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Can a good property manager make you money?

12 August 2016 Lauren Staley

“Down down, prices are down”, “Buy two, get one free!” – Australian consumers, it seems, are increasingly being encouraged to view value through the lens of ‘cheapness’. But as anyone who has bought a no-name brand version of their favourite chocolate bikkies will know, the cheaper version is rarely the best version of a product or service.

Too often, landlords fall into a sense of false economy when it comes to the management of their property, with a laissez-faire attitude of ‘She’ll be right, mate’. All too often, in our experience, she’s not going to be right, mate. That’s partly because the real estate industry is broadly focused on the ‘race to the bottom’ for property management fees, rather than educating the public on the real difference an experienced property manager makes to an investor’s bottom line. This blog addresses this imbalance, showing how a good property manager with a wealth of experience not only protects your investment – they make you money in the process.

Relationships matter

So many tenant-landlord relationships falter due to miscommunication and frustration. A seasoned property manager will have been there and done that. Young or old, a good property manager will actively develop a two-way relationship with your tenant, leaving lines of communication open. This openness and timeliness of response means that tenants and landlords are assisted by their property managers to work together and achieve outcomes that benefit both parties equally.

Market analysts

Being a property manager is not merely receiving and paying rents. Among many other things, a good property manager keeps abreast of the market your investment lies within. They are far from passive, keenly observing what comparable properties are garnering in weekly rent, putting you in an ideal position to negotiate appropriate rent increases. ‘Set and forget’ is the opposite of a good property manager’s attitude towards your investment’s value!

Safe and sound

No landlord benefits from unwanted vacancies. A good property manager will do all they can to ensure that your property is on a secure lease. This is not always possible (as tenants cannot be compelled to renew their leases), but is always advantageous for landlords. Some property managers who are under-resourced, stressed or inexperienced let leases lapse into monthly tenancies – a good property manager would never do this. Less out-of-pocket costs mean more resources for you!

Seasons of (landlord) love

A good property manager thinks strategically about seasonal vacancies. In winter – the worst time for property vacancies – a savvy property manager will negotiate longer leases in an attempt to break the pattern. Clever, right? It’s experience and a holistic view of leasing that allows a good manager to think this way.

Negotiation non-negotiable

A good property manager is never passive: they are born negotiators. They will negotiate favourable and fair outcomes in relation to maintenance costs and ongoing expenses, working with trusted service partners to deliver sensible quotes and quality deliverables in equal measure. If a property manager is poorly connected to the community of trades, or naive to the ways of excessive quoting – you can soon end up with a hole in your pocket.

So remember this adage next time you think about scrimping on the cost of a property manager: if you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to manage your property – wait until you hire an amateur!

[Related: How to keep squatters from destroying your investment]

Can a good property manager make you money?
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