It’s one thing to get your rental property advertised on a site like realestate.com.au or Domain – it’s another thing entirely to manage the day-to-day operations of one.
That’s exactly what a property manager does. But many landlords are still confused about what goes on during the daily operation and maintenance of a rental property.
So…what does a property manager do?
A property manager is someone who handles most of the ongoing operations of your rental property for you. They act as your representative, doing all the things that a landlord normally would on your behalf.
So what are some of those tasks? A good property manager, in theory, should do most of the following:
Find new tenants when the property is empty
That can include things like managing inspections for prospective tenants, getting photographs, advertising on listing platforms like REA or Domain and looking through applications to present to the landlord.
Collect bond payments
Collecting bond and submitting it to the relevant authority isn’t a straightforward task, as we’ve shown before. Property managers ensure the process is followed according to the law and is handled appropriately.
Collect rent and forward to the landlord
Collecting rent isn’t just about managing a bank account and transferring the cash, although that’s a big part of it. Property managers also chase up late rent payments, figure out what’s going on with the tenant and work to make sure there is a smooth process to catch up on any late rent. They also follow up if any legal action needs to be taken.
Manage routine inspections
While landlords can do their own inspections, they often rely on property managers to do this for them and then make sure that everything is in order. Many property managers will take pictures and send a full report to the landlord to show everything is okay.
Receive and deal with maintenance requests
Maintenance is a serious issue and many landlords can become liable if certain maintenance conditions aren’t upheld. Property managers will generally act as the first line of communication for tenants if things go wrong, organise requests for repairs and then hire tradespeople to carry them out.
Manage and prepare paperwork for parties to sign
Many property managers have the authority to act on behalf of the landlord and can sign many things but managers will often prepare paperwork and have it ready for landlords to sign. This usually includes a tenancy agreement along with any other bills or relevant charges.
Ensure all processes follow the relevant legal authority
Landlords who opt to do things themselves often find they have problems when it comes to the small, legal details of what they need to do. Having that level of legal knowledge on your side is invaluable, especially as many states have different real estate laws and some issues – such as home security – can be ambiguous. Many property managers help out in this regard.
Generally act as the first point of contact for tenants
If tenants have questions about small details, or any inquiries, the property manager is the first person to handle them.
So, as you can see, property managers handle a lot of the day-to-day work in managing a property.
What’s the difference between a real estate agent and a property manager?
Nothing really. A person who sells or manages property on behalf of someone else is a real estate agent. However, typically a person who manager’s property is specifically referred to as a ‘property manager’ but they are one and the same.
Should I use a property manager, or become a DIY landlord?
Neither. I actually think neither of those two options are good.
Well, take being a DIY landlord. First of all, you need to be an expert in your state’s laws on real estate, and it’s just way too easy to get yourself into trouble. One little slip up on something like home security or smoke alarms, and you could potentially open yourself up to legal action.
Not to mention, being a DIY landlord takes up a huge amount of your time.
But what about hiring a property manager?
As I’ve already said, property managers definitely do a lot. But there’s a catch – more often than not they run out of real estate agencies, and that comes with disadvantages.
There are good reasons why 1 in 4 landlords don’t trust their agent.
Firstly, most of them are agencies that depends on sales. The focus and attention of the business is often on the sales department, dragging the property management department further and further behind. That means many of the processes they took on 20 years ago are still the same today. It’s no wonder why key things get lost, don’t get done or just take a long time!
Secondly, many property managers are young! There’s nothing wrong with that, but it means they’re inexperienced and won’t give you – or your tenants – the experience you’re looking for. Remember, this is about tenants too – you want good tenants to stay as long as possible.
Finally, property management fees are often very high when you consider what you actually get – even if you’re paying a property management company that focuses solely on management, not sales. That eats into your rental yield.
So, what’s the solution?
There’s a third option
Do it online. Technology has made it possible to cut out the traditional middle men and outdated manual processes for managing your property.
With Cubbi you can have the best of both worlds; have complete oversight over your rental property to ensure everything is taken care of but without having to worry about the labyrinth of rental laws and the time consuming admin.