are burdened with the responsibility of taking care of your property. In addition to dealing with complicated real-estate laws of your state/city, you need to handle the problems your tenants put forth. At the same time, you need to ensure that your investment is safe and secure.

All these duties can get a little strenuous for property owners. This is what makes it crucial to hire a property manager, especially if you haven’t rented out a property before. These people have the relevant knowledge for maximizing your property’s value in the market. However, since you need to make the right choice, it is imperative for you to interview different services and ask the right questions.

This article from LJ Hooker Broadbeach highlights the ten essential questions you need to ask before appointing a property manager.

1. Who will be responsible for looking after my property?

Oftentimes, when you decide on checking out a property management firm, a manager/assistant will facilitate the initial discussions concerning your property. Later on, you might be appointed someone else for looking after your property. This will require you to engage in another meeting and may result in a little confusion. Therefore, make sure to ask clearly, who will be responsible for managing your property. Upon getting an approval, another essential to question to ask is “How long have you been working with the agency?” You should typically look for a property manager that is responsible and has years of experience in the field with no plans of leaving the agency soon. You wouldn’t want to be talking to a different person for property management six months down the line.

2. How many properties are you currently managing?

It’s a good decision to go for an agency that has a solid reputation for managing properties in the local market. However, you wouldn’t want to be stuck with a firm that is overloaded with too many properties to manage. This just means that you’ll be receiving less attention, while paying the same amount of cash as others. It is a general rule to avoid property managers who are handling more than 120 properties at a single time. If an agency has 450 properties on their rent roll, ideally they should have a team of five or six professional property managers to cover these.

3. Are there tenants currently in arrears? Is any action taken against those behind in rent?

By asking how many tenants are currently in arrears on the books of the property management agency, you can gain vital insight as to the types of tenants they rent the properties to. LJ Hooker Broadbeach believes it is essential for you to choose a firm that has fewer cases of tenants behind their rent. Also make sure to ask about the company policies regarding the procedure of being paid of what the tenant owes you, whether they enforce late fees, how do they collect rent, and how often will money be transferred into your account.

4. What happens if your property requires urgent maintenance?

Hiring a property manager to reduce the burden off your shoulders is a great decision. However, this doesn’t mean you forget about your property. Make monthly visits to check if your property requires any urgent maintenance. Ask the agency you hire whether they have preferred contractors to tackle emergencies concerning your property. Also, don’t hesitate to raise the following concerns to your property manager: “If there is a maintenance request, when will you contact me” and “can you pay the bills, if required, in my stead?”

LJ Hooker Broadbeach has a team of experienced property managers who can help make sure you receive a reliable income stream, excellent capital growth and the best returns possible - as well as a guarantee of exceptional customer service.

 5. What marketing methods do you use for attracting tenants?

LJ Hooker Broadbeach strongly believes that marketing plays an important role in attracting quality tenants who will take care of your property as if it were their own (email, online listings, signage, TV adverts). Feel free to ask about the procedure used for attracting tenants. Also, don’t hesitate on asking who shows the property. The last thing you need is prospective tenants viewing the property on their own.

6. What is the process for screening tenants?

While there is no doubt property managers will do their level best for getting quality tenants to enter a rent agreement, it is imperative that you ask about the screening process. The best of companies will have a subscription to a major tenancy database to gain valuable insight into eligible individuals. Also, make sure to ask if they have a system in place for analyzing the current employment, past rental history, and credit worthiness of prospective tenants.

7. What is the cost of inspections?

At LJ Hooker Broadbeach, the cost of inspections are included in the management fee. We conduct three inspections per year, in addition to exit and entry condition reports, and we always reinspect the property after extensive repairs or maintenance has been carried out.

8. How much do you charge for management?

This allows you to learn about the fees associated to getting your property managed through an agency. At LJ Hooker Broadbeach, only one weeks rent + GST is charged.

9. What is your estimate of the weekly rental potential of the property?

Upon receiving an answer to the question, make sure to follow up with; “how have you calculated this estimate?” If the agent demonstrates a good understanding and knowledge of similar properties in your area, it is a good sign to hire them. At LJ Hooker Broadbeach, we conduct a CMA (Current Market Appraisal) each time a property is let. Furthermore, we carry out an appraisal when a lease is coming up to its expiry to ensure rent is being renewed to keep it in line with market value.

10. What else can you do that another property manager can’t?

LJ Hooker Broadbeach has stated repeatedly that property management isn’t just about the collection of rent from tenants. It’s a comprehensive service that handles all aspects of the “management” to ease the life of investors. Ask for the unique selling proposition of the agency you plan on hiring!

If you would like more information about our property management services, or would like to talk to one of our property managers, please call (07) 5592 2884 or email rentals.broadbeach@ljh.com.au