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21 questions to ask when choosing a Property Manager

Residential rental property

Finding a good property manager is hard and hiring the wrong one can be a difficult and costly lesson…

So, how exactly do you find a quality property manager?

Simply put… just like any other job opening – you interview them!

We’ve gone through and prepared a list of questions all landlords should ask before appointing an agent to look after their most valuable asset. Once you know the answers to these questions, you’ll have a true idea of the value each individual property manager can provide.

“A quality property manager will help maximise your rental yield”

Our advice is that quality should always be a primary motivator when selecting a property manager. Of course price is still an important factor, but basing your decision solely on fees, is not the best way to go about it.

Can you get a quality property manager at a discount price? We’ll let you decide – Have a read through our list of questions to get an idea of the difference a quality property manager will make:

  1. How many properties will my property manager oversee?

    This is arguably the most important question any landlord can ask. Even the most qualified property manager will provide substandard service if they manage too many properties. The size of a portfolio has a direct correlation with the quality of service that can be offered.

    The vast majority of property managers oversee approximately 150 properties – give or take. However, you’ll find ‘cut-price’ agencies oversee around 200 properties and often as many as 250+.

    It is our position that a property manager overseeing more than 150 properties simply cannot provide a premium service. Things may appear to be going smoothly for a period of time, but the moment you, your property or tenants require additional attention, the difference becomes evident.

    Insufficient time in a property managers schedule is the primary cause of most issues and complaints. Whether it’s not following correct procedures, placing the wrong tenant in a property, extended vacancy periods or just poor communication, it can all stem from a property manager being overloaded with work.

    It’s important to do your research! When researching agencies online, we recommend paying less attention to good online reviews – they’re easy to fake. Paying particular attention to any bad reviews will give you a better idea if there are any red flags.

    What we do: Our portfolios are capped at 99 properties to ensure service excellence at all times.

  2. What are your fees? What will my total annual cost be?

    Maximimise your rental yield

    Property management agencies in Brisbane generally charge anywhere from 5.5% to 12% commission (in theory). However, it can be very misleading to focus solely on the commission as many agencies charge a range of ‘hidden fees’ for things like lease renewals, inspections or even handling bills.

    An agency that charges 5.5% commission isn’t necessarily cheaper than an agency that charges 8.8%. That’s why it’s important to work out exactly what you’ll be paying per a year when comparing services.

    A quality property manager is worth their weight in gold. That’s why it’s important to consider how a good property manager can save you money. For example, reducing your vacancy period by ONLY one week, is equivalent to roughly 2% commission over the course of a year.

    It’s also vital to consider how a poor quality property manager can cost you money. Whether it’s extended vacancy periods, mismanagement, tenants damaging your property, or the extra visits to a psychiatrist as a result of the stress your property manager has caused 😛

    Fees are obviously a determining factor for any investor, but it’s about finding the perfect mix of price and added value. By going with the cheapest agency, you’re guaranteed to hire a property manager that’s managing a huge portfolio resulting in a substandard service – this will cost a landlord in the long run.

    What we charge: If you’d like some more details about our fees, just reach out in the live chat window, or visit our contact page.

  3. What added value will your agency provide?

    Every agency should have their unique selling point or point of difference. It’s important to know what it is so you can compare what value each agency provides before comparing fees.

    What we provide: We provide upgraded advertising on realestate.com.au and Domain at our own expense – this usually costs $200-$300. We manage small portfolios to guarantee quality service. We work late and conduct private inspections until 8pm in order to keep vacancy rates minimal for our landlords. We provide a diligent and highly qualified property manager for all our landlords. We have a commitment to our clients and always act in their best interests by providing good advice to maximise rental yeilds – we do a lot more than just collect rent.

  4. How often do you schedule open homes?

    About Property Management open home signOpen homes are the best way for your investment property to reach the widest number of prospective tenants. They’re a simple way for prospective tenants to view your property without the additional step of booking a private inspection time with the agent – that’s why it’s no surprise a majority of interest originates from open homes.

    It’s vital that open homes are scheduled and Saturday mornings are generally the busiest period. Not everyone is available on Saturdays though, so it’s a good idea to also provide additional open home times during the week.

    What we do: We schedule two open homes per week. One on the Saturday and another during the week. On top of that, we offer the option of flexible private inspections to every prospective tenant – these can be booked as late as 8pm.

  5. Do you offer private inspections?

    Not everyone is available to attend open inspections. Many prospective tenants have busy work lives and awkward schedules which can make viewing a property difficult. It’s important to accommodate their needs by offering flexibility – after all, these tenants are often the best ones to snap up as they have good employment and less opportunities to view competing properties.

    What we do: We offer private inspections up until 8pm from Mon-Fri. We also offer private inspections during business hours on Saturdays and even on Sundays from time to time.

    Test us out! Pose as a prospective tenant to see how accommodating we are with inspection times and compare us with our competition.

  6. What days/times are your property managers available for inspections?

    How available is your property manager?As mentioned in the paragraphs above, accommodating the needs of prospective tenants is key to minimising a vacancy period. It makes sense that a property manager with better availability will show more prospective tenants through your property and secure a tenant faster.

    Every agency is going to claim they’re the bees knees, so don’t just trust their word! We recommend you pick up the phone and test them out. See how accommodating they are to show you through a rental property. Doing so will give you a true idea about how hard they are going to work for you.

    What we do: We accommodate the needs of all prospective tenants. We’re available until 8pm on weekdays, as well as Saturdays and even Sundays when required.

  7. Who will be managing my property?

    Most real estate agencies employ a Business Development Manager (BDM). Their role is solely to meet landlords like yourself and win your business. The BDM will often provide an impressive sales pitch, but that’s not much good if your property is ultimately managed by an inexperienced property manager.

    Ask whether you will have an individual property manager working on your property full time or whether there is a pool of task based property managers who float across all of the properties the agency manages. Ask if you can interview the property manager(s) directly before committing to a decision.

    What we do: With our agency, it’s the business owners managing your property. We don’t employ a separate BDM – what you see is what you get.

  8. What experience will my property manager have?

    At some stage, even the best tenants can present considerable challenges and the way your property manager handles these challenges can have an impact on your investment. It’s vital you ask every property manager the two most important questions; what experience do you have and how long have you been a property manager at your current real estate agency?

    Ensuring your property manager is experienced is a no-brainer, but many landlords don’t consider how long they have been working at the agency. Property management is a high turn-over role and changing property managers always has a negative impact on a portfolio, so it helps if you’re confident your property manager will still be there in years to come.

    What we do: Firstly, you don’t need to worry about property manager changes with our agency. At About Property Management it’s the business owners managing your property, so we’re not going anywhere.

    With regards to experience, Melissa Majewski began her real estate career in 2008 and is highly experienced in all things property management. Robert Majewski launched About Property Management with Melissa in 2017 – his business background combined with Melissa’s extensive property management experience is the perfect mix which guarantees service excellence to all clients.

  9. How long have your property managers worked for your agency?

    Property management is a high turnover role and many agencies suffer from a revolving door of property managers. It goes without saying that constant staff changes are not a positive thing when it comes to looking after your most valuable investment. Every time there’s a change, knowledge about your tenants and property gets lost and things may get overlooked. 

    Inevitably, this leads to frustration from tenants and landlords. That’s why we think it’s important that you’re confident your property manager will be there in years to come.

    What we do: You don’t need to worry about property manager changes with About Property Management. With our agency, it’s the business owners managing your property and we’re not going anywhere.

  10. How frequently do you conduct routine inspections?

    Ask how often routine inspections are conducted and what your property manager checks during inspections. You should also receive a written report with photos to keep you up to date on the condition of your property.

    Good property managers look after your investment

    Queensland legislation states that routine inspections must not be conducted more than once in a 3 month period, so 3-4 inspections per year is generally the optimal number and ensures your property is well looked after.

    What we do: We conduct the initial inspection in the first 2 months to make sure there’s no issues that need to be addressed. After the initial inspection, we conduct routine inspections of the property every three to four months. For tenancies that require close monitoring, we ensure we conduct the maximum inspections permitted by legislation.

    We check room by room and item by item, then record notes for any issues we find. We make sure the tenant is keeping the property damage-free and clean. We take photos for your reference and will note down any repairs or maintenance that needs to be completed.

    We contact our landlords after routine inspections to keep them up to date. A detailed report with photos is made available via the Owners Portal and it details any items which require attention.

  11. Check online reviews

    It’s important to take a look at the online reviews a real estate agency receives. It’s our view that Google Business Profiles are the most reliable review platform to gauge genuine reviews, but it’s still reasonably easy to fake good reviews. That’s why we recommend paying particular attention to the bad reviews rather than good reviews.

    Does your property manager have good online reviews?

    Tenants will often proclaim their dissatisfaction and this can provide some insight to a real estate agency’s professional standards. Just bear in mind that bad reviews are also written by tenants who may have breached the terms of their tenancy agreement. That said, if all the reviews reflect a long-term tendency to not respond to maintenance requests, phone calls, emails and the like, there’s probably a good chance the standard of property management is not going to impress you either.

    Negative reviews from landlords are not as frequent, so seeing a number of them is usually a red flag. It also pays to be sceptical of businesses with an abnormally large number of reviews. We recommend checking dates and verifying that the number of reviews is consistent over an extensive period. If you notice primarily bad reviews dating back a few years, followed by a flood of 5 star reviews over the course of 6 months – this may be a red flag. A business can also delete a profile and start from scratch, so it’s worth keeping that in mind and confirming that reviews go back at least a year or two. 

    What we do: We pride ourselves on quality service and we’re proud to say we maintain a perfect rating on Google, Oneflare, True Local and Facebook – Check us out.

  12. What is your current tenant arrears?

    Ask your property manager what percentage of tenants are currently in arrears. If the property manager doesn’t know or the figure is much higher than a couple of percent, be wary.

    What we do: We follow a strict arrears policy to ensure we always maintain an industry leading rent arrears percentage. We’re proud to say our arrears averages well below 1% at the time of writing this blog – please feel free to contact us if you would like to know our current arrears.

  13. How do you screen prospective tenants?

    Does your property manager source quality tenants?Upon receipt of written applications from prospective tenants, a good property manager will follow strict procedures. They should ensure you are provided with feedback after a thorough check of references, credit worthiness, employment and previous rental history. Tenant history should be checked via a variety of national tenancy databases as well as references from the tenants previous real estate agencies. As a landlord, you should be provided with all this information before choosing your tenant.

    When interviewing a property manager, ask to have their procedures explained to you.

    What we do: Since we’re both the property managers and directors of our agency, we have a vested interest in placing the right tenants in your property. You can be confident that we follow all the best practices mentioned above. We even conduct social media checks which can reveal a lot of useful information about a prospective tenant.

  14. Do you outsource entry, routine or exit inspections?

    In recent years we’ve noticed a trend emerge. Many agencies are cutting staff expenses by outsourcing inspections to third party companies. These companies take care of all the Entry Condition Reports, Exit Condition Reports and also conduct Routine Inspections.

    Inspections are arguably the most vital part of property management and they’re a time for your property manager to see the condition of your property. Whether it’s a Routine Inspection or an Entry/Exit Condition Report, it is our view that outsourcing these tasks is to the detriment of the client and their investment property.

    What we do: We do not outsource any tasks – the buck stops with us.

  15. Do you outsource any property management tasks?

    Many agencies outsource a range of clerical work to save on staff expenses. This can range from handling inquiries from prospective tenants to processing lease applications or even trust accounting. We agree that outsourcing some very menial tasks may not affect the client negatively, however, important tasks such as processing lease applications should be a task handled by the property manager.

    It’s important to know what tasks are outsourced by your property manager. It will give you a good idea about their attention to detail.

    What we do: We do not outsource any property management tasks – the buck stops with us.

  16. Do I get a direct mobile number to my property manager?

    If you’ve ever dealt with a large task-based agency and found it frustrating getting information from different departments, then you’ll understand how valuable a single point of contact can be – especially if they’re easily contactable via a mobile number.

    Can you contact your property manager easily?

    It’s also important to distinguish the type of contact you have. With some agencies it may be a senior property manager that communicates with all the various departments. With other agencies you may be dealing directly with the property manager that handles everything (ie, they conduct the routine inspections themselves and personally know your property and tenants).

    Speaking directly with the agent that knows you, your property and tenants personally, is a big plus. It means you receive accurate information at all times and things aren’t overlooked or miscommunicated between departments.

    What we do: When you call the mobile number listed on our website, you speak directly with the business owner who is the same person that manages your property.

  17. Can I speak with any of your current clients?

    There’s nothing better than a friend referring you to a business based on their experiences. You get to avoid the tedious process of researching agencies and worrying about choosing a lemon.

    If you’re on this blog, I’m guessing you probably don’t have that luxury and you’re going down the research route. Maybe your friends have only had experiences ranging from average to bad and aren’t comfortable making a recommendation… or maybe you’ve been burnt by your current agency.

    Everyone knows a business will paint a glowing picture about themselves even if it’s not true – the real estate industry is definitely no exception. Online reviews are also easily faked. So how do you know what businesses you can trust? If you can’t get some reliable first-hand feedback from your friends, then why not do the next best thing and ask to speak to some current clients?

    What we do: We stick to our word when we promise great service. We have excellent relationships with all our landlords and would be more than happy to put you in touch with some of our clients – Just reach out and we’ll arrange a phone call.

  18. Do you offer an Online Portal?

    Online Owners Portal for landlordsOnline Portals can be great for compiling everything about your property in one place for you to view at any time of the day – such as financials, photos, documents or routine inspection reports. Tenants also love them because they can check their paid-to-dates, report maintenance and download statements any time they want.

    In saying that, Online Portals are not everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re a bit old fashioned and prefer statements posted to your letterbox, then make sure you’re still offered that option.

    What we do: We use all the latest technologies to ensure we manage our clients properties effectively. All our landlords and tenant have access to their own Online Portal. We also cater to clients that prefer doing things the old fashioned way.

  19. Can you handle bills such as rates and water?

    Does your property manager handle billing on behalf of landlordsMany property investors like to have their bills sent directly to their agent and paid from the rent that’s collected. Doing so means all their expenses appear on one statement at tax time and also eliminates the headache of ensuring bills are paid.

    Most agencies will provide this service, but be sure to check if there’s an additional fee.

    What we do: We provide this service as standard and there’s no additional charge.

  20. Do you charge a maintenance fee?

    Some agencies tack on a charge for all repair bills. This is usually referred to as ‘Maintenance Fee’ and usually adds 5-10% to the invoice cost.

    What we do: We don’t charge a maintenance fee.

  21. Do you have a dedicated property management department?

    For many real estate agencies, the core focus is selling properties. To these agencies, property management is a sideline. Ensure the agency you hire has a dedicated property management department staffed by trained experts.

    What we do: We’re property management specialists. Property management is all we do, so looking after your investment property is always our number one priority.


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