8 Key Qualities Of A Great Property Manager
With over 2 million property investors in Australia, and more people investing in property every year, there is an increased demand for top industry professionals to handle the day to day management of these properties.
Property managers are no longer simple rent collectors, today’s high performing managers are well trained and highly skilled individuals who play an integral role in the success of an investment.
But where do you start? How can you find a high performing manager? What qualities should you look for? Outlined below are 8 qualities that define a high performing property manager, which we hope will help you find the right one.
1. Have excellent communication skills
Communication is key to any great relationship and the landlord/property manager one is no different. The very nature of their role means they are the first point of contact for both tenants and landlords. As a result, they need to be able to deal with day to day issues as they arise in a clear and concise way. They need to be able to remove emotion from what is being communicated and to find the core issue or solution.
The quality and speed of communication, along with how quickly tenants’ issues are addressed impacts the tenant’s level of satisfaction and this directly affects you as the landlord. If you have great tenants, who look after your property and pay the rent on time, you’ll undoubtedly want to keep them. Finding a manager who is responsive, addresses their concerns and communicates with them effectively and efficiently is a valuable quality for tenant retention and therefore your cash flow.
A good property manager will also keep their landlord updated about anything to do with the rental property, such as rental payments, maintenance issues or if the tenant has given notice to vacate. Having strong internal systems in place to facilitate this communication is valuable.
2. Be highly efficient and organised
A good property manager can have multiple properties under their management so finding one that knows how to manage their time and priorities to ensure that all of their landlords and tenants are looked after is important.
The nature of the role is extremely detailed and requires a high level of organisation. A top performing property manager will seamlessly be able to coordinate several projects at the same time and will always pay close attention to details that protect both landlords and tenants. They will also have systems and processes in place to ensure the management runs seamlessly even when they are away.
3. Be trained and educated with a focus on continual education
High performing property managers know that to stay at the top of their game they need to continue to learn about the industry, the market and broader investment trends, along with staying across the ever-changing Landlord / Tenant Legislation.
Being able to cite current regulations to a tenant or provide advance notice of a rule change to a client is an important quality in a property manager and can help protect the landlord from costly penalties related to non-compliance.
4. Have in-depth knowledge about the local rental market
Every neighbourhood is different, in fact every street within every neighbourhood is different. So, when choosing a property manager, finding one who understands the idiosyncrasies of your local market is key.
Look for one who knows:
- What is rent in the area
- How much demand there is from tenants
- How to reach them effectively through an advertising campaign or via their database
- What qualities of a property renters are prepared to pay more for
Having insights into the local market ensures you are charging the right rent for your property and are positioning it to appeal to the greatest number of suitable tenants. Plus, having insight into what local renters are prepared to pay more for, can help steer property improvement plans that in turn may enable you to increase your rent and improve your rental return.
5. Be experienced or part of a highly experienced property management team
As the investor you are entrusting a very valuable asset to your property manager, so ensuring they, or the team that surrounds them, know what they are doing and have done so successfully in the past is critical.
When evaluating a property manager consider their experience in:
- Handling properties similar to yours
- Dealing with problem tenants and the day to day issues they resolved
- How they have found tenants in a tough rental market.
Keep in mind experience extends beyond the individual. We have seen time and time again; property managers join the industry and excel immediately without having had years of experience. Why? Because they are part of an experienced property management team and are able to leverage and access the knowledge and experience that surrounds them. So, don’t discount an enthusiastic new property manager because they lack the day to day experience, if they possess the other qualities we have listed in this article and are part of an experienced and proven team, they may be the perfect fit for you and your property.
6. Have an investor mindset with a focus on helping their landlords maximise their investment success
Whilst your property manager doesn’t need to be a property investment expert, having an investor mindset is important. They should have a basic understanding of the difference between negative and positive gearing, and the impact of maximising the landlords rental yield. They should be conscious of ensuring the property is as tax effective as possible and be able to share ideas as to where and how you could potentially add value to the property.
The rental return on your property is an important way to measure the health of your investment. A good property manager understands the impact this has on your financial goals and will work to keep vacancy rates as low as possible. They will actively recommend maintenance on areas before they become a costly issue and will monitor the local market to ensure the rent is at market price.
Of course, your accountant and financial advisor are your ‘go to’ people for investment advice, but having a property manager who understands the concepts of a successful investment is valuable.
7. Have strong references from both landlords and renters
Being endorsed by both landlords and renters is a good indicator of the quality of the property manager. All good property managers should have no issue in being able to provide written testimonials from both landlords and investors. Check their Google reviews and ask them about their customer experience systems.
Ensuring both parties are happy with the manager is a good measure of service.
8. Have a strong ability to negotiate and be stern when required
Not all property managements run smoothly. Sometimes, we find there are issues with tenants. They may not look after the property as stipulated in the contract, or perhaps they don’t pay their rent on time. Having a manager who has the ability to show assertiveness and strength when needed to address problems with the tenant, is important to the landlord.
One of the key benefits of using a property manager is the landlord is removed from having to deal with the tenant’s day to day issues. So, finding one who can assertively chase rental arrears, address property care issues or even remove a tenant is a quality you want in your property manager.
Questions to ask a property manager
Now you know the qualities to look for, here are a series of questions to ask your shortlisted property managers to help you find the right one to join your investment team.
- Who will be my primary point of contact and how long have they been with the company / Industry?
- Other than your letting fee and management fee, what other fees should I be aware of?
- What is your policy on rental arrears?
- How many similar properties do you manage in the area?
- Are all your tradespeople licenced?
- What training does your company hold?
- How often do you inspect property’s and what reports do you send your clients?
- What online tools do you use, can I get real time reporting?
- How do you screen tenants?
- What’s your average days on market?
- What’s your vacancy rate?
- What’s your list price to lease price ratio?
- What is your team structure?
- Can you please provide me with recent references from past landlords and tenants?
- Can you show me your customer experience system and ratings?
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