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Stephen Dallow: How to choose your next property manager

When it comes to looking after yourself, you should always choose a great doctor who is up to date with the latest medical treatments, a fantastic dentist
who can make sure your smile looks amazing for as long as possible and often at the top of a list is a hairdresser that you totally trust. Then it
is making sure you have the right insurance cover to protect you and your family. So when it comes to your investment, why not follow the same guidelines?

You need to find a Property Manager who is up to date with the latest regulations and has the best software to run thorough background and credit checks
on your prospective tenants, someone with the skills to ensure your investment looks amazing for as long as possible and someone you totally trust
and that gives you the best assurance you need.

In a Country where Property Management is not regulated, it is vital to turn to someone that follows strict guidelines and training for their staff.

Do some research before you meet someone. Look for a reputable brand you can trust and go online and read reviews or post on a community social media page
asking for feedback from both tenants and landlords on who they recommend.

When you first meet with a potential Property Manager, get them to look around your home and offer suggestions for ways to add value to your asset and
to highlight any areas of concern or risk. You will quickly get a sense of their knowledge which will help build trust in the person you are handing
your asset over to look after.

Then spend some time focusing on their vetting processes. What steps do they have in place to ensure you are getting the safest options when it comes to
tenants. Can they access information from around the globe if needed?

Property Managers should tell you their processes on how they will interview previous Landlords, verify employment and get character references.

When trying to win business they will tell you all the great things their company has to offer to provide you with excellent tenants and service but ask
them, what do you do when things go wrong? How do they deal with a tenant who is just two days in arrears? A good Property Manager doesn’t muck around,
they should have clear processes to step at the moment the tenant defaults on their payment. Ask what their processes are if during a routine inspection
they spot damage or other issues of concern and check the complaints process for that company if at any point you are not happy with the results.

Every three months there needs to be a routine inspection. This is vital for your insurance, to ensure the tenant is looking after the property and to
check in and see what maintenance or potential long term maintenance issues may be arising. This is your three monthly chance to see inside your home
via some sort of inspection report. Ask them to bring an example to your meeting so you can see first hand what you can expect to see every three months.

Finally, ask to go through both their Property Management Agreement that you will need to sign and ask to see their Tenancy Agreement a tenant will sign.
A good Property Manager will be able to walk you through this and explain all the points. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, this is a binding agreement
and you must know what you are signing. Check how long you are committed to this agreement and what the process is should you wish to end it.

Check the services they offer as part of this agreement and check the fees. Some companies offer a lower fee but add in lots of additional costs for inspections,
tribunal, chasing arrears, letting etc while some offer an all-inclusive fee which can be easier to budget for with no surprises.

As you go through the final steps chat with your Property Manager about how you would like them to communicate with you. Both of you have to build this
relationship. Some owners like to know what is happening every step of the way while others feel they have paid for a Property Manager to take the
stress off and only need to hear when there are issues. Your Property Managers are not mindreaders so tell them. Equally, give them some trust
too. They need a small budget for emergency repairs so they are not chasing you at midnight on a Saturday when a plumber is urgently needed, so do
give them a budget so they can do the job efficiently. If you restrict them with too many of your own rules, you will prevent them from doing what
they are trained to do and that is to maximise your investment and protect it.

So as you next look for a Property Manager, have a think about the investment you put into yourself and see if you can match it with your Property. Find
someone you trust who can keep your home looking amazing and someone who is knowledgeable and up to date.

If you have any questions about Property Management please feel free to email me at [email protected].


Stephen Dallow 

Stephen has a background in both teaching and property management. His current role is that of the Property Manager Trainer at Barfoot & Thompson. 






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