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30 questions to ask before you hire your next property manager

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

One of the most important thing you can do for your portfolio is to appoint the best property manager to look after it.  The right property manager not only help you maintain your cash return but also plays a pivotal part in growing the overall value of your portfolio.  

Related: Vesna Wells - Investing in a property manager

Finding the right person who is going to look after your property the way you would yourself can be a daunting task for first-time landlords.  

Related: How to interview for your next property manager?

To help you get started here is a list of 30 questions you should consider asking a property manger before signing the service contract: 

Property management firm

1. What is your standard service rate?  What does this fee include?  What are the non-standard charges and in what instances would they apply?  Would there be any fees charged to me even when the property is vacant?  

2. What is your property management speciality (i.e. geographic location, types of tenancy etc)?

3. What is your in-house service compliant process? 

4. What are your landlord-customer and tenancy churn rates? 

5. What is your standard tenancy term? 

6. Who will actually be looking after my property?  Is there a specific property manager or a team of rostered managers? 

7. What systems do you have in place to support your service delivery (e.g. cloud accounting software, rental management software etc)? 

8. What is the manager:tenancy ratio your firm maintains? 

9. How do you terminate a standard service contract? 

10. May I have a copy of your standard tenancy application form and tenancy agreement? 

11. Do you operate a trust account?

Property manager

12. What are your (management/property) qualifications and experience?

13. Are you a residential landlord yourself? 

14. If you are sick or away on holiday, who looks after my property?

15. What do you expect from me as the owner? 

16. Do you purely manage rental properties or do you sell houses too?

 

Management practice

 

17. Who signs the tenancy agreement (both parties clarified)? 

18. How often would you communicate with/report to me? Can I see a copy of an example monthly report I am to expect to receive? 

19. What are your personal rent arrears and rent collection rates? 

20. How many times have you attended the Tenancy Tribunal and what has your success rate been? 

21. How do you respond to repair and maintenance calls?  Do you troubleshoot with your tenant over the phone first or do you arrange for tradespeople in the first instance? 

22. How often do you inspect the property?  How would you document your inspections and report back to me?

23. How soon would I find out whether there is something wrong with the tenancy such as rent arrears, damages and abandonment? 

24. How often do you review rent and how often do you raise rent? 

25. How often will I be paid? 

26. Do you regularly make suggestions and recommendations to help me increase my rental return?  

27. How do you background and reference check potential tenants?  What informs your decision whether to grant a tenancy to a particular applicant over the other? Would I get a final say as to who rents the property? 

28. How many termination have you applied for and handled? 

29. In an emergency would you still seek my permission to carry out necessary repairs? 

30. What are your bond policies?  How much bond do you collect at the start of the tenancy?  Do you regularly top up your bond with each rent increase? 

It is important to note that this list is by no means exhaustive nor definitive.  The questions serve as pointers for you to start thinking about what is important to you as a landlord and therefore there could be no right or wrong answers.  At the end of the day make sure you interview your property manager thorough, get to know them, get to know their business practices and trust your gut instinct.  Before you sign the service agreement make sure you read all the fine prints and are 100% comfortable with what you are signing.  

Have we missed anything?  Add your questions below in the comment section!

 

 

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