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Property Investment - Finding The Right Property Manager

Jan 28, 2008
Many property investors will choose to manage their own properties, especially if they live within a short distance. However, for many investors it just may not be feasible to take on the management of their properties if they are spread out between different states and countries. In these cases they may appoint a property manager to take care of the affairs concerning the rental and management of the properties in return for a monthly fee.

The benefits of appointing a property manager can easily outweigh the reasons not to do so. A good manager will always communicate effectively with the owner under all circumstances and the tasks they perform

The tasks and duties of a property manager are wide ranging and will vary depending on the requirements of the property owner. Here is a list of the some of them:

Advertise for and screen (credit checks, contact referees) potential tenants

Collect initial bond/security payment

Collect monthly rents

Arrange any necessary repairs

Periodic property inspections and inventories

Pay workmen, gardeners, council rates and other bills out of incoming rent

Make regular rental payments to the landlord

Contact landlord upon tenants giving notice to vacate property

Liaise with landlord to arrange for repairs over a certain value

Issue relevant notices and letters to tenants

Provide rent and expense statements to landlord

This is just a sample of the duties carried out by a property manager. Ultimately a good property manager is not the one that charges the lowest fees. Most managers in the location where your property is situated will charge similar fees however their ability to manage the property according to your requirements will differ and so it's necessary to carry out a strict screening process.

The best way to screen a number of property managers is to ask them a series of pre-defined questions. Some owners prefer to do this in a face to face interview; others are content with perhaps a phone call and emails.

So what questions would you need to ask? There are a few different aspects of property management that need to be looked at and so I've categorised some possible questions accordingly.

Fees and Service
What monthly fees do you charge?
How many properties do you manage?
Do you charge letting fees?
How often do you carry out inspections?

Relationship
How often are payments to landlords made?
Under what circumstances do you contact a landlord?

Tenants
How do you find and screen prospective tenants?
How often do you collect rent?
What is the typical notice period?
How do you deal with non-payment of rent?

Maintenance
What action is taken if a tenant was to damage the property?
How do you manage minor and major repairs?
How long have you been dealing with your preferred tradespeople?

These are only sample questions and will differ according to your situation however they do provide an outline of what you may need to ask.

At the end of the day, don't settle for less than what you expect from a property manager. After all, this is your investment, purchased with your well-earned money, which you are putting in their hands. Do whatever you need to ensure it is in the hands of someone you consider capable and trustworthy.
About the Author
Tim Wright is a property investor and 'Green' renovator. For more information check out Greenscape Homes
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