7 Tips on Choosing a Property Manager

There are many rental management companies available in New Zealand, but not all property management companies are created equal. Finding a good property management company is critical. The right management company can make your life as a property owner bliss - the wrong one, a nightmare. This isn't an area that you want to choose to skimp on costs.

1.   The first step is to find a property manager that is very familiar with the local market. This ensures that your property manager will be able to attract tenants because they know what tenants in the area are looking for.

2.   When they are marketing your property for rent, they will know what features to advertise to get the property rented quickly. Property managers who know the area can make recommendations to the property owner that you can trust and act upon with confidence. This is a win/win situation for the property manager, the tenants and you, the owner.

3.   It is also important to find a property management company that successfully manage the property through specialist organizational software systems like Realbases' Palace. When the company uses an efficient property management system, you can be assured that rents, inspections, maintenance and repairs are duly recorded.

4.   The financial management of your residential investment is an important aspect in your rental income so you need to ensure that the company has well trained staff in accounting principles so the financial side of your property is handled with complete accuracy and integrity.

5.   Finding a good property manager isn't easy when you don't live in the area. The best way to get names of companies is by looking at properties for rent in the area and see who is letting them, however a good property manager will not have properties advertised for long, so the more properties a property manager has for rent may indicate a high vacancy rate. Check out their websites as that is their silent salesperson.

6.   Meet the property manager in person if possible, or at least over the phone, (you can even meet them through Skype). You want to determine if the property manager has good customer service skills that will meet your expectations and has plenty of time for you, If you feel rushed by them maybe they are too busy to take on your property. How many properties do they manage? Too many can mean there is little time in the day for all the clients and this is when property managers stop being efficient and start cutting corners. A part time property manager should manage up to 50 properties and a full time property manager around 100 properties. Some property managers may manage more and have an assistant to help them with paperwork but they should still be letting properties themselves, checking on rental payments and carrying out inspections.

7.   When you are interviewing your property manager don't be afraid to ask for previous management experience and references from owners of other properties they manage. This company will be in charge of your entire property investment, and you want to make sure they are equipped to handle the responsibility well.

Questions to ask your Property Manager at their Interview (Remember it is an interview, they want to work for you and you will be paying them a weekly wage)

How long have you been a Property Manager?
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?
What do you do if the tenants aren't looking after my property?
When do you pay me the rent?

Once you have interviewed your selection of property managers, you will need to choose one.

Don't give your property to several managers and tell them the one that gets the tenant's first gets the management. They will just pick the first tenants that walk through the door and convince you to take them just to get the management. This is not what you want, you want your property manager to choose your tenants carefully, so that the rent is paid on time and your property is looked after. You might get your property rented 1 week quicker but if the tenant's don't pay their rent or trash the property it will cost you more in the long run.

Don't give your property to the agent that gives you an unrealistic high price, this is how agents "buy" a listing, give you false hope of high rent then over the next few weeks ask for rent reduction after rent reduction, this is false economy as every week your property is vacant its costing you money as there is no rent coming in.  Pick the agent who can provide you with documented evidence of how they have appraised your property and why they have set the rent they have suggested.

Do give you property to the manager that you felt a connection with, the one that listened to your needs and understood you, the one that took the time to appraise the property correctly and give you informed and accurate information.

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