Professional property management is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it frees up investors from being bogged down with the day-to-day running of the property, on the other hand it costs a premium which many investors think they can do without. Some property investors, held back by inexperience, are happy to pay for professional management services in exchange for minimum input. Others, encourage by an incentive to save on expenses, prefer to self-manage their properties. Hiring a property manager is a personal decision and below are some key considerations:
- Location – Where is your rental property in relation to your living circle (i.e. your home, your workplace and suburbs you frequent)? Is it feasible to juggle a full time job, family commitments as well as being on call 24 hours a day for your tenants?
- Expertise – What are your (investment) strengths? Are you good a negotiating a great deal or preserving, or even adding, value to your existing rentals? Are you a good communicator? Do you have the mental strength to cope with rent arrears, property damages, sudden abandonments, and Tribunal hearings?
- Time – What are your existing time commitments? Do you have a full time job? Do you have children and a busy home life? Can you give your property and your tenant the time and attention they deserve?
- Knowledge – Do you know, or care to know, your obligations under the tenancy agreement as well as the Residential Tenancies Act? Are you intent on executing your legal duties and enforcing your rights? Are you up to date with the market rent of your property? Do you know how to increase rent legally and without increasing your vacancy rate?
- Attention to Details – Are you detail-oriented or more of a big picture person? Are you able to pick up early signs of water damages? Can you sniff out a bad tenant from a mile off? Do you have the patience and the organisation skills to keep your rent ledger updated?
- Personality – Are you customer/service focussed? Do you have a sunny attitude and patience to cope with tenants’ demands? Are you capable and willing to maintain a good working relationship with your tenants?
- Network – Do you have a network of trustworthy, cost-effective, and reliable tradesmen you can call on for all repair and maintenance work?
- Control – Are you comfortable handing over control of your invested asset to someone else? Do you have a habit of checking up on people you have delegated tasks to?
- Budget – Is your property negatively or positively geared? Can you afford to pay for professional management?