Choosing a property manager or estate agent can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve never rented a property before. In order to find the right property manager, you need to ask the right questions.
Paul Stevens, CEO of Just Property says that when your biggest investments are on the line, it's imperative that you fully understand the investment criteria and the commitment you are about to make. A comprehensive step by step guide is necessary to follow before you buy your first house, flat or investment property. Stevens shares some of Just Property’s key questions to ask before appointing an estate agent or property manager.
1. Are you the property manager who’ll be looking after my property? And if not, who will be?
Sometimes, a business development manager will facilitate the initial discussions with you about managing your property. When you meet with them, you want to make sure that you know exactly who will be looking after your property and to arrange to meet with, or learn more about, that person prior to committing to the agency.
According to Paul Stevens, the following questions are key when picking your property manager:
- How many years have you been working in real estate?
- How many years have you been with your current agency?
- How can you demonstrate your knowledge of the current rental market in my area?
2. Is a director/owner of the agency involved in the day-to- day management of the property management department?
Generally the business owner has a sales background and not a rental background, and looks after the sales department leaving the management of their rental department to a property manager. You may find that an agency where the director has an active involvement of the property management department will take the business of property management more seriously.
3. How many years has the property manager been looking after your property been working in real estate?
This relates to the property manager and not the agency. Going to a brand name agency doesn’t mean their service is going to be any better. As Paul Stevens from Just Property points out, “Many people start their career in real estate as receptionists and then move up to the property management department, yet some individuals choose property management as a career and this is the type of person that should be looking after your property.”
4. What happens if my property needs some urgent maintenance?
Many agencies will have a list of preferred contractors that deal with emergency situations at your property and they’ll organise quotes and coordinate required works to a pre- arranged financial limit. Some agencies will also offer the service to pay all property bills on your behalf if required. Make sure to discuss this with your agent to ensure that you are comfortable with the process.
5. What methods would you use to market my property and attract tenants?
The last thing you want is the agent handing out your keys to prospective tenants and allowing them to view your property on their own. Instead, your property manager should be present at the property whenever a prospective client is there. They should have a database of quality tenants looking for a home and/or a clear marketing strategy in order to find quality tenants for you. Ask your agent how many days they are available/planning to show the property to interested tenants and how they intend to advertise your property. A good agent will be available for open-house inspections on the weekends and after standard business hours.
6. How many inspections do you carry out per year? And what is the cost?
Ask what sort of report you will receive and whether there is an additional cost or if it is built into your management fee. If you have any special requests of your tenants, either inside or outside of the house, you need to make sure to include these in the tenancy agreement.
Start by asking these questions:
- How often will you inspect my property during the term of the lease
- Will you provide me with property inspection reports?
7. How can you ensure the best returns from my property? And what else can you do that another property manager can’t?
Property management is not just about collecting the rent: it is a comprehensive management service, which should be provided by a trained property manager. You want to find out what differentiates this property manager from his/her competition and what his/her strengths are. Just Property understands that nothing is more central to your happiness than the spaces in which you live, work and play. By combining their knowledge, talent and passion for property, they aim to become the largest property service organisation in Southern Africa. Just Property is focused on discovering new and unexpected opportunities that open doors for their clients and all prospective home-owners.
22nd April 2016