Here are few questions you might like to consider discussing with your property manager.
1. Do they know the local area?
They should have a full understanding of the tenants and rental market in the local neighbourhood.
2. What office support network does your property manager have?
Ensure that there is adequate support staff to properly look after your property, do they offer finance, leasing, property management, marketing and new business departments.
3. What action is taken should a tenant be behind in rent?
Each real estate firm should check the rent arrears daily and identify any tenants behind in payment of rent. Should a tenant fail to pay rent then after 14 days the property manager will issue a notice to vacate on the tenant. If the tenant still fails to pay the rent then the agent will take the tenant to the states relevant tribunal and an order will be issued granting possession of the property. Tenants must pay a bond (when initially signing their lease) which is used to recover the debt. An owner may choose to organise landlord protection insurance which will assist with recovering any outstanding costs. The above guidelines may vary between each Australian state.
4. How does your property manager communicate with their landlords? How regularly?
Your property manager should be in regular contact with you during the management of your property. They should have online access to all your property details. They should communicate with you regarding monthly rental statements, routine inspection reports, open for inspection reports, market updates plus any maintenance requests, rental reviews, lease renewals and property vacates by your tenant. You should expect a response to any email within 1 business day and a return phone call within 3 business hours of the agent being in the office.
5. What techniques are used to market my property and attract the best tenants?
This is a critical question to ask. As you wish to ensure your property is presented appropriately. The property manager should ensure your property photographed correctly, offers a description of the property that is accurate and enticing. A suitable marketing campaign established including advertising on the right internet portals to ensure maximum exposure. Care for your property with presentation and offering of open for inspections to prospective tenants.
6. How do you screen tenants?
Each tenant should complete a detailed application form which takes into account their current and previous rental history, current and previous employment history and character references. Each tenant should be interviewed prior to acceptable of lease application. Each tenant should inspect the property before being accepted on a property.
7. How many inspections per year are conducted and at what cost?
You should have at least 1 inspection a year with a report issued to the landlord. This report should have photos of the property and recommendations of works you need to budget for in the future. Please be aware some agents charge for completing inspections and others incorporate it in the regular management fee.
8. Are the fees all inclusive?
Most agents will charge a letting fee which is a once off fee with each new tenancy AND an ongoing management fee. Some agents charge to attend tribunals, make insurance claims, complete inspections, and provide reports. Ensure that you have a single fee that is all inclusive and aware of costs upfront for the management of your property.
9. How can you make sure I receive the best results from my property and what would you offer your competitors don’t?
Find out what point of difference each agent offers. For example do they have a dedicated leasing team, operate 7 days a week, excellent knowledge of the local market, provide an online landlord portal for accessing your property information at any time and have strong market share.