Tina Villis

HOW TO HIRE THE BEST PROPERTY MANAGER

Property managers is not the easiest role in the world; how often do we hear, ‘the property manager did not communicate with me, tenant selection was poor, my property was just a number and the managers kept changing’?

Keep in sync with your management!The waters of property management can be treacherous; you’ll want a sound navigator.

I agree that there are property managers out there who fit this scenario, however there are professional managers who have years of experience and are passionate about what they do. They have exceptional customer service, have outstanding communication, negotiation and organisational skills. The best property managers know how to apply a broad skill set to the unique situations they encounter including the ability to manage the more tangible related concerns such as maintenance and repairs. This skill set is acquired with years of experience, the support of mentors and the personality trait of being a “people person” and having an eye for detail.

This skill set is a prerequisite for any property management role for the following properties:

  • Long term unfurnished
  • Long term furnished
  • Short term furnished rentals

The easiest mistake to make is to  choose a management company purely based on price alone.

It is an important factor, however the old adage “you get what you pay for” is never a truer word. You may end up with a bad experience in hiring an unprofessional property manner who can’t perform their duties and you could end up losing money.

So, what should you go on when you hire a property manager?

  1. Look deeper than price
    This bears repeating! You may think that all property managers or management companies are essentially the same, so the lowest commission must be the best. When it comes to the care and management of your property, it behoves you to base your decision on factors outside the scope of a simple percentage. A typical management fee for rental properties is between 8 – 12% of the weekly rent and it is at the higher end for the management of fully furnished properties. Be sure to check what the percentage is based on.
  2. Ask for references
    Be sure to ask for references from other property owners, ideally owning properties similar in size and scope to your own. If the property manager cannot provide suitable referees, this in itself is a warning sign that they may be inexperienced or may not have any positive reviews.
  3. Is the property manager qualified?
    Requiring a qualification to be a property manager has not been enforced until recently. In the majority of states in Australia there has been legislation passed to have all property managers qualified. A trained and qualified property manager gives you confidence that they will provide a professional level of service and have a good understanding of legislation relating to the role of landlords and tenants.
  4. The need for strong communication
    You will be hearing from the property manager often enough so you need to feel comfortable that you will be able to get along with them on a personal level and you like their style of communication. It is important to recognise that you will be working through large and small issues with the manager. You need to feel that you are on the same page from the start and have confidence that they will choose the right tenant for your property. Ask how they would communicate, by what method and how often. Suss out whether they are interested in building a trusting relationship with you and do they ask questions to get to know your ‘needs & wants’. They must understand your persona.
  5. Managers need to be exceptionally organised
    Property management requires a high level of organisation relating to all aspects: routine inspections, maintenance and repairs, open inspections, assessing tenant applications. It is a good idea to ask the property manager to describe a ‘day in the work place’ to you, ask specific questions around daily routine and any management software used to keep things on track.
  6. Understanding the basics of marketing
    Most property managers are skilled at property maintenance and related tasks but may lack the skill of basic marketing.  It is important to know how to write the content when listing a property both on and offline. Writing a great property description requires knowledge about the amenities of a property and the surrounding location and therefore identifying the type of tenant the property would attract. Ask for an example of how they gather the content about a property and their involvement in advertising the property.
  7. How many properties do they manage?
    The number of properties managed by a property manager, too few and too many can be problematic. Too few can be due to inexperience and or poor service, too many can mean that the property manager has too much to do leaving not enough time to manage your property effectively. Be mindful of extremes.
  8. Do they own any rental properties themselves?
    This in an interesting question to explore – if the property manager has owned a rental property they would possibly have more understanding as an investor. This knowledge is invaluable!

Property Managers deal directly with prospects and tenants, saving you time, money and worry over marketing your rental properties, collecting rent, handling maintenance and repairs, responding to tenant complaints and tenant breaches. They also must have exceptional customer service skills backed by effective property management systems. There needs to be a personality match between you and the property manager and you should feel this synergy between you in the first 5 minutes of meeting. It doesn’t need to be a difficult process, and ideally these tips will help guide you in finding the correct property manager for you.

Tina Villis

PROPERTY OWNER POP QUIZ – WHAT MAKES YOU DECIDE TO WORK WITH A PROPERTY MANAGER?

Photo credit: Stephen Bowler

 

Working with a Property Manager is not something all owners will consider. Many are happy to deal with all the aspects of property management themselves, from responding to enquiries from guests or tenants, organising change-overs, meet and greets, inspections, even to doing the cleaning and laundry on departure.

For others, particularly new investors and those who value their non-working time, it makes huge economic sense to engage a professional property management company to carry out all the administrative and marketing responsibilities.

Deciding whether to hire a Property Manager is a ‘given’ if the answers to the following points are YES;

  • You don’t live near your rental property, as it is in a different city, another state or even overseas

  • You own many rental properties

  • You are not familiar with the aspects of managing rental properties or you just don’t like undertaking the role

  • You need professional advice regarding legislative requirements and the market value of nightly and weekly rates in the location

  • You have a full-time job and simply do not have the time

Engaging the services of a Property Manager can really save you time and stress when it comes to taking care of your property, liaising with guests or tenants, managing income and expenditure, maintenance and repairs – the list is always growing.

Australian Luxury Stays had a scenario recently where a property owner, who had retired from a long-term government job. His expertise are still highly sought after and a result of ongoing contract work offerings, he is even busier than before. Part of his retirement hobby was to manage his recently renovated Art Deco 1930s villa. A great idea, in hindsight however he is too time poor! So he searched on Google to find a professional “high end property management company” and found Australian Luxury Stays.

Most property owners prefer the services of a Property Management company as they will earn a good income hassle free, and they don’t want their investment to give them a job.

That being said, some owners like to be more hands-on and do want to manage their own properties, however they need to be able to factor in a dollar for the work they do per week otherwise it is not a realistic investment at all.

In my next post I will give you some tips for hiring the best Property Managers – don’t go on price alone! It is often the first question a property owner will ask, what is your management fee and how much rent can I expect per week. Do these words sound familiar to you?

Tina Villis

Move over, Motels – the Accommodation Share Economy is Rolling Through

I recently read an amusing article in the SA Weekend by Australian Columnist Susie O’Brien, titled “Why my kids would prefer I’d book an Airbnb”. The content really got me reminiscing about my experiences staying in motels with my parents, when the only alternative option to accommodation in hotel, was the motel. Situated usually in locations on the outskirts of a town suitable for passing traffic, including holiday makers on the way to their holiday destination or the overnight stay for the business rep coming into town for the monthly visit.

I smiled and sniggered as I read Susie’s article remembering a one-night stay on the west coast of South Australia, on my way to Perth with my father many years ago.  My dear Dad helped me drive over to Perth to commence a 12-month Midwifery course in my second hand 1960’s Hillman Hunter.

Getting back to the night’s stay at the Ceduna Motel, having a shower in the early hours of the next morning to get going onto the next leg of our trip, I remember to my dismay not being able to get a lather up to wash my hair even though I used half a bottle of shampoo – no chance as it was salt water!

The typical style of motel has not changed since those days – usually a row of numbered rooms, with the front door opening onto your car park creating ease of access. Inside you will find a bed covered with a patterned bed bedspread attempting to match the décor of the room, the art work, usually the one piece that has hung there for years with no connection to the ambience of the rest of the room. A bar fridge with a few long-life milk capsules (difficult to open, spilling more in the saucer than in the cup!) Then you have the glasses covered in individual paper bags portraying hygienic practices, a few cheap brand coffee sachets with options of granules or powder. You may also be fortunate enough to find a decorative animal wrapped towel on the end of your bed, with individually wrapped bath soaps strategically placed and the paper sash on the toilet seat to suggest it has been hygienically cleaned and ready to go. The TV (colour these days) is placed on a teak modular unit which has the fridge located underneath and the kettle, cup, spoons (also wrapped in a utensil paper bag if you are lucky) along with the sachets of tea, coffee and sugar on a tray in close proximity.

Unfortunately for the motel industry, guest expectations have changed and as motels become more outdated they will eventually become a relic of the past. In the last few years we have seen disruption in the accommodation world where people are offering their spare room or whole of house for short term accommodation. This industry has captured the Airbnb-inspired phenomenon of providing luxury in-house stays for holiday makers or travelling professionals. We are seeing property owners ‘doing their own thing’ often with little understanding of the business and companies popping up at every turn to provide professional expertise on ‘how to do it’, offering services such as photography, furnishing and styling, pricing management and fee maximisation, guest ‘meet & greets’, housekeeping and linen services, providing financial reporting and visibility for guest bookings and reviews.

Guests are rightfully no longer content with a bed with the option to have a cup of coffee and take a shower; they are now expecting at least:

  • complimentary fast Wi-Fi – almost more important than running water!
  • cleanliness and comfort standards on par with hotels
  • a coffee maker with variety of flavoured options
  • luxury bedding, plenty of towels & bathroom toiletries
  • Smart TVs
  • Foxtel, Netflix
  • New age sound systems
  • a welcome basket of ‘goodies’ on arrival
  • access to a mini bar
  • 24-hour check-in and late checkout

Maybe the current younger generations will reminisce in time and think about their experiences staying in accommodation as it is today, as I did looking back to motel accommodation of the past. Maybe their reaction will also be one of a giggle and a smile thinking ‘my, how things have changed!’  One thing is true – change is a given and very much driven by our needs and wants. Welcome to the new era in short term accommodation – it has been around for many years, but it is only in the last few years that the concept has captured the core of the general public. The next trend may well be underway quietly somewhere…

I agree with Susie O’Brien and see this transition as a nostalgic experience and leave you to ponder, was the past better than the present?

Tina Villis

Why Fully Furnished?

Why are Property Owners renting their properties Fully Furnished?

 

For many property owners, renting furnished properties just makes good sense and provides flexible options. The property is ready to go for short term accommodation, that is from 3 nights, 3 weeks to 3 months, or can be offered for longer term leases say for 6 -12 months. An additional plus is that the property can be offered for sale, as it is already ‘dressed’ for sale.

These days furnished properties offer much more than a studio in a loft, in fact furnished properties can be amongst the most luxurious rentals available and can significantly increase return on investment.

Fully furnished apartments or homes are move-in ready which makes them the perfect solution for:

  • ex-patriats working overseas on contracts
  • the executive relocation market
  • holiday makers
  • homeowners needing to vacate a property for building repairs covered by insurance
  • buyers needing accommodation between settlement of properties

One of the main reasons for renting a property fully furnished is the financial gain; upfront costs may be higher however this is balanced by achieving higher rental rates. The financial benefits continue at tax time as furnishings depreciate over time and this depreciation can often be written off quickly. This allows for immediately reaping the benefits of the investment which can continue over the life of the apartment with redecorating and upgrades.

The other Pros for renting a property fully furnished include:

  • a ready-made flow of potential clients
  • the property can be upgraded or updated at any time
  • attracting high-quality tenants who want to avoid long stays in a hotel room
  • less damage to doors, walls and carpets from moving heavy furniture in and out of the property

Having considered all the pros, there are inevitability a few cons to renting a fully furnished property as there will still be maintenance to attend to and the additional cost of utilities, Wi-Fi, insurance and cleaning. However, management companies like australianluxurystays.com.au can make the entire process easier for you. We have a simple step-by-step process that can get you started and help prepare properties with proper staging. With our help you can be ready to move into the market faster than you imagined.

 

For the tenant, renting a fully furnished property is the smoother way to make a move – with no furniture to move, potentially all you need are your clothes in a suitcase, grab your laptop,  into the car and you’re on your way.