“Should I hire a property manager? After all, I only have one investment property, how hard can it be?”
As it turns out, quite hard!
It’s not just a matter of getting tenants and collecting the rent; being a landlord is a lot of work.
Here are 5 reasons why you need a property manager looking after your property:
1. Finding (and keeping) the right tenants
So you’ve bought your (first) investment property, you’re all excited about taking this step in your life and you are ready to rent it out to the right people. Have you thought about how you are going to do this? Do you know the best ways to market your property? Do you know how much rent to charge so you’re competitive in the market? Will you be able to answer all the questions a prospective tenant might have, including legal ones? How will you go about vetting each application?
You see, it’s not as easy as opening your home and your perfect tenant will walk through the door. There’s a whole process to go through, and do you really want to do all this by yourself? A property management firm can help achieve this first important step as a landlord. They are able to perform the home opens for you, vet applications, follow up any enquiries and answer all questions. At Bourkes, we actually use a dedicated leasing agent who specialises in exactly this process.
2. Collecting the rent
You’ve found your tenants; you’ve signed them up. Now comes the good part: collecting the rent and seeing your investment come to life. Except… your tenants haven’t paid you for 2 months, and a dispute ensues on who was supposed to pay what when. Not pretty, but by using a property management firm this tricky conversation can be had for you, and moreover, the agency typically has clearly defined rules that tenants have to agree to when signing up for a tenancy.
Bourkes has a zero tolerance for rent arrears, and when tenants sign up with us, they sign off on this policy enabling us to take immediate action when rent is not paid on time.
3. Maintenance and emergencies
Imagine this for a moment: It’s 9 am on a Tuesday morning. You’re about to head into an important client meeting when your tenant calls you to let you know a water pipe has burst and the kitchen is flooding. You advise the tenant to turn off the mains, but you will need to get on the phone asap to a plumber to get the problem sorted. And which plumber to use? Time to say bye bye to the client meeting?
If you employ a property management firm, this sort of emergency repairs (and any other maintenance requests) are being managed for you. The only thing you are involved with is the decision whether or not to go ahead with non-urgent repairs. How easy is that? Good property management firms not only have set procedures on how they deal with maintenance requests, often they also have a database of trusted, competitively priced contractors that are available at the drop of a hat.
You want to ensure that whoever rents your property maintains it well so that at the end of the tenancy you find your investment in good condition. At the same time, it is important that you regularly check that your property still complies with all legislation (working fire alarms are just one of the things that need to be regularly tested). This means you’ll have to arrange regular inspections. Do you know what to look for? Do you know what the law will interpret as “fair wear and tear” and what can be classed as damage for which you can seek compensation? A property management firm does all this for you. We send out our property managers every 3 months to inspect the properties in our care, and armed with an iPad and the latest technologies, we inspect the properties and ensure compliance is upheld. You as an owner get a full report with pictures so you can go to bed at night knowing that your property is being maintained correctly.
5. Disputes and conflict resolution
It’s not a fun topic, but sometimes conflict does happen between a tenant and a landlord. It could be because of rent arrears, damage to the property or some other dispute. Sometimes the tenant is to blame, sometimes the landlord, but no matter what, it is difficult for all parties to keep a clear head when worlds collide. This is where a property manager provides a perfect ‘buffer’ and is able to resolve problems from a third party, unbiased perspective. It saves a lot of headache!