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Australians already know about the current low interest rates, which have made home loans a lot more attractive. And because of this low interest rate environment, many people have taken advantage and jumped into the investment property market.

Property investors know they need a good property manager, however they may not necessarily know how to identify one. Finding a great property manager can be very difficult, particularly when you have just purchased an investment property worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is why you need to know exactly what attributes and services you are looking for from your property manager.

Not all property managers will look out for your best interest so knowing the between a mediocre and a good property manager, is the difference when maximising the financial return on your rental property.

Here are a few tips on what to look for when seeking that reputable and trustworthy manager to properly care for your property:

Get referrals from different sources

The first tip for finding a property manager is through word of mouth. By talking to real estate agents and other property owners in your area you may be able to find some great options.
You should get a list of the property managers or property management companies they have used or are currently using. It is important to ask what they have been happy with and what problems they have had.

A referral can be biased. This is why it is important to get referrals from different sources. If you hear the same thing about a property manager or company multiple times, whether it is good or bad, there is a greater chance that it is true.

Find an expert in your type of property

When you’re selling a home, you wouldn’t choose a commercial leasing agent for your residential real estate. The key to getting your property well taken care of is finding an agent who has had a great deal of experience for your type of property.

Apartments, units and townhouses can often be part of a strata scheme or owners corporation. This can make managing them different to regular detached houses, so employing the help of an agent who knows how to manage apartments is crucial.

Find an agent who has people skills

Being a property manager can be a bit of a hard job. After all, they’re there to help wrangle troubling tenants, stay on top of financial matters and deal with late tradies. Although an aptitude to manage all of these issues is great, you’ll want someone who still has impeccable people skills.

Whether it’s communicating with you, smoothing out issues with tenants or even organising repairs, the ability to manage a relationship well is a key feature. After all, a tenant might not come to a property manager with a problem if they fear they won’t pick up the phone!

Find an agent who knows the market

Finally, a good property manager should know their local office’s area intimately. Their knowledge of median rents, rental yields and even where the nearest school is located is something truly valuable. Your property manager is also the person who helps you set your weekly rent. If they know the area well, they’ll advise you on an appropriate amount to charge.

How do you find a property manager that offers a high quality and professional service?

Investors should look for an agent that meets all of the criteria below:

1. The agent should prepare regular rent reviews
2. The agent should offer a tailored strategic marketing campaign
3. The agent should conduct regular inspections of the property
4. The agent should diligent attendance to property repairs
5. The agent should implement proactive maintenance programs and tenant care
6. The agent should have zero tolerance for rent arrears

Other factors to look for when choosing the right property manager:

1. An agency who involves the principal in the day-to-day management of your property.
2. Staff backgrounds and motivations: what’s their experience and role?
3. An average ratio of staff to properties below:

• 100 if mainly houses
• 150 if mainly apartments

4. Policies and procedures in place for:

• arrears
• re-letting
• general inspections
• preventative maintenance programs
• tenants relations
• reporting to you
• service guarantees.

If a property manager does not provide these services, the costs to the landlord could be large. An agents failure to implement a professional and systemised approach to property management could end up with a property owner losing thousands of dollars in lost rent, repairs, increased vacancy periods and reduced capital growth.

Investment properties are supposed to help you make money, not cost money in the long term. Dealing with the right property management agency will save yourself a lot of headaches and money. Give each offer its due care and respect and then decide upon the right company after truly evaluating their services.

For an honest and unbiased opinion or to discuss your requirements with an industry expert, talk to Think and Grow Finance today on 03 8390 5855 or email