As September 2010 passes, renters in Victoria have again seen a month with no sign…
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 (or property manager).
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.
(If you want to compare commission fees and other information between property managers in your area, you can click here to use our free agent comparison service. Fee and commission information can’t be found anywhere else online.)
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.
Duties of a property manager
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.
Working with tenants in your rental 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.
Managing paperwork and responsibility
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.
The qualities of a good property manager
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.
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