Your property is your number one investment, for many it’s an alternative to putting retirement savings in the bank so managing your house or apartment needs a high level of care. As a landlord, searching for a good property manager can be a daunting business. How do you know who to trust? How do you know if your potential property manager will take care of your investment? Will they make you money? Will you be able to work with them?
At zealgroup, we care as much about your property as you do so we have put together a helpful checklist – does your property manager have these 10 things?
#1 The Right People:
Property managers need to have a specific set of skills which combine great customer service, an understanding of property legislation and a good business acumen. This is not a job for just anybody and if your property agent doesn’t have the right team then you will soon know about it. Being able to liaise with tenants, manage your maintenance, handle any arrears and communicate effectively with you are all essential.
TIP– Check the credentials of your property management team by looking on Linkedin. What experience do they have in the property and customer service sector? It’s especially important to check the owners and directors as they are steering the ship!
Communication equals peace of mind for landlords and if you hire a rental manager then you want to be sure that everything is well and good with your property. You don’t want to be checking on unpaid bills, begging for reports and chasing messages. Unfortunately though, many landlords will end up with an agency that lacks communication which can turn your investment into a real headache.
TIP– Check the communication policy of your potential rental agent before you sign up. At Zeal, we have strict policies on how communications are handled, reports filed and contracts logged so our owners have complete peace of mind.
#3 Legal & Accounting Knowledge
A good property manager doesn’t need to be a fully trained lawyer or accountant but they do need to understand property law and have a trained accountant working with them. Not following correct procedure can leave you liable for fines, taxes and even law suits so you need to be really sure that your rental management team knows what they are doing.
TIP- Good property agents are pedantic, particular and paranoid about all the little details because they want to protect your interests. At zealgroup, our team carries a weight of expertise to make sure all the “t”s are crossed and the “i”s dotted!
#4 A Social Media Presence
Social media is now a major part of everyone’s lives and that includes tenants and property owners. If your property management company isn’t active on social media then they are missing out on a huge chunk of business and therefore so are you. You want your property rented out as soon as possible to maximize your income so your agency needs to be working every possible avenue to make that happen.
TIP- Check out your property manager’s social presence on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, G+ and even on YouTube. How often do they post updates and advertise rental properties? Send them a message on their Facebook page and see how long it takes them to respond. It’s no use having a Facebook page if they didn’t use it since 2004!
#5 A Profession Attitude
How professional is your rental management team? Professionalism includes a neat premises, well mannered staff, accurate and well presented documentation (letters/ invoices/ reports and emails) and well documented procedures. A sloppy approach to property management is a recipe for disaster and can result in unpaid rents, badly documented property reports and a poor attitude to customer service for both you and your tenant.
TIP- Perception becomes reality, so if the first impression of your management company is of poorly behaved staff, a messy office and disorganized systems then give them a miss for your property needs.
#6 Happy Tenants & Owners
A good property management company will have a large repertoire of happy tenants and owners on its books. Reputation speaks volumes because the marketing gloss is easy to paint on but a reputation is earned by word of mouth. It is important that your potential rental agency has clients who have used them for a number of years and not just in the last few months. This will show you that they are happy with their procedures, professionalism and results.
TIP- Ask for tenant and owner references and follow up on them. Ask how happy they are with the management agency and if there are any areas that concern them. This will give you an honest appraisal before you sign up.
Speaking of honesty, this is a major factor you should consider when choosing a property manager. You need to be able to trust your property managers entirely and you don’t want to be brushed off when you really want answers. Sometimes property managers need to give you bad news but if they do it directly and professionally you will respect that more than finding out the truth 6 months later. Similarly, your property management agent should be honest in setting your expectations in terms of rental capacity and income at the start.
TIP- Be wary of property agents who promise you the moon and agree with everything you say. It is their job to be objective and to raise any potential concerns at the start. Flash and false promises will catch up with you later and could massively impact on your investment. At zealgroup we encourage our team to foster a direct, professional and honest approach with tenants and owners.
Being a landlord isn’t your only job so you need an agency that is available when you and your tenants need them to be. Running a successful property management company is hard work and requires multiple man hours to handle the various demands. Your tenants need to know that there is somebody there to handle an emergency situation with your property and you need to know that there are sufficient resources to cover your needs.
TIP- If your potential property manager has short office hours, no emergency cover and limited staffing then the chances are they will not be available for you. Find an agency that has the availability to completely manage your investment.
#9 A Good Track Record
A professional and friendly agency is great but let’s get down to business… how many properties does the agency lease each month? What’s the average income for a property similar to yours? The longer your investment sits empty, the more money you are hemorrhaging so this is a very important issue. If your agency is working hard to secure regular property rentals, showing potential tenants to empty properties and advertising new listings then they should be able to prove it to you.
TIP- Don’t be afraid to ask about your agency’s track record and specifically how many properties they rent in the same area as yours. This should give you a good indication of their capabilities. At zealgroup we are completely transparent with landlords because we want you to enter into an agreement with us having mutually realistic expectations.
Is your property management company fully licensed? How about their contractors? If you are entrusting them with your biggest investment then you need to tick this box. All contractors such as electricians and plumbers should be fully licensed because, if they are not, this can leave you liable for fines or even a law suit should the worst occur.
TIP- Always insist on seeing certification, licenses and registration details of your agency and any contractors who may enter your property or conduct any work. It’s your property and you need to make sure it’s protected.
We hope you found our property management checklist helpful. Remember, you deserve a property manager who cares as much about your property as you do!
Zeal recognises property owners deserve better protection for their investment, providing a transparent and accountable service that gives our clients real peace of mind in the knowledge their property is in the hands of experts who truly care.