8 tips for choosing a property manager

A property manager with local knowledge is hard to beat when selecting who should look after your rental. The best ones will maximise your return on investment and minimise the stress of tenant issues.

They will know price trends, have a list of potential tenants and use trusted tradespeople and service providers who’ll keep your investment in tip-top shape.

While you decide on the best tenant application, a good property manager will offer their experience and processes to help your selection.

For a single-digit commission, their experience with tenants and handling the day-to-day issues can be invaluable. Here are eight guidelines for finding a great property manager.

  1. Look to local operators – A property manager must be a licensed real estate agent. They should know the local market conditions and ensure you charge the highest rent the market will tolerate. Ask upfront about their commission levels. 
  2. Shortlist three – Ask each candidate how many properties are under their management, the size of their support team and how long staff have been with the agency. 
  3. Communication is critical – A property manager should satisfy you that they will respond quickly to issues. Failure to maintain a house or apartment can lead to more significant bills down the track. As a small team usually supports a property manager, ask who will take responsibility for your account. 
  4. Dig deeper – Ask questions that will reveal their knowledge, such as how they calculate rents, their marketing approach to attract tenants and the selection process. See if they offer a service level agreement. 
  5. Experience counts – Be confident your property manager knows how to select a quality tenant – the most critical skill. Ask how they identify applicants who might be untrustworthy, have a poor record of paying rent or have a judgment against them for damaging property.  
  6. Tough stuff – Problem resolution skills are critical in your property manager. Please find out how they deal with late or non-payment of rent and their approach to disputes. Uncover the costs for repairs and maintenance. Be clear how you want to be consulted on repairs – do you want to be consulted for every repair, or are you okay setting a limit under which they can use their judgment. Also, ask how regularly they will inspect the property and report to you. 
  7. Still unsure? – Seek references from other landlords and ask each candidate for their client retention rates.
  8. Don’t nickel and dime – You pay for what you get in property management. Expect to pay in the vicinity of 5 -10% of the rental income, depending on your state. Fees are tax-deductible.

This article is provided for general information only and does not take into account the reader’s specific needs, objectives, or circumstances. Before acting on any information, you should consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances, conduct your research and seek professional advice.