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What to look for in a property manager?

With the emergence of Self Managed Super Funds (SMSF) allowing people to invest their superannuation in property and the high levels of demand for investment properties in the Lithgow region, property management is a hot topic of conversation at the moment.

Everyone seems to have a rental property story to tell and they’re not always good, but it doesn’t have to be this way with a skilled and experienced property manager overseeing the day to day management.

For a property investor entrusting someone with the care of one of the biggest assets you’re ever likely to own is a big decision. In order to choose the best person for the job you need to consider what skills are required to do the job well?

For a tenant a good property manager should become a trusted part of their daily life. A good tenant/ agent relationship at the outset will establish the expectation of open communication, prompt payments and a stress free tenancy.

The role of a property manager could simply be described as managing relationships between people and property, and in particular navigating the requirements of tenants and landlords to ensure successful outcomes for both.

Traditionally the day to day tasks of a property manager included setting and collecting rent, attending to property maintenance, liaising between landlords and tenants, showing vacant properties and processing tenancy applications and completing the required paperwork.

President of the Real Estate Institute of NSW Tim McKibbon recently stated that, “it needs to be acknowledged that over the last 20 years the job description of a property manager has changed dramatically and they now need a different skill set”.

Risk management has become a key area of focus including addressing building and safety issues such as asbestos, swimming pools, deck, balcony and window safety, smoke alarms and more. While an in-depth knowledge of building and construction is not expected, a level of understanding of these issues and the ability to seek professional advice is critical. Ongoing training and a comprehensive understanding of changes to legislation can prevent unnecessary problems.

Additionally a professional property manager needs excellent communication and people skills, and an understanding of how economic conditions affect the property market will maximise rental returns.

Given the demands of the day to day life of a property manager they need to have excellent time management skills, be tech savvy, have a great telephone manner and be able to solve problems as they arise. A property manager who actually knows the properties they are responsible for, will be able to answer questions relating to the management of the property in a timely manner. Regular routine inspections ensure this is always the case.

Traditionally it has been considered that sales people in the real estate industry have a higher skill set and qualification, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that a multi skilled property manager is a rare and precious gem to be treasured by landlords and business owners.

Ultimately the job involves taking the stress out of owning an investment property. Because property management is such a customer-focused business, the more time an agent can spend communicating with tenants and landlords, and developing and implementing programs that will enhance the tenants experience, the better the outcomes will be for all.

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