Uno recently helped a landlord where the previous property manager signed up a tenant to the friend of previous tenant without doing any proper checks or seeking consent of the landlord. It turned out the new tenants were cooking P in the property which turned into a disaster. The first response of the previous property manager when they knew this information? They asked: who is your new property manager? We need to transfer the file! The total loss to the landlord was over $200,000!!!!
Aside from those who operate as part of a licensed real estate agency, property managers in New Zealand are largely unregulated. While this promotes a culture of consumer choice, the lack of uniformity in service delivery standards can cause landlords more headache than what a management package is worth. A good property manager is a valuable asset to your portfolio, a bad one is the first step into the nightmare scenario no landlord wants to fathom. Finding a good property manager can be just as hard as securing a good tenant. However we will reveal to you some tips to make this job easier for you.
Tip 1: Cheap fees = Bad Service
Cheap agents mean Property Managers now have to manage more – as all agencies have similar running expenses and salaries to pay, the cheap agent now has a real problem! Their staff must now manage more to make the same profit levels, creating a greater burden for that staff member. Too many properties become very difficult to properly service and because of low fee levels, this cannot be changed. Cheap Agents Means Greater Staff Turnover- as the property manager is now burdened with too many properties, they become stressed and burnt out.
Tip 2: Ask the right questions
Here are some key questions to ask the prospective property manager that you are thinking of hiring:
- Are you a specialised property manager or a real estate agent who also does property management?
- How long have you been a property manager in the area?
- Do you personally invest in the area?
- How many staff do you have and what are their roles? Do you have staff specifically responsible for finding good tenants?
- Are you affiliated with any particular professional body with a code of ethics?
- What resources do you have for managing property over holiday periods?
- How many properties does your business manage, and what percentage is currently vacant?
- What’s the average length of time it takes to fill a vacancy in the area?
- What kind of insurance coverage do you have? Is there any fidelity fund coverage?
- What computer system and software do you use?
- May I see an example of a monthly reporting package?
- Have you appeared in Tenancy Tribunal cases? If so, what happened?
- How many properties do you manage?
- How long will it take you to find me tenants?
- What do you do if the tenants don’t pay their rent?
- How often do you inspect properties?
- Do I get a written report from your inspections?
- What do you do if the tenants aren’t looking after my property?
- When do you pay me the rent?
Tip 3: Look out for High Staff Turnover
Staff turnover is common in the property management industry, an office that has high staff turnover is a good indication that service levels are low and inconsistent. This is usually because they receive no training, support systems or right direction from their real estate principles. Asking how many property managers have been employed in the last year for that agency, or even watching how many times positions are advertised for that agency in property management could be an indication to avoid that agency.
Tip 4: Check them out Online
These simple checks will help you determine the level of professionalism of the property management company that you are thinking of hiring:
- Check out their listings on Trademe, are the photos professional? Are there viewing times set up for all of their properties?
- Are they promoting the property features well to advertise to get the property rented quickly? Is the advertisement written well to attract potential tenants?
- Are their website professional looking and modern?
- Check out their Google reviews and social media reviews and is there anything that raise concerns for you?
I wish you well in your search for the best property manager. If you feel Uno Property Management Specialists is a good choice as a property manager for you, then I would recommend that you try our “Am I Getting Maximum $$ from your rental property” assessment. See you next time!!