If you are like most investors, you’ll be doing the smart thing and researching to see who will be the best agent to look after your property. After all, it’s probably one of your largest assets. Nobody buys an investment property hoping to lose money… but you can, if you choose the wrong property manager. Below is a list of important things to consider when making your selection.
Look for a Property Management Specialist – Not a Sales Agency
You wouldn’t ask a dentist to perform open heart surgery on you, would you? A dentist, just like a surgeon, is in the health care industry but their fields of expertise are vastly different. Likewise, an agency that focuses on sales is unlikely to perform a better job with your investment property than a property management specialist.
Sales offices tend to ‘dabble’ in property management. They rely on the regular income to prop up the agency when the sales market stagnates. Usually there’s one, maybe two, highly stressed property managers being paid minimal wages and left unsupervised and unsupported.
At Welcome Home Rentals, we focus all of our energy, attention, training, time and money on managing rental properties. We do one thing and we do it well.
Look for a Boutique Agency – The Biggest is not Necessarily the Best
It can be tempting to choose a large agency – perhaps even a franchise. They have more properties so they have more experience, right? Wrong. Large agencies have usually become large by purchasing the rent roll, sometimes multiple rent rolls. They haven’t had to earn it with hard work and because they haven’t grown slowly, their processes have never adapted to the size. There’s not the same care factor and it can be difficult to speak with one person who knows everything about your property.
Welcome Home Rentals is a boutique agency. We have grown completely organically through hard work, doing what we say we will, holding ourselves to high standards, being honest and loving what we do. Our business is a product of referrals – happy clients tell their friends and those friends become our clients.
The majority of offices are open between 8.30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday with a few who will trade on a Saturday. When are tenants looking for properties? When they aren’t at work! Sure, some people have the luxury of being able to skip out of work for an hour to look at a rental but many people can’t.
On a daily basis we receive calls from tenants who are frustrated by the unwillingness of property managers to show homes outside of regular hours. In fact, some offices will not even make personal appointments and will only hold open houses. This drastically limits the number of potential tenants who will view the properties of their clients and many times it will make it impossible for those who are employed to view your home.
At Welcome Home Rentals we offer appointments between 7.30am and 5.30pm Monday to Friday and Saturdays by appointment. Because of this, we have a higher rate of tenants who are employed and we have shorter vacancy periods.
Long gone are the days of tenants calling into the office to pick up a black and white copy of the rental list. Everything is digital and quality does matter. Tenants don’t have to drive from agent to agent anymore. They can, and do, shop for their ideal home right from their computer or even their mobile phone while shopping for groceries.
The way in which your property is marketed has a massive impact on how quickly your property is rented and the quality of tenant you attract. Prospective tenants will decide for or against your home without even inspecting it in person.
At Welcome Home Rentals, we use a professional photographer and write quality descriptive advertisements. See the difference for yourself now by visiting realestate.com
Zero Tolerance for Arrears. And We Mean ZERO
Why should you have to wait for your money??? Tenants know when their rent is due. So why don’t they pay on time? There is a range of reasons, some quite genuine. I once had a tenant who accidentally paid her power bill twice and the power company took 6 weeks to return the double payment to her.
The habitual late payers are different. These tenants pay late for one reason. Because they can. Because their property manager is not following up.
At Welcome Home Rentals, our tenants attend a 30 minute sign up appointment before they are given the keys where we run through every section of the lease agreement, paying particular attention to our zero tolerance policy for arrears.
We believe your money belongs in your bank and on a regular basis. Rather than conduct monthly, or twice monthly disbursements, we disburse your money to you every second Friday. We have chosen Fridays as this day is less likely to be a public holiday, it is the day most tenants pay their rent and it allows for you to receive the same amount of money each and every fortnight instead of big and small payments depending on the length of the month.
At Welcome Home Rentals, you will receive a minimum of 2 more payments per year than with other agencies.
Proper Inspections vs ‘Pop-Ins’
A routine inspection is your one opportunity every quarter to spot damage, lack of cleaning and any maintenance that may arise in the near future. A common complaint we hear from clients of other agencies is that inspections are done poorly – in some cases, they aren’t carried out at all. I had one particular client who was advised that her property was “Clean and tidy, lawns mowed.” The property manager had clearly forgotten that the client was attending the property for maintenance the following day. When the client arrived, the grass was 2 feet high. An inspection had never been done at all.
At Welcome Home Rentals, we schedule inspections for every 13 weeks. We spend approximately 20 to 30 minutes going through your home. We check for any leaking S-bends, whether showers, ovens, air conditioners, rangehoods and exhaust fans are clean. We test lights and fans and look for any cracked or broken glass. We search for signs of mould and any damage that may be covered up. We lift floor mats to check for stains on carpet and we move pictures to check for holes in walls.
We also use this time to check in with your tenant. Are they happy, do they think they’ll stay. A happy tenant is a good tenant. And that’s what you want – good tenants!
Detailed Entry Inspection Reports
The entry condition inspection, report and photographs is your only hope of being able to prove with absolute certainty what condition your property was in prior to the beginning of the tenancy. Over the years I have taken over a number of properties where the entry report simply marked each item as ‘clean’ and I’ve even experienced some cases where no inspection was carried out at all.
At Welcome Home Rentals we spend between 2 and 3 hours in your home. We note the colours, textures, materials, brands and serial numbers of each and every item. In addition to pages and pages of reporting, we take between 400 and 1,000 photographs. Inside drawers, numerous angles of walls and carpets, behind curtains, garage floors – you name it, we happy-snap it. Whilst the written word can be open to interpretation, a photo cannot lie. As a result of our careful and consistent reporting, rarely do our tenancies end in front of a tribunal. Tenants cannot argue when we have photographic evidence.
Constant Communication and Full Disclosure
Again, a common complaint we hear from property investors is
Nobody returns my calls
I sent an email a week ago and I’ve heard nothing
At Welcome Home Rentals we believe that everything we know, you should know about. We realise you’re busy so our office policy is to include you on all email correspondence with your tenants and we call you regarding all repairs and maintenance.
Our clients enjoy constant feedback and communication.