Sam Vickerson purchased an interstate investment property, but things soon got out of hand when he couldn’t get in touch with his assigned property manager.
Mr Vickerson lives in Queensland. In 2013, he bought a property in Nowra on the NSW south coast. A friend recommended he get in touch with a property manager so he could learn more about the expectations of tenants in the area.
“The guy that answered the phone was like a talk show host,” he says.
“In hindsight, it’s clear that it was his job to answer my questions affirmatively and get my credit card details.”
The company Mr Vickerson spoke to charged $30 less than others in the area, but promised services such as garden maintenance, comprehensive screening processes and quarterly house inspections.
“The only thing this guy couldn’t do was let me speak with my assigned property manager,” he says.
After signing up, the property manager was non-communicative about information concerning the property. Mr Vickerson says he only wanted to be informed about basic matters like property viewings, tenant screenings and problems with the property.
“I feel that I wasn’t asking for anything more than the basics,” he says, adding, “I work full time so the property manager was supposed to provide me with peace of mind.”
After growing suspicious about the manager’s lack of correspondence, Mr Vickerson asked a friend from Nowra to inspect the property. The pictures Mr Vickerson’s friend sent him were shocking.
“The state of the garden was horrendous,” he says, adding that the grass had grown so long that the tenants could not open their back door.
“It detracted from the property because Nowra is a very scenic area.”
A combination of the property’s neglect and the manager’s lack of communication forced Mr Vickerson to find a new manager. This time, he took the time to research his options online.
“I focused on investor forums where people had left comments about their experiences with property manager companies,” he says.
“These sites are useful because they are not directly linked with the companies themselves.”
After narrowing down his search, Mr Vickerson sent some companies an email which contained details about his investment and questions about their services.
“I asked them whether they would agree to sign a written contract that would guarantee their services,” he says.
“While most didn’t respond, one property manager contacted me directly.”
Mr Vickerson explains that the property manager was honest about the duties they could carry out and presented him with strategies for increasing the property’s rental yield.
“I now receive regular communication and feel much more at ease with my investment,” he says.
“I would advise investors to do their own research and have a written contract with the manager in place.”