One of the primary decisions to make when you’re ready to get tenants into your rental property is whether or not to use a real estate agent (also known as a property manager or rental agent).
A property manager can cost approximately 7-10% of your total rental income each week, which is a factor that causes some people to question this option. However, the services that a good property manager provides can be worth far more than this fee. Renting a property requires a lot of work and a high level of commitment, which many property owners don’t have the time or the inclination to put in. A good property manager will handle all the headaches and downsides of renting for you, making life potentially much easier.
Finding the best real estate agent for rentals doesn’t need to be a time consuming process. You can compare property management fees and other information such as rental history and independent landlord reviews, side-by-side, by clicking the link below.
When it comes to finding the best agent for your rental property, you’ll want to make sure that you find someone who will work hard to protect your investment. Compare agent qualifications, and make sure you find someone who specialises in property management.
Why should I get a real estate agent to manage my property?
1. They’ll find suitable tenants for your property
When you are first thinking about renting out your property, you may not have a full picture of the amount of work that can go into this. A real estate agent can help you find suitable renters to help you avoid periods of vacancy and income loss. They will be able to employ all the necessary marketing methods to ensure that your property is highly visible to potential tenants. The agent can then show the home to prospective tenants with open inspections that showcase the property in the best possible light.
In addition to showing your property to prospective tenants, real estate agents can be involved with the professional screening of these tenants to make sure you choose reliable ones and have access to tenancy databases. They make regular inspections, to ensure that the tenants are keeping your property in proper working order. One of the major roles of a good property manager is acting as the liaison between the landlord and the tenant. If any calls need to be made for repairs or if the tenant has any complaints, these can be handled by the property manager to make your life easier. They help make sure that both parties are able to relate appropriately to one another, clearing up misunderstandings and resolving issues.
Consider taking out landlord insurance to protect your investment and help shoulder unexpected costs.
2. To deal with any issues, and facilitate mediation if need be
One of the first reasons to consider hiring a real estate agent that specialises in property management is that they help provide a buffer between you and your tenant. If there are any problems with late payments or damaged property, the agent deals with these issues so that you can avoid any unpleasant confrontations.
Today’s top property managers are fully licensed real estate agents. They know all the ins and outs of your state’s laws that relate to rental properties, and can advise you about your landlord rights. A good real estate agent does far more than just rent your home and collect your money for you. They also facilitate mediation in the event of late payments (providing a debt-collection service if necessary), organise emergency repairs, organise maintenance and even handle the payment of various bills. The property manager helps provide a complete management service, to help you avoid wasting your own time and money.
Some of the duties that you can expect from a good property manager include:
- Advertising and marketing your property
- Sourcing and screening potential tenants
- Managing your financial accounts
- Completing inspections on a consistent basis
- Organising and sourcing tradespeople for repairs and maintenance
If you prefer to take care of some of these tasks yourself, you can write this into your contract. A property manager will give you as much or as little involvement with the daily management of your rental property as you like. They are specialists at multi-tasking and are highly qualified to prioritise and perform any or all of these duties. You can expect your real estate agent to help you with matters of communication, negotiation and conflict resolution.
3. They’ll look after all rental paperwork
There’s a remarkable amount of paperwork that can be involved with managing a rental property including property rules and regulations, lease agreements and contracts for repairs and maintenance, and more. Real estate agents are able to keep these files well organised, ensuring that nothing slips through the cracks. Experienced property managers will also keep tabs on the latest zoning regulations, federal and state laws, property values, and landlord rights. They will watch rental prices for your region closely, staying up-to-date on the current market conditions in order to best advise you when it comes to your investment. With this attention to detail, they will help you decide if it’s time to raise the rent or make key repairs.
4. A good rental agent is proactive and trustworthy
To excel at all of these tasks, a good property manager will be proactive and trustworthy. They will be willing to go the extra mile to ensure that both the tenant and the landlord are satisfied with their rental situation. Property managers will check in using various means, including phone interviews, regular inspections, and surveys. They are usually sociable, friendly, and cooperative people. This helps them diffuse tense situations and handle uncomfortable situations with ease. They will be the go-to person for both parties, resolving conflict positively.
There are many benefits in choosing a local real estate agent with a strong working knowledge of your area. With knowledge of the local market, your agent will be able to inform potential tenants of all of the relevant information they need regarding the house and the surrounding neighbourhood.
There is a great deal of work that goes into managing a rental property. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to deal with repairs, problem tenants and marketing a vacant property, you’ll probably want to hire a property manager. The percentage of your rental income that pays for a property manager will pay off because you can sit back and relax. The alternative is to risk lost income if your property sits vacant or if you have trouble with your tenants.
Questions to ask before you sign on a rental agent:
Below is handy a list of questions to consider to help you choose a real estate agent to rent your home.
1. Does the agency have a team strictly dedicated to leasing properties?
It’s quite common for real estate agencies to put more effort into property sales than into property management. In the worst cases, this responsibility may even be left to agency receptionists or administrative assistants. Be sure that you work with an agency that specialises in property management.
2. Does the agency’s owner or principal/CEO/managing director have a role in the everyday functioning of the property management team?
When an agency’s owner plays an active role within a property management team, this often serves as incentive to make the team work harder and with greater professionalism. Having a manager who isn’t afraid to get involved in their business’s success is also a sign of the type of agency that will work harder for you.
3. How many years of experience does the property management agent have?
If you’re looking at proposals from individual real estate agents, you’ll want to find out more about their experience. Many real estate agents are members of larger agencies, with sterling reputations and a history of success to draw upon, but it’s also important to find out more about the specific agent who will be handling your rental property. The right agent will have a love for property management rather than direct sales. Passion, dedication and experience are all vital to success.
4. What happens if there are problems with tenants? Will the agent vouch for me in court? What is the agent’s success rate in this type of situation?
Most rental agreements run smoothly with the assistance of professional property management. But things can still go awry, and you may need to protect your legal rights as a landlord. Should this occur, you will need to have an experienced real estate agent by your side to help you navigate through the ins and outs of tenancy law. It’s extremely helpful in these circumstances to have property managers do the legal work on your behalf, helping you save time and money to achieve your desired outcome.
5. Does the property management service cover specific areas?
If you are investing in multiple properties, you will have the need for a real estate agent with the expertise and knowledge of areas outside of your immediate vicinity. There are several options to consider when you expand your portfolio of rental properties. Previously, you could either hire a real estate agent in each specific suburb where you own investment property or you could sign up with a larger agency that covers a wider physical area to manage all of your homes at once. Lately, like many other countries overseas, Australia is becoming home to larger property management agencies that cover broad geographical regions. These agencies use modern technologies, such as online banking and advertising, to help manage far-flung properties. If you need to have more than one property managed, be sure to compare proposals from asset managers that can handle a wide geographical area.
6. Does the property management agent attend inspections of your home with prospective tenants?
Naturally, most property owners will not want strangers waltzing through their home without supervision. The right estate agent will accompany potential tenants on visits to your property. Not only does this protect your home’s security, but it also can serve as another medium for marketing. The agent can point out features and amenities of your home, and learn more about the clients’ personal and financial situations. This can help them determine whether the clients in question would be advantageous tenants. It’s best to avoid agencies that simply hand over keys to tenants with no questions asked.
7. How many properties does the agent personally manage?
Although managing multiple properties helps build experience; it’s a good idea to ensure that your potential agent doesn’t juggle too many at once. Agents can manage up to 150 properties. If they’re managing a higher volume, it’s a good idea to check homeowner reviews and find out the level of commitment you’ll get from them. If they’re managing too many properties, they won’t have the time to give each property the energy and effort it deserves. While larger agencies will have more clients and smaller agencies will have fewer, make sure that the property managers have the time to manage each home effectively, ensuring higher monetary returns. It may be worth paying higher fees to a boutique agency of this nature if it means you get the extra care that could yield greater financial rewards and prevent vacancy, damage or other problems.
8. How many days per week will managing agents have available to show the property to prospective tenants?
Many professionals in today’s busy world don’t have time to visit properties during the normal work week. If an agent is able to show properties on weekends or during extended hours, this will help cater to tenants’ needs. The ability to show your property at least six days a week can help market your home more effectively.
9. How does the agency check prospective tenants’ financial situations?
To help protect your investment, you’ll want to find tenants with good credit, steady jobs and a history of reliable rental payments. You’ll also want a good tenant that not only pays rent on time, but treats your home with respect. To help facilitate this, a good agency will be able to complete in-depth screening of individuals using a subscription to the appropriate tenancy database..
10. Does the agency use a computer system to stay up to date with rental arrears? What actions are taken if payments are overdue?
In today’s computerised workplace, most agents will use modern programs to monitor rental arrears on a daily basis. This allows them to accept electronic funds transfers and take immediate action should payments become past due. When rent payments are late, agents can follow up with tenants immediately using email, telephone calls, written documents, or text messages. It’s also important to have an idea of the kinds of processes that agencies have to deal with bigger problems or non-paying tenants should they arise.
Once you’ve asked the above questions, and compared agents online, you’ll be confident that you’re making the right decision in choosing the best real estate agent to rent out your property.