Selecting a property manager is a very personal choice. You need to find an agent you like and one you can trust however there are 5 questions you simply must ask when deciding.
- How long have you worked in property management?
The enthusiasm level of those new to the industry can be endearing but choosing a newbie will inevitably cost you more money. Why? Because the property manager is still learning. Legislation can be a minefield and knowing whether to call a sparky or a plumber when a hot water system fails is something that only comes from experience. Businesses will generally advertise for property managers with a minimum of 3 years experience and so should you.
- How many properties do you manage?
This argument pre-dates Adam and Eve and has brought about more arguments than politics. Whatever the magic number, think of it this way. A working week consists of 40 hours or 2400 minutes. A property manager who has a portfolio of 50 properties will be able to spend approximately 48 minutes per week per property. With 100 properties, the time is halved to 24 minutes and at 150 properties, the time dedicated to your property is a mere 16 minutes per week. How much time do you and your property deserve?
- What is your arrears percentage?
In our opinion there is no acceptable rate of arrears. Zero tolerance is the only stance a property manager should have on non-payment. Worse than a high percentage is when a property manager cannot answer the question. You cannot effectively manage what you do not know.
- What areas do you manage?
Ask this for 2 reasons – 1st to ensure that the property manager actually knows the area your property is in. Even a 20 minute distance can make a huge difference in price and you are relying on your agent to guide you in what to list for. The second reason is that you want to make sure your property manager isn’t spread too thin on the ground. If he or she is managing properties with an hour’s travel time in between this is going to affect how often your property is open for inspection when vacant and how often and effectively routine inspections are carried out. Ideally the radius of properties managed shouldn’t be further than 15 minutes drive.
- Why did you choose to be a property manager and do you like it?
Yes a property manager may lie to you but you’ll know in your gut if they genuinely have a desire to provide service and jump out of bed with joy each morning or if they are just tolerating the misery for the money and would rather crawl across broken glass than take one more maintenance request. It’s a known fact that people excel at what they enjoy. Find an agent who is passionate – they’ll be driven to keep going even in the face of adversity.