A property manager’s role includes collecting rent, of course, but they also manage your relationship with the person who lives in your property, so it is important to find a property manager who will do the best job of keeping the tenants happy and will get you involved only when you want to be.
Property managers market the premises, select tenants and organise the lease. They coordinate the payment of rent and call tradespeople to make repairs when necessary.
However, further to these duties, there are subtle elements of property management that often go unnoticed by the average landlord, which could be referred to as ‘tenant management’ or ‘relationship management’. Good relationships, clear communication and even better service go a long way towards keeping tenants in a property to minimise rent-free periods, and towards making it easy for an investor to own a property without having to think about it often.
“There’s a balance between what the legislation says, what the client wants and what the tenant wants. And it is our job to strike that balance, essentially,” explains REINSW Property Management Committee Member Lisa Indge.
“It is very much a people focused service, and I would suggest that the most important thing in property management is people skills. It is our priority to take care of the client first. But it also important to understand that having a broken relationship with the tenant is not in the owner’s best interests,” Indge adds.
“We are mediators, what we are doing is softening things from one side to the other to try to come out with a reasonable outcome for both parties.”
And this ‘from one side to the other’ doesn’t just mean that a property manager should provide good service to the tenant. They should also be able to tailor their service for the different needs of individual landlords and properties.
“There are different types of investments, but also different types of investors,” says Indge. So, while some landlords live interstate or overseas, others live around the corner from their asset. Some have no connection to the premises, while others once considered the property their home and are very attached to decision making.
Investors should make it clear from the outset just which camp they fall into, and find a property manager who is happy to involve them to the desired degree in decisions and maintenance. “It is important to have that communication with the client and an understanding of where they are coming from,” Indge explains.
Even though I’m a mortgage broker, I cannot highlight enough the importance of having a good property manager. This is from personal experience.