Many property investors will choose to manage their own properties, particularly if they live a short distance from the property. However, for many investors it may not be feasible to take over the management of their properties if the properties are located across different parts of the country. In this case a property investor may want to appoint a property manager to take care of things on the leasing and property management in exchange for a monthly fee.
The benefits of appointing a property manager for our property investment can easily outweigh the reasons for not to have a manager in place. A good property manager will always communicate effectively with the owner in all circumstances and perform well.
Duties and functions of a manager of property are extensive and will vary depending on the conditions and demands of the property owner. Here is a list of some of the responsibilities a property letting agent may assume:
- Advertise for and interview (credit checks, referees contact) potential tenants
- Gather initial payment of deposits
- Collect monthly rents
- Arrange any necessary repairs
- Periodic inspections and inventory checks of property
- Paying workers, gardeners, council tax and other bills out of incoming rent
- Make the regular lease payments to the owner
- Contact the owner of tenants giving notice to vacate property
- Contact the owner to arrange for repairs above a certain value
- Notifications and appropriate to issue letters to tenants
- Provide reports of rent and expenses to the owner
The above is just a sample of functions performed by a property manager. A good property letting agent/ manager is not necessarily someone who charges lower fees. Most managers around where your property is located charge similar fees, however their ability to control the property according to your requirements differ and so it is necessary to follow a strict screening process to choose the right letting agent for your needs.
The best way to select the right property manager is to interview a number of property managers and ask them a series of predefined questions. Some owners prefer to do this in an interview, while others are content with perhaps a call and email to phone.
So what type of questions should you ask? There are several different aspects of property management that must be looked at and so I have listed some possible questions accordingly.
Fees and services offered
What monthly fees do you charge?
How many properties do you control?
Do you charge a fee to leave?
How often do you conduct inspections?
How often are payments made to the homeowners?
Under what circumstances do you contact an owner?
How do you find and interview prospective tenants?
How often do you collect rent?
What is the typical period of notice?
How do you treat non-payment of rent?
What action is taken if a tenant should damage the property?
How do you control the major and minor repairs?
How long have you worked with your preferred trades people?
These are only sample questions and will differ depending on your situation, however they provide an outline of what you may need to ask.
At the end of the day, do not settle for less than what you expect from a property manager. After all, your investment property, bought with your hard earned money, is placed in their hands. Make whatever effort you need to ensure that your property is in the hands of someone you consider capable and trustworthy.
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