Property management plays a big role in your investment journey – and hiring the wrong company may leave you out thousands of pounds and a dud investment property!
That’s why it’s essential that you choose the right company to manage your property. A good agency with skilled property managers will work with you and give you plenty of reasons to have confidence in them. You should feel comfortable and secure, knowing that your property is in good hands.
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What exactly is property management?
Property management means taking care of every aspect of your rental property; from facilitating repairs and day-to-day admin to ensuring that it’s regularly occupied. This responsibility solely lies with the property managers of the company. There are 3 types of property managers:
- Traditional managers
- DIY managers: owners who decide to self-manage their property
- New model managers, aka the tech-savvy experts who provide innovative solutions
Professional property managers will personally work with you to learn all about your investment goals and requirements and come up with a management plan that fulfils these accordingly.
What do property managers or property management companies do?
Some of their day-to-day duties may include: collecting monthly rent, screening potential tenants, maintaining your property and carrying out admin work. Property management companies have a seamless system in place to make your life easier. All you have to do is sit back, relax and reap the rewards!
While there’s no doubt that property management companies may save you a lot of time and trouble, you also need to make sure that you’re dealing with an agency that’ll be worth the financial investment. In this blog, we’ll explore how you can shortlist your choices, which company features are red flags and which features guarantee a great partnership experience.
How to find the right property management company for you
1. Great Recommendations
As a first-time investor, the last thing you want is to pour all your savings into an agency that is poorly recommended and doesn’t follow through on most of its promises.
Check how the company has proven itself with its past clients. Ask your family, friends and co-workers – there’s no better way to test the waters than learning more about the personal experiences of people you trust. Do you know anyone who has worked with this company? How did the agency help them along their investment journey? Did it boost their property’s desirability?
A property management company that is highly recommended may often be easier to work with. It may also have a seamless process to instantly identify and cater to your property’s needs.
2. Stellar Reputation In The Market
If you’re looking for more information on potential agencies or managers, the Internet is a great place to start.
Check out the company’s social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. A company’s social media page is its online representation and introduction to the world. If the page looks a little shady or if there’s inconsistent activity, this may reflect poorly on their level of service. However, a well-structured and consistent page that quickly responds to inquiries displays reliability and professionalism.
Remember: customer reviews are the holy grail of brand verification. A company that has a number of complaints may raise a few red flags, while a company that has consistently received stellar reviews with a track record of obtaining returning clients passes the tried-and-tested approach.
Don’t worry if a company has turned off the Review option on their page. You can always check their Google reviews!
3. High Suitability
Every property is different. As the property owner, you will have a better idea of what your investment property really needs. Weigh your requirements against the property management services offered and consider whether all your needs are met.
- The property: Does it need to be promoted in a certain way? Are you looking at a specific target market? Does it have a big lawn that needs to be maintained frequently? Make sure that the agency you pick is flexible and places your property’s best interests at the forefront of its operations.
- The company’s management techniques: One of the most crucial factors you need to consider when choosing a property management company is its tenant screening process. How thorough is the company’s strategy? Does it check on the tenant’s right to rent, referencing and credit history? How have the property managers been trained to deal with problem tenants?
- How involved you want to be: Would you be unavailable for a good chunk of the day or prefer to keep your personal and professional commitments separate? If so, you may want to consider handing over full management control to the company. Check whether the team would be open to contact you only at certain hours of the day either through phone or email.
- If they offer landlord insurance: This keeps your property safe and covers the cost of any damages and loss of rental income due to a fault of the company or even your tenants.
4. A Team Of Qualified Experts
No matter how much research you’ve done online, it’s always best to meet with your property manager in person. Don’t be afraid to ask them any questions you may have. Check whether:
- The company has been in business for a number of years. A relatively new company may have fewer client reviews and projects for you to go through for comparison.
- The property management team is qualified. Do the residential managing agents have a number of years of experience in the local market? Do they have licenses and certifications?
A good property management company will have nothing to hide and will offer all crucial details upfront for transparency.
A big part of a property management company’s responsibility is to make sure that the property remains occupied. Even if the property is going through a dry spell, it is up to the company to do everything in its power to market and promote the property.
Inquire about the company’s strategies to keep the property occupied and general vacancy rates on past projects. Compare these rates to the average vacancy rate in your town or local area. Here’s a quick look at the average rates in some of the most popular UK cities to live in:
While the quality and range of services offered by a property management company is important, it all falls apart if the company is out of your budget range. Remember: property management is an ongoing, long-term commitment. If you may be unable to pay the fees in the long run, it may be best to opt out of it at the start before you dig yourself into a financial hole.
Consider whether the company has a fixed-fee or pay-as-you-go structure. Certain companies may even offer a flexible fee structure that may work according to your requirements.
For example, you may discover that letting companies or letting agents’ fees are much lower than that of property management companies. This is because most letting companies may only take on the responsibilities of finding tenants and rent collection. Property management companies, on the other hand, take care of all aspects related to your rental property, including maintenance, admin and legal requirements, even after the tenants are found.
Want to know more about the general rates and what they may cover? Read this guide on property management fees and how to know what’s fair!
Although it’s not an absolute must to hire a company that’s good with technology, having a team of tech experts on your side will certainly pay off if you want your property to stand out.
A digital approach to property management lets property managers take care of all operations related to the rental property on a larger and more convenient scale. This, in turn, increases the company’s efficiency and guarantees a faster turnaround time in meeting tenant and owner needs.
In addition to the tech enhancements, a good property management company has a team of experts who will personally assess the property and respond to tenant inquiries whenever they’re needed.
Certain residential property management companies use technology to digitalise manual and time-consuming tasks. This frees up more time for property managers to spend on your property and give it that human touch it really needs!
8. A Profit-Based Approach
Apart from having its own credentials, a good property management company should prioritise what’s best for your investment property. At the end of the day, you need big returns on your investment. A chunk of that responsibility falls on to the company you pick – which is why its property managers need to have an investor mindset.
Consider whether the company strategizes its management plan based on profit. Do the property managers actively pitch ideas on how to maximise your rental yield? Do they try to find the best market deals when it comes to maintenance and repairs and look to see how they can adopt cost-cutting ways? Do they draw on their local market knowledge to improve your property and make it a successful investment?
A company that doesn’t keep an eye on costs and profit may quickly drain your wallet so choose wisely.
9. Friendly And Welcoming
Property management involves a considerable amount of in-person engagement. This means that the company should have a team of property managers and experts who place a key focus on maintaining a great relationship with the tenants.
Consider whether a property management company has a positive and friendly attitude towards the homes and tenants they manage. The greater the relationship is between your property manager and your tenant, the more likely they are to renew their lease or recommend your property to everyone they know!
So take your time and make your decision with a clear head, from an investor’s perspective. If you’re lucky, you may end up with the ultimate Property Manager who’ll take care of your property and your tenants like their very own!
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Millie is a perfectionist with a passion for property and writing articles. You’ll find her researching the latest housing trends and the newest up and coming areas worth investing in. Read more about Millie here.