How To Choose The Right Rental Manager
When you have an investment property it’s really important to have a good team behind you. One of the most important people in that team is your rental manager.
But how do you find a good rental manager and how do you even know what to look for? Today we talk to rental manager Lauren Robinson about how to pick the right rental manager for you.
0:00 – Introduction
1:35 – The difference between a good and bad rental manager
4:39 – #1: How Do You Market Your Properties?
7:22 – #2: How Do You Vet Tenants
7:40 – #3: How Do You Manage Tenants and Do You Have an Online Portal
8:10 – #4: How To Tenants Report Maintenance
8:16 – #5: Who Will My Rental Manager Be?
9:42 – #6: How Frequently Will You Inspect My Property?
9:49 – #7: What Training Do You Offer Your Team?
10:00 – #8: How Do You Handle Rental Arrears?
11:58 – #9: Do You Offer a Service Guarantee?
12:08 – #10: What Backup Staff Do You Have If Someone Is On Holidays or Sick?
12:25 – #11: How Frequently Will You Communicate With Me?
13:14 – How To Compare Property Manager Fees
15:30 – How To Change Rental Mangers
When you’ve got an investment property, it’s really important to have a good team behind you. And one of the most important people in that team is going to be your rental manager. This is the person that’s going to make sure your property gets rented deal with any issues that come up, make sure you get paid on time, all of that good stuff. But how do you go about choosing a good property manager? And how can you identify a good one from a bad one? So today, I have with me, Lauren Robinson from rental results.com.au, who’s a rental manager herself been in the industry for nearly 20 years. And she’s going to talk us through some questions you can ask, and things you can do to understand, okay, is this going to be a good property manager or not? So hey, Lauren, thanks for coming on today.
Yeah, thank you, Ryan. Thanks for having me.
No worries. So this is obviously a really important topic for people who have just purchased a property or maybe they’ve got a rental manager that they’re not completely happy with. And they’re thinking about shifting, how does one find a good rental manager? How can you look at the different websites and say, okay, who do I pick? How do I even know?
I know. And that’s that is a hard question. I think really, you know, often people ask their friends or their family, or maybe a sales agent they’ve dealt with, or often people will just choose the agent that they’ve bought through purely because they don’t know where else to look. And I think it’s really important to do your research online, have a look at how they’re marketing properties, and also interview a couple of different agents. So I have got a list of questions that I’d suggest you ask a prospective property manager. Yeah, just to narrow that down.
Before we jump into those questions, just so people can understand the difference between a good agent or a good rental manager and a poor rental manager? Do you want to tell us the story, again, that we did in a previous video about that property you got that was vacant for a number of weeks before the people shifted over to you? Yeah, so
we, so there was a property in a complex that we actually managed quite a few in that building the property have been on the market for six weeks with no interest, no applications, we took that property off that agent. And within two days we’d been we were able to rent that property for $20, more awake. And the reason being is purely because of how we changed all the marketing. So we made sure it was marketed properly online, we have an online booking system. So tenants can book in times, you know, obviously, we’re eager to make sure we got tenants in as quick as possible at a high rent. And obviously, quality tenants as well, not just anyone. So that’s really important too. But understanding your market and knowing what price the property should be at is super important. So not all property managers are the same, which I think is a misconception out there, that’s really important that you need to interview and make sure you you know who you’re dealing with,
well, that’s having a property sit vacant for six weeks is so much money down the drain, it would just be painful to watch that. And obviously, as the investor, you’re still liable for the mortgage and all the expenses associated with the property while that lie is vacant. So having a good rental manager can help you to rent your property quicker, it can help you to rent your property for more money, I just found it amazing that you took a property that was vacant for six weeks, and actually raised the rent and got $20 more than they were asking before and rented it out in a couple of days. And also getting good quality tenants as well. So again, not all tenants are created equal. So not all tenants are going to pay on time, not all tenants are going to treat the property as well as you would like and or stay as long as you would like. And so getting a good rental manager can help you get those long term good quality tenants that, you know, just make things much smoother to run and so much less stress to worry about. And I guess as well, handling issues that come up and helping you to do that.
For sure. Yeah. So I mean, I guess when you’re looking at an agent, it really depends on what stage where your property is. So say it’s vacant, then your biggest pain point at that point in time is going to be finding a tenant, a good quality tenant, to rent it as quick as possible at the highest rent. If you’ve got a tenant in place, your pain point may be that your your property manager doesn’t communicate with you or doesn’t get back to you or that you’re concerned that they don’t know how to they don’t know the legislation well enough to be able to handle issues or or it might be that you’ve been managing a property yourself and then scenarios are coming up, which you don’t know how to deal with. So it really depends on where you’re at in your investment journey. Yeah, but the list of questions that we let’s go through those. Okay, great. So the ones I’ve got here is how do you market available properties for lease so that’s probably and that really came back to that story we were talking about before with the property that was on the market for a long time. So that property had really poor photos. And it was sitting at the bottom of like in you know, on page four of, you know, realestate.com and you know, so all those types of things the owner wasn’t getting any feedback at all after any inspection wasn’t hearing from the agent. So all those types of things are so important. So someone’s asking that question, what’s
the sort of good response that they would want to hear back?
Yes. So in terms of how is your property marketed, you’d want to know that they’re getting professional photography, ideally, floor plans, having you know, a 360 degree virtual walkthrough to really helps to qualify tenants that extra step, having an online booking system, accepting online application forms is really important, because it makes it easier for people to apply having a process where they follow up after the tenants have inspected. Now, do they have a database of tenants that are ready and waiting for properties that are similar to yours? How do they market properties? So is it going to be on you know, realestate.com? domain? How many other websites? Is it going to be on? Does it sit at the top of those searches? So they’re the types of things do they have a leasing manager? So someone whose dedicated job is to rent those properties? And are they available, like on a Saturday to show properties as well? What time do they do viewings to on a Saturday, so they’re so important, I just don’t understand agents who don’t work Saturdays. That’s how busiest day of the week, we work till five in the afternoon. And there’s typically two to three people out there showing properties all day. And it’s just so important. So,
so what’s what’s a leasing agent? Yeah,
a leasing agent is someone whose dedicated role is to find tenants. So that’s purely their role and person in our office. She’s been here for over three years. She’s been in the industry for over 12 years. So she understands, typically like what the tenants are looking for, she’s able to match tenants to properties. So that is really important. If you’ve got a property managers say managing 150 properties, and they are doing the leasing as well. They might not be they might not have the time to show a property when a tenant wants to they might have, you know, routine inspections, or they might have an entry or vacate. So maybe, and often, what happens is leasing goes to the backburner because it’s not a priority, and they’ve got other tasks are focusing on.
Okay. So yes, I guess people are a good framework to start with, there’s obviously a lot there. But people can pause and rewind, if they want to go through that again,
a little bit, I provide the list. But the other thing is, you know, how are they going to vet tenants? So what so when they’re checking tenants is against references or dot blacklist databases? In your How do they make sure that they’re getting a quality tenant? And what information do they ask from a tenant? What technology do they use to manage properties? And will they have an online portal? So as an owner, do you have an online portal does tenant do tenants have an online portal where you can see everything? So it’s really transparent? To most rental managers have that these days? They should? And that’s but that’s definitely a question you should be asking. Because really, that’s what that portal will show you where the rents paid up to in real time. So if you jump online at 10 o’clock at night, you can see where the rent is paid to. So definitely you want transparency. How to tenants report maintenance, and how would you deal with that issue is to say there’s a leaking tab, you know, those types of things, who will be your property manager, it’s probably a really important thing. So unfortunately, we’re in an industry where the average turnover of staff is typically every six months in property management. So it’s really important to make sure you know, who you’ll be dealing with, how long they’ve been there for, and are they going to be the same person managing the ingoing versus the outgoing tenant? Because that’s when errors can happen, things get get missed.
What do you mean ingoing versus outgoing? Do you mean when there’s a changeover? Someone’s moving out? Someone’s moving in?
Yes, yeah. So if you’ve got a property manager who’s put the tenants in, they’ve done the entry condition report, and they’ve managed that tenancy the whole way through, and then they’ve joined the vacate at the end, they’ve also got that relationship with the tenant, you know them as well. They’ve done the entry condition report, so they know what the condition of the property was at the beginning, versus how the property is left at the end, it’s much more likely that they’re going to, everything’s going to be picked up and it’s gonna be much more thorough,
I still find it amazing that you guys do all those condition reports. I try and go through them and all the photos and everything. And it’s like, my brain just does not work this way.
Unknown Speaker 9:20
Because you enjoy that
I can’t do that much attention to detail. That’s not me. Yeah,
I know. And that and that’s the thing. Like you’ve got to be able to pick up things and know Okay, yes, that’s wear and tear, or this is maintenance or that’s damage, so deciphering between those and understand the legislation around that. Yes, I think other questions, you know, how frequently Will you inspect my property? So how often are you going to be doing the routine inspection? When will be the first inspection? What training programs do invest in for your team? And also, what training Do you offer your team to make sure they stay up to date with the legislation? So what’s the process for handling rental income So if your tenants behind in rent, do you contact them from one day behind? Do you contact them for five days behind? So what’s that process?
What is a good process for that? Like, what should people be looking for with that? Yeah,
I really think, you know, one to two days behind, tenants should say one day behind, they should at least be getting an email to notify them that they’re behind. Often, in that case, it’s you know, that the bank has been an issue with the bank or daylight savings, or perhaps it slipped their mind, two days behind a phone call and an email. And then if it starts to get to the point where it’s, you know, five days behind six days, seven days, so eight days, it’s a breach charter. So obviously, the owner is notified as well as you, the tenant, but it’s rare that it gets to that stage. You know, obviously, we don’t have anyone at that point. But we’re dealing with humans, and it can get things can happen in life. And it’s really important to get on the front foot, if a tenant has you know, lost their job or situations happen where they can’t afford to pay the rent anymore, you’re best to discuss options of breaking that lease in order to minimize that loss. And make sure that, you know, it’s it it’s the tenant is aware of all their options. In that case, as opposed to maybe the tenants stressing about it not knowing what to do. And then it gets to the point where there’s, you know, two, three weeks vacancy, you end up at Keuka, trying to get a new, like trying to get a war in a position, you just don’t want to be there. So I think communication is really the key.
Yeah, to get through that. So you’re not having difficult situations like that. Honestly, yeah, the
communication part of it, like someone might have an illness where they can’t work for a few weeks. So being on the front foot of all that is so important. Just you know, burying your head in the sand and knowing attendance rents behind is just not not the best way to deal with that situation. So yeah, and I think whether asking an agent, whether they offer a service guarantee or or a promise, as to the level of service they’re going to offer, what backup staff do they have in the event that the property managers on holidays are sick? So is it that the emails don’t get checked? And that, you know, nothing gets done while they’re on two weeks late? Yeah? Or is someone going to jump in and do their work? And that knows, you know, that owner and their property? So it’s all those types of things? How frequently Will you communicate with me? How often will I expect to hear from you when my property is vacant? Yeah, so how will the agency Call me when there’s a problem? But I think, well, that’s
it, I guess, having those levels of communication, when issues come up is important. Because really, when things are going really well, you don’t need a lot of contact with your rental manager, because the rents getting paid the person taking care of the property, there’s not much to do or to discuss, but it’s when issues come up having good lines of communication, where you’re able to talk openly and transparently with your agent to solve that issue as quickly as possible.
Yes, definitely. And that’s when that’s when a good property manager, you’ll know when you’ve got a good property manager is when you have an issue.
Yeah. And I guess the last kind of thing to cover would be fees. And so obviously, people looking at managers will be you know, comparing the fees of property managers. How would someone go about comparing, okay, is this manager worth the extra money? Should I just go with the cheapest one?
Yes. I mean, I think it really comes back to your investment strategy. So if you’re a developer, and you plan on knocking that house down in, you know, a year’s time, and you don’t really care whether that, you know, you just you want to attend in there to pay the rent, but you don’t care how they look after it, you your investment, or your emotional attachment to that asset may not be as high as someone who’s moving out of their family home that you know, or it might be your first investment property. So I think it’s really comes back to value for money and understanding, okay, this is what I’m getting here. But, you know, often it could be a percent difference awake, which come You know, it might just be $5 a week difference. So I think it’s really understanding Okay, well, what are they going to do for me that others won’t? Who am I going to be dealing with? And how long have they been there? So I’m going to have consistency in that communication. And that person is going to know me and my property and what I expect. And I think it I would probably suggest choosing an agent based on value for money as opposed to the cheapest in the marketplace, because often the cheapest in the marketplace, those property that’s not a sustainable business model, that property manager might be managing, you know, 300 properties or something and maybe only getting paid 50,000 a year. And, you know, the level of care is probably not going to be there.
Well that’s it. It’s like the percentages are at around about the same and what they’re at because that’s what develops a sustainable business for rental managers with overhead costs with the staff and everything like that. So it’s like, if you go extremely below that someone’s They’re just getting started out, or they’re working themselves to the bone in order to manage that, which can be, you know, can lead to issues in the future. I like what you said about value for money. So rather than just saying, oh, the most expensive is obviously going to be the best, or the cheapest is going to be the best because they’re the cheapest. It’s like, Okay, look at the different fees you’ll be paying, and then look at, okay, what value am I actually getting for those fees? And then choose one that feels aligned with you and your strategy and what you want? What about like changing rental managers, if someone wants to do that? Is that a difficult process to do?
No, not at all. So the agent will actually handle that whole process for you. So they’ll send you a termination notice. So you as the owner, you’ll receive that, you just sign that. And then and then we’ll also send you a management agreement, once you’ve signed that, they’ll then send that termination notice to your current agent. And then from there, there’s typically like a 30 day is the normal changeover period. And then that the, the new agent would go to your previous agent and collect the file, they go and meet your tenant, they’d introduce themselves. So it is actually very straightforward. I think there’s a misconception out there that you have to wait until your tenants vacate, which is actually really the worst time to be changing agents because you’re, you’re having a changeover of tenants. So you’re doing a vacate inspection with tenants you don’t know as the new agent, you’re then trying to find you new tenants for that property. And you may not have advertising photos and things like that. So you are best to do that mid tenancy as opposed to be at the end of a tenancy. And the
easiest way to do is just contact the new rental manager, and then they manage it all for you.
They’ll handle that whole process. So it’s pretty hassle free and straightforward for you. And then that will just keep you updated. But I think really the key to whenever you’re engaging anyone service is really I’d suggest having a discussion with them. really asking a lot of questions and making sure you feel comfortable because this is a long term relationship. Ideally, most investors have, you know, have their property for the long term. So you want to make sure that you feel comfortable that that person is going to be able to help you they know what they’re doing and that they’re aligned with. Okay, you they understand what your outcomes are for your investment.
Yeah. So I think that’s given people a lot of information that they can use to find themselves or good rental manager, or in the situation, if they’re not happy with their rental manager, how to look for a new one. And then obviously, the process of you know, changing over just sounds so simple. So I really appreciate you coming on and sharing this with my audience and the people out there. How can people get in contact with you either they’ve got a property in Brisbane, and they’re looking at a rental manager, or they just want to find out more information.
Yeah. Thanks, Ryan. So just by jumping on our website, so rental results.com. Today, you our contact details are on there. My email is Lauren at rental results.com. Au. So feel free to reach out any questions more than happy to help. So
thank you. And thank you so much for coming on the channel. And we did we’ve done a couple of videos and they’ve all been super helpful. So we’ll have to have you back in the future. I’m sure people have a lot more questions around renting a property and doing it successfully.
Excellent. Thank you. I’d love to
Yeah, so there you go. guys go to rental results.com.au. If you want to learn more about that company, if you got a property in the Brisbane City area, you could use them as a rental manager. There’s also free checklist on their website as well where you can learn more about investment goals or renting out your property there. So it’s a great resource. Go ahead, check that out. Otherwise, check out one of the other videos me and mine have done on renting properties, making sure your property is rented and getting the best bang for your buck in terms of money as well. So go ahead and check them out. And until next time, stay positive