Whether you’ve just bought an investment property or you’re hoping to spend less time on your existing properties, you might be looking into hiring a property manager.

There are a number of benefits to outsourcing your property management. Of course, after spending hundreds of thousands or more on a property, you’ll want to find someone who you can trust to provide high-quality service.

So what exactly makes a great property manager? Unfortunately, a quick Google search for property managers available in your area won’t always bring up the best options. Fortunately, the goal is relatively clear: You want to find someone who can find tenants and keep tenants around.

1. Communication and responsiveness

You want your property manager to be able to communicate with you quickly and effectively. If repairs or maintenance are needed, they need to be able to inform you immediately and sort out the situation in due time. You’ll also want to make sure that your property manager can inspect your property at least twice a year.

Property managers who look after too many properties might not have enough time to give your investment proper attention. Some property managers can have up to 200 properties on their plate at a time, which can make it difficult to offer the level of high-quality service you expect. While agencies with fewer properties per manager may cost more, you may be able to make more money with a property manager that’s invested in your property.

2. Interaction with prospective tenants

One of the major benefits of hiring a property manager over managing your investment on your own is not having to find tenants, so you want someone who you can trust will give their all into this process. While handing out keys to prospective tenants and letting them inspect the property on their own can seem more efficient, it also comes with disadvantages.

A property manager that can inspect your property alongside prospective tenants will have more opportunity to promote the property. It also gives them the opportunity to know the tenants and screen them more effectively. Finally, having a property manager physically in attendance at viewings will give you a sense of security.

3. Geographic area cover

If you’re a serious investor, you’ll want to consider the geographic area that potential property management services cover. If you intend to own a number of properties across many different suburbs,  consider whether you’ll want a local property manager for each investment or if you’ll want to use an agency that covers a larger geographic area.

In the past, property management in Australia was mostly based on real estate agencies that serviced a certain area. Today, there are more and more specialist agencies that only focus on property management. These companies typically service a larger geographic area and can cover multiple regions.

4. Industry knowledge

A key factor in your search for a property manager should be their level of expertise and industry knowledge. Do your research on shortlisted PMs by looking at reviews and testimonials on different websites and social media.

Do you know other investors in your area who have worked with property managers? This can be particularly useful if they have properties in similar locations to yours. First-hand feedback through word-of-mouth is one of the most trustworthy and reliable ways to determine the quality of property managers.

It’s important that you can trust your property manager. After all, they’ll be responsible for finding the tenant that will be living in your property and for regularly checking the state of your investment. In many cases, your property manager will also be responsible for taking care of rental bonds.

4. Dedicated property management department

Many real estate agencies offer property management services, but not all agencies have a dedicated property management department. If you’re looking into agencies to manage your investment, make sure that they have separate experts in property management.

Consider looking for a specialised property management company over a real estate agency. Since these companies have a niche speciality, there’s a higher chance that they have the experience you need., but make sure you compare them with other options available to you.

Final words

Of course, every investor’s needs will be slightly different. Which factors are most important to you? Typically, the better the property manager, the higher the fees will be. In many cases, the larger expense can be worthwhile and save you a considerable amount of time and hassle.

As an investor, you also get tax benefits for renting out your property. Ensure you keep a record of all your expenses. In most cases, you should be able to claim property management fees as a deduction on your tax return which can justify spending more money on a high-quality property manager.

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James Pointon
Commercial Manager at Open Agent

James Pointon is a Commercial Manager at OpenAgent.com.au, an online agent comparison website helping Australians to sell, buy and own property.