Property Manager Checklist – How to ensure your PM is doing right by you!

There are many property management groups out there and when it comes to your property, you want to make sure you are getting the best possible outcomes. But how do you do that? How do you know if the people you are trusting are doing the right thing? This is something that many landlords go through all of the time and it can be quite stressful. It is for this reason that we have put together this checklist to make sure that your property management team has your back!

Quality control

One of the things that landlords get trapped by all of the time is the price. When looking around for a property management team, it is always tempting to go for the cheaper option. Now this may not always be a bad thing but it is important to know that cheaper doesn’t always mean better for you.

There are many reason that some property management teams can offer lower fees however the most prominent is that they have less expenses. Now this may sound like a good thing for you but when comparing it is important to get all of the details. How large is their team? How many properties do they look after? The reason that you should ask these questions when coming across a price that is ‘too good to be true’ is because it just might be. According to Paycor, Human resources consultants, the cost of staff, can account for as much as 70% of total business costs which means that these low fees may mean that they don’t have the resources to look after their portfolio. Or it could mean that their staff are stretched too thin? Both of which equate to you not getting the quality results you deserve for your property.

Don’t settle for the ‘minimum requirements’

When managing a property, there are certain minimum requirements that are in place to ensure that your property is being looked after. Do not settle for them! If your property management team is doing the bare minimum for you then you need to look elsewhere. Routine inspections for example, are a fantastic way to make sure that the tenants are looking after your place and a great way to keep tabs on the condition of the property. However, under the Residential Tenancy Authorities legislation, routine inspections are not required and are seen as an ‘additional service’. This is something that some property management companies won’t include in those cheaper prices you have your eye on and it may even seem like you are saving money. But for every dollar you pocket on a management company that doesn’t do routine inspections, you are almost certainly going to have to hand back over when those quick fixes are left unnoticed and get out of control.

There are also things that are legally required that some property management companies simply don’t do. From things as simple as making sure that all window cords are secured to the wall, to ensuring that all smoke alarms are working and professionally checked periodically; there are requirements put in place that are integral to the safety of the tenants and landlords that some property management companies seem to skip. Whether that be due to workload or lack of knowledge, there is NO excuse for a property management company to not do their job and they are not the people you want looking after your property.

Keeping the ship sailing

A major part of property management is staying on top of issues and being proactive with potential concerns. It takes a certain level of skill to notice potentially major issues before they eventuate and this is something that most property managers boast that they do but many are just empty words. When it comes to the maintenance and upkeep of your property, being proactive is essential as a reactive property manager is going to cost you. For example, a pipe in your apartment is showing signs of a potential rupture. A proactive property manager will inform you of the damage and advise you that is needs to be fixed and organise quotes for you. But a reactive property manager may not say anything and may not even notice and now that simple fix of replacing a pipe is now thousands of dollars of water damage. This is just one example of how proactive property management is going to save you money and is a perfect example of why you need to make sure your property manager is looking after you.

Another pitfall that many reactive property managers fall into is fixing the same issue over and over. Fixing the same thing over and over just to have to fix it again down the track is a classic way that reactive property manager will waste your money. Now wasting your money is rarely a property manager’s intention; however when they are stuck in this ‘quick fix’ mentality instead of thinking more long term, that is when issues become reoccurring. If there is something in your property that you feel is always being replaced and ‘fixed’ then this is probably a sign that your property manager is thinking reactively instead of proactively and you may need to start thinking of alternative property management.

Let’s talk Money

At the end of the day, your investment property is just that, an investment, and you are looking to get the most return from it. If you are constantly out of pocket due to rent being then you need to find a new property manager. Life happens and sometimes a slightly late rental payment is unavoidable, but at the end of the day if your property manager is not keeping on top of your rent and they can’t at least account for the late payment then they aren’t doing their job. Regardless of the reason, if a payment is late, it should be your property manager’s number one priority to get that money for you as soon as possible. There is no excuse to not get paid and it is unacceptable for a property manager to not at least know why.

We should talk more!

Communication between you and your property manager is something that is essential to the long term success of your property. If you aren’t hearing from you property manager then that should send up red flags that they aren’t looking after your property. This being said there is a balance that is required when talking communication.  Too much communication and you feel harassed and too little and you begin to questions whether your property is being looked after at all. It is this reason that a good property manager will make sure that you are kept in the loop without bombarding you with unimportant information. For example: A good property manager will send monthly updates on what is going on. They will let you know the outcomes of things such as routine inspections and maintenance work. They will be there for you whenever you need and they will NOT avoid you or dodge calls/texts.

Ultimately, you are trusting your property manager to look after your investment and that is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are so many property management companies out there and all of them will promise you the world, the important thing is to determine who is going to deliver on that promise. Do your homework, don’t be afraid to ask question and use this checklist to make sure that the people you trust with your investment, are on your side. Because at the end of the day if you can’t trust your property manager 100%, then they you need to make the switch today!