Why hire a property manager? Can you do a better job?
Property management is more about having the skills to manage relationships. A successful tenancy balances trust, respect and mutually beneficial outcomes with legislative compliance to avoid tribunal. The results are entirely dependent on the individuals in the agreement. If they cannot find a middle ground, then often a property manager is the bridge between two mountains.
Securing a tenant
Access to databases
When it comes to finding the right tenant, agents have access to the most up to date databases that automatically inform tenants about new properties coming online. This can help separate your property from the “blind scrolling” that occurs in highly populated areas.
Inspections & Application Checking
Being easily available to show people through is key to leasing out your property quickly. When choosing between two good applications, always consider the full story. Are they likely to want to move again or are they likely to stay longer? It is so important to speak with current agents managing properties as they can tell you how clean and tidy the tenant is, if they pay their rental on time and importantly, do they recommend them as a tenant. When there are no current agent references i.e. first time renters, look at the tenant’s ability to meet their rental payments and how stable is their income.
Condition Reports and Legal Documentation
A lease agreement must be in writing and signed to be enforceable. It should include the agreed terms, entry condition report and photos detailing the condition of the property prior to the tenancy. The accuracy of these details cannot be understated, as it is the landlord’s evidence of the original condition if you are required to present your case at VCAT (Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal)
In a market where there are less tenants than vacant properties, negotiation is a skilled game of keeping your cool and not feeling the emotional sting of a low-ball offer. Remember, rent is not the only tool for negotiation – there are lease start dates, lease terms, utilities and parking.
Knowing your property inside out is an advantage, but what if something unexpected happens? Do you know who pays for a window that “accidentally” gets broken or blocked plumbing when there is no apparent cause? Sometimes repairs can be covered by landlord insurance, so it is important to review your policy each year to ensure cover for all kinds of accidents. Most insurance companies have their own processes for managing repairs, but are often happy to take reasonable quotes if they can be completed quickly. You must also determine if the tenant can reasonably stay in the property while repairs take place. If they cannot access basic cooking and bathing facilities, they would likely need to be relocated.
In urgent matters, simple troubleshooting is vital in managing what could be expensive repairs. One Christmas eve, I talked a tenant through some troubleshooting steps to discover the problem with the hot water service – it was actually the broken power point. Setting up an extension cord got them through the public holidays, which saved the landlord hundreds of dollars in unnecessary plumbing callout costs. Problem solved!