- Do you have a qualification in property management?
“This is an important question because, in SA at least, there are no legal requirements for property managers to have any qualifications,” says Xenia Ioannou, principal of ALEXA Real Estate, a boutique agency in Norwood, SA.
- Is the principal of the real estate agency personally involved in the property management division?
Many principals are too busy being real estate sales people to even be principals, let alone oversee what is going on in the “less profitable” property management division, Ioannou warns. “When this happens and the management is left up to an inexperienced or unqualified property manager, the effectiveness of management can be compromised.”
- How many years experience do you have?
It is important to establish how long they have been at the current agency. “Property manager burnout is a big issue in this industry, and agencies that offer great salary incentives and good office support for the property manager tend to get better service and happier staff,” she says.
- How many properties does each property manager manage?
Some property managers can handle 150 properties, because the agency principal is personally involved and there is adequate office support and systems. In contrast, there are property managers barely capable of managing a rent roll of 60 properties, because the agency principal offers no support, there are no office systems in place and staff are not rewarded adequately.
- How will you screen potential tenants?
“There are a number of steps an agency can take to ensure that your asset is protected, including an effective screening procedure for tenants,” Ioannou advises. Ask: how detailed is the agency’s tenant application form? Do they cross check landlines, rather than just ringing mobile phones?
- How are tenants treated?
It is important to choose an agency that is fair on both sides, Ioannou says. Unfairly treated tenants leave causing you money through vacancies. Ioannou suggests you find out how quickly maintenance issues are dealt with, as this is a common complaint from tenants. “Is the agency flexible enough to show tenants through their listed rentals after hours and on weekends?” she adds. “This is a good sign for tenants, but also for you as an investor, because you want to ensure that employed tenants are given priority.”