The last five years has seen an emergence of technology in property management that has totally transformed the landscape of how this area of real estate operates.
The advantage of technology
In the olden days (cough, when I started) we had very little access to the depth of data around property values, yield and asset growth trajectories, or historical transactions that we have now.
This meant you had to manually track what was happening in your local marketplace to be able to say with any certainty what you thought a property’s weekly rental was, or if it was a worthwhile investment.
Now, with a click of a few buttons we have valuable data in real time that gives us all we need to know, like, how much properties have traded for, how many days they were on market, and if they had a price adjustment. We have property images and can pinpoint the location, and local area amenities and aspects that can play a part in discerning a rental value.
Long term relationship
Unlike a sales transaction a property manager is a long term relationship. Let’s be honest, if you are going to get into a long term relationship with anyone you better make sure you value this person’s opinion, trust them with one of your biggest assets and have confidence that this person is not going to leave you with a moment’s notice, possibly leaving you with an inferior replacement.
What is important to choosing the best property manager
When looking for a property manager, hyperlocal should not even be in your top six prerequisites for choosing a partner. Aspects you should be considering are:
- What is their process if a property is not leasing in the first two weeks?
- How do they manage rental arrears?
- How thorough are their inspections and what is their reporting like (ask for examples)?
- How do they vet their tradespeople and how do they confirm the quality of their work?
- How do they maximise your asset (you want to know that they see your investment property as vehicle to make you money not a property that they collect rent on and fix leaking taps)?
- What software do they use to manage their portfolio (ask them to highlight the benefits to you)?
By asking for examples of how they would resolve an issue you can ascertain the property managers depth of knowledge of what steps are taken to resolve issues proactively. If you are talking to a BDM and not the property manager then ask to speak to the person who will be actively managing your property.
There are advantages to having a property manager that is local. If they are around the corner from the property then they potentially be at the property at a moments notice.
The reality is most property managers are so busy they simply don’t have time to just pop into a property and if there is a maintenance issue they should send their tradesperson to resolve it.
Cloud-based technology and the mobile property manager
The cloud-based platforms that are available now mean that good property managers are totally mobile, they have 24/7 access to all of the records and historical data of every property in the palm of their hand. Tenant and investor portals mean that information can seamlessly be shared and commented on. I’ll give you an example.
A tenant notices in the morning that there has been a split in the water pipe under the sink and water is leaking in the cupboard and onto the floor. The tenant takes a few photos and sends them to the property manager via their maintenance app, who then includes the local plumber and investor into the conversation. The plumber assesses the situation provides a quote to come and fix it; the investor approves the quote. The plumber goes out to do the job and when finished, sends through photos and an invoice. The tenant confirms the job is complete to their satisfaction and the plumber is paid.
The property manager then gets a notification on their next inspection at the property to review the work done.
This example is simplistic one but it’s a real life example from one of our tenants and how it was handled. Of course there are issues that are more complex but they are the exception, not the day-to-day issues that we handle.
So, if you want to find the right person to manage your asset focus on expertise, process and service delivery. If they are local then great, but do not dismiss a proficient property manager just because they don’t have an office in the same suburb as your property. All this does is dramatically reduce your pool of potential long-term partners – nobody wants that.