As an ex-property manager in a real estate business, I am only too aware that real estate agents see the managements in your letting pool as fair game when it comes to increasing their own business. Understandably, external agents will target any property they can to increase the value of their rent roll…..after all, it is business. In this blog post we’ll look at onsite property management tips to help maintain your letting pool.
Property managers and business development officers in an agency use various methods to target properties under management in their area, trying to bring the management across to the agency. Seeing a property for rent is a red flag to the agency, and the perfect opportunity to get in touch with the owner and sway them into a change of management.
Likewise, when a property is placed on the market, external sales agents pose a risk to your letting pool. Sales agents are often paid a commission for any rentals they can bring to the agency’s rent roll, so naturally if they are able to sell to an investor and secure the property as a rental for the agency, there is a financial benefit to them. There is also the possibility that the property will be sold to an owner occupier. Same end result- you lose the property from your rent roll.
As a resident unit manager, however, you have invested heavily in your management rights, and any reduction in your letting pool will have a direct impact on the value of your business, and on your income. It is up to you to ensure that you do your very best to hold onto your existing managements, and seize any opportunity to increase the letting pool that you can.
In my experience onsite property management comes under greatest risk when their are problems with the tenancy. With smaller numbers of properties under management, quite often the onsite manager is less experienced than the external property manager in dealing with these difficult issues. A tenant in arrears, a tenant who is mistreating the property or a long standing vacancy that you are unable to fill, are all typical scenarios that pave the way for an external agent to step in.
If the owner of a property senses that you are unsure of how to treat a situation, they are quite likely to ring the local agencies for advice, and this gives the external agent the foot in the door that they need.
So, what are the best ways to make sure you keep your managements in your letting pool?
You are in the perfect position to build strong relationships with both your owners and tenants. The most common complaints I heard about property managers in an agency, were lack of communication from the agent and high staff turnover leading to inconsistency, poor efficiency and ultimately frustration for the owner.
Communicate with owners often – the good stuff and the bad stuff. Make sure the owner is fully informed but never leave them wondering what you will do about a situation. If the tenant is in arrears, let the owner know, tell them what you have done about it, and let them know what the next step will be if it isn’t remedied. Let them know that you are in control of the situation and that they don’t need to worry needlessly – you know what you are doing.
Likewise build a relationship with your tenants, while at the same time, doing things “by the book”. Look after the good ones and move the bad ones on!
Communicate in writing. Good documentation is the key when it comes to success in QCAT. Even if owners and tenants prefer to talk with you directly, always follow up with an email which documents the main points discussed.
Make sure that you follow the legislation to the letter when you are dealing with your managements. Make sure your paperwork is perfectly in order and all notices delivered as per the legislative requirements. Irrespective of whether you feel you have a good relationship with the tenants and can work on an honour system, you need to have all of that paperwork in place, in case the tenancy goes pear-shaped. The legislation is there to protect the owner, the tenant and you, but if you don’t adhere to the requirements, it cannot help you.
If you are unsure of how to deal with a particular situation, call on the experts. Ring the RTA, the Department of Fair Trading or the REIQ and get professional advice. No question is silly and it can save you a lot of money in losses.
Make sure your owners know what you are doing for them. When you let a property in the complex quickly, to a good tenant at a good price, let all the owners know. Make sure that they understand that you are working for them. Help them see your value.
Sell yourself, as an onsite property manager. When the external agencies come knocking, remember –
You WILL do a better job, because;
The following are all simple items, but it is amazing how many property managers do them poorly
If you can be mindful of all of the above, the external agencies won’t stand a chance!
(image courtesy of Stuart Miles www.freedigitalphotos.net)
By Sally Baumber