Property management: You get what you pay for

Luke Parker
Property management: You get what you pay for

There’s a lot of them out there – some qualified, some not – so how do you go about sifting the good property managers from the duds.

Landlords are setting themselves up for failure without knowing what to ask and what to look for, says 360 Property Management new business consultant, Joel Goulding.

“It’s essentially a job interview. But a lot of landlords don’t ask any questions these days. They don’t really dig deep into finding information and can base their decision primarily on fees where it should be based on experience."

He says property management is about helping to get a landlord’s ducks in a row should anything end up happening with a tenant and to help bolster their chances of winning in court.

“What have you got on paper - inspection reports, compliance certificates, tenancy agreements - to go in your favour in court? That’s what it comes back down to. If worst case scenario was to happen, what processes and structures do you have in place to help your case?

"They will also help you achieve the most rent for your property keeping up with rent increases and advice on what to do to get the best performance from your investment, the service should run deeper than the face of the job."  

He says an experienced property manager will also keep up with the regularly updated NZ rental legislation and collate all this paperwork for court.

“That’s what you’re paying for. The biggest thing for this is that insurances are starting to decline claims now because inspection reports aren’t up to standard, so it’s about making sure they’re done properly. There’s no point paying your insurance company if your insurance is going to become null and void because your property manager isn’t doing their job properly."

Because the industry isn’t currently regulated in New Zealand, Joel says it can be a case of you get what you pay for.

“A lot of landlords want everything for cheap. They want to pay 6% of the rent, and then with that will come a 6% level of service. You can’t have 6% and expect an 8% level of service. Or you can’t go to a reputable company and expect them to discount their service and do the best job.”

Questions for your prospective property manager:

1.   How long have you worked as a property manager for?

2.   What are your (management/property) qualifications and experience?

3.   How many properties do you manage?

4.   Do you know the area?

5.   How much does your service cost?

6.   What strategies do you have to deal with rent arrears?

7.   Are you a residential landlord yourself? 

8.   If you are sick or away on holiday, who looks after my property? 

9.   What do you expect from me as the owner? 

10. How do you background and reference check potential tenants?  

11. What are your personal rent arrears and rent collection rates? 

12. How often do you inspect the property?  How would you document your inspections and report back to me?

13. How soon would I find out whether there is something wrong with the tenancy such as rent arrears, damages and abandonment? 

14. How often would you communicate with/report to me?

15. How many times have you attended the Tenancy Tribunal and what has your success rate been? 

16. What new compliance and legislative changes, new and proposed, affect me as a landlord and how does your company deal with these?

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