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Relationships in life are full of ‘ups and downs’, a key relationship in the Real Estate Industry exists between Landlords & Property Managers.
Some common reasons for the relationship to breakdown between Property Management firms and their Landlords is simply because someone is unhappy. Unhappiness can be caused by ‘poor service’, communication break downs, lack of communication and mistakes by inexperienced staff.
Some property management agencies have too high a ratio i.e. properties to property manager and just simply cannot provide the level of service landlords are entitled to. This is where a communication breakdown can occur. It’s hard to keep a good relationship if you are not communicating. Some Landlords report that their agent does not return calls or emails, they are hard to get a hold of or simply don’t like the way they may be treated, some Landlords prefer a phone call rather than email, others prefer email as a mode of communication.
Other reasons for communication break down and unhappy clients is constant change of property managers. This can also be related to the above, when property managers have too many properties and not enough staff to assist they could become stressed and leave the agency. We find real estate agencies managing large volumes of properties and not enough staff tend to have a very high staff turnover and this means the landlords end up dealing with several different property managers over a short period and issues may not be relayed correctly and items missed which could result in errors and ultimately a termination of management agreement.
Maintaining your investment property is also very important, as this is what you ultimately are employing your agents to do on your behalf. When agents get too busy your property can fall into disrepair. If managers aren’t reporting issues relating to your property this could result in a backlog of maintenance, lack of reporting maintenance during routine inspections and at final inspections can add up to higher expenses for the landlords in the long run. The cost of maintenance never gets any cheaper.
One of the main reasons tenants vacate is because maintenance isn’t getting done.If a thorough inspection isn’t conducted tenants could be leaving your property in worse condition to what they entered it. If your agent doesn’t pursue these items then you may be left footing cleaning or maintenance bills. We have heard of owners changing agencies due to agents claiming everything as ‘wear and tear’ when it was cleaning issues & damages caused by the tenant. Asking your agent on how they deal with ‘bad tenants’ is important.
Agents not chasing tenants for rent arrears is also an issue that would result in changing agents. This could also come from not doing thorough tenancy screening. If proper tenancy screening isn’t conducted or agents are putting ‘anybody’ into your property even when they have bad references, this could potentially be a hazard to your investment, requiring you to top up your mortgage payment & having to terminate bad tenants leaving you out of pocket for reletting advertising costs and an unknown vacancy period.
Advertising is also very important. If your agent is not advertising your property at the current market rent then your property could be ‘leapfrogged’ by other listings. You must also check the quality of marketing photos and advertising copy to properly describe your investment; ask them how they market the property e.g. what websites they advertise on, do they for lease signs or social media to promote your property? Do they keep owners updated on the leasing process? We have heard of some owners properties being vacant for months with no feedback, recommendations or updates. If the property is not marketed correctly at the current market rent you could be left out of pocket, with no tenant, which potentially could cost you thousands.
To avoid any of these types of issues occurring it’s always good to interview your potential agent, ask them how many properties they currently manage and how many property managers they have, or do they have different departments that handle different workloads to see if they have a good job flow to property manager ratio. It is also a good idea to ask them about certain scenarios you may be concerned about to see how they as an agency would handle these.
Changing managing agents is simple. This is done by tendering notice to end the management agreement in writing. During the notice period, usually 30 days, we suggest you seek a referral for a new Agent. Friends & family are a good place to start, alternatively Google an Agent and read their reviews.
Written and syndicated by
– Baxton Media.
We hope you enjoyed this article
The information contained in this article is based on the authors opinion only and is of a general nature which is not indicative of future results or events and does not consider your personal situation or particular needs. Professional advice should always be sought relevant to your circumstances.
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