From the onset, the thought of managing a brand new property seems like a simple task. After all, everything is brand new, so there shouldn’t be any maintenance or repairs, right?
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Not always the case. With any new property, there is always some hiccup that needs to be worked through, whether it be missing or incorrect keys, an oven that doesn’t work, water tank not connected, ducted heating not commissioned, etc.
The easiest way to monitor and manage this kind of property begins day-one. You need to put reminders in place to check and follow up any defects, to make the process a lot smoother. Before settlement of the property, a pre-settlement inspection should take place with the property manager and the landlord to go over any concerns. Any issues should be highlighted immediately with the builder. Most builders in the market place will offer a 90-day immediate ‘defect period’, whereby the company will attend to any work required. In addition, it's essential to educate your new tenant and explain to them the importance of advising you of any defects immediately.
Once a defect is reported, it’s always best practice to advise the builders in writing, and follow up with advice to your landlord. Communication in writing is always the best practice to cover all bases. Building a relationship with the builders is also a good idea, explaining to them your reasonable expectations of follow-up and time frame for fixing defects. Setting reminders via your calendar will also allow you to efficiently time-manage your own follow-up process, remembering to always update your owner along the way.
The ongoing relationship with your owner remains at the forefront of your daily tasks and follow-up. If you keep them in the loop with any defects on their investment property, showing them the follow-up tasks and reminders, it will prove to them your efficiency as a professional property manager and will result in ongoing business from them.
Defects are part of the building process, and as professional property managers, it’s up to us to smooth the process between the owners and builders. Whether you spend $10,000 on a new property or $1 million, there will always be some hiccups along the way.
My top tips to smooth the process:
1. Always make sure that any defects (minor or major) are reported in writing by your tenant, supported by photos, if possible.
2. Supply as much detail to the builders as possible, with supporting photos, in writing.
3. Update your owner along the way.
4. Keep monitoring the open work orders in your system, using notes and techniques to follow the process through to the end.
5. Always keep the tenant updated – the more up-to-date they are, the more co-operative they will be with reporting and managing any defects.
And, finally, maintain a friendly yet professional relationship with the builders and tradesmen involved.
By using the above information and tips, I am sure they will assist you in your everyday job role. By keeping all parties informed along the way, not only will you be rewarded with a happy tenant looking after the property, your landlord will be grateful for your professionalism and expertise.
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