What to look for in a property manager

By Cam McLellan

A while ago my business partner Al Lewison, told me a story about a friend of his, and that his reason for not investing was a toilet seat.

Sound strange? Absolutely, but when I got in to it, I realised that what Al’s friend was afraid of was not the actual toilet seat, it was that he was going to get constant calls on maintenance and he didn’t want to spend all his spare time fixing things.

That conversation reminded me that there are a multitude of barriers that hold people back from investing. Now I have never, in years and years of owning rental properties been called to go and fix a toilet seat, or anything else to do with my investments because I use great property managers.

So that line of thought brought me to write today about what to look for in a property manager, so that you never have to worry about fixing a toilet seat.

These are the non-negotiables for me when deciding on a property manager:

  • Don’t scrimp on cost – as with most things in life, with property managers you definitely get what you pay for. So don’t just go for the cheapest manager you can find.
  • Excellent regular communication – you should never ever have to chase your property manager for updates. They should be following you up on a weekly basis.
  • A strong knowledge of the local market – there is no point having someone who has no idea about the local area.
  • How quickly they lease properties – have a look at their portfolio and see how quickly they lease properties, ideally you want someone who can lease properties within four weeks.
  • Offers quality advertising – photos do count for a lot when it comes to getting in tenants.
  • Thinks ahead – outlines to you how they will gain maximum exposure for your property, and will advertise for new tenants before old tenants leave so that you don’t miss out on any rent.
  • Finds the right tenants – do they have a strict selection criteria and does that include references for the tenants (either previous residence or employer)? Can they afford to be in the property? Have they ever been in arrears?

If you’re new to investing, or to an area you will need to interview managers in order to find the right one for you. Ask them to go over all of the above points with you and how they would exceed your expectations. If they can’t provide a good depth of knowledge and experience, move on to your next candidate.

Finally, I’m going to leave you with a bit of homework today. Write down any reason that is stopping you investing in property, and then research how you can overcome these barriers – or better yet, ask experienced investors how they overcome them.

Happy investing!

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