Cameron has lived in Western Sydney his whole life, so when he bought his first investment property, he chose a nearby suburb that he was familiar with. Within a few years, he was able to access the equity in his first investment property and buy a second investment property, also in Western Sydney. Cameron worked really hard to build up his property investment portfolio, so naturally, he wanted to protect it. He knew he didn’t have time to manage the property himself, but he wasn’t sure if paying a property manager was worth the cost. He’d heard that fees can vary greatly between agencies – should he just go with the lowest fee? Would that be the best choice for his investment?
If Cameron’s story sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a common one. Property owners naturally want to see the greatest possible returns on their investment properties. But sadly, many people think that this can be achieved by choosing the cheapest property management option. By focusing solely on price they’re misunderstanding the main crux of what it means to have an investment property managed and, as a result, they’re unable to get an accurate comparison of like for like.
Getting the Right Information
In Cameron’s case, he realised that he needed more information. It wasn’t enough to just compare ‘Price A’ with ‘Price B’. Doing so would be like comparing a second-hand Hyundai with a brand-new Mercedes. So, Cameron started asking questions. In doing so, he was able to determine who was offering transparent, high-value service at a reasonable price…and who was disguising bad property management behind a smokescreen of “discounted” fees.
Property Management Fees
When comparing property management fees, Cameron looked for prices that were reasonable and market competitive. He asked what services were included and what kind of industry experience the property manager had. He realised that, while there’s nothing wrong with fair negotiations, a property manager that is reasonably compensated would be working harder for his investment than one with little financial incentive. And he started to appreciate that below-average pricing = below-average service.
How to Identify High-Quality Property Management
The more research Cameron did, the more easily he was able to identify high-quality property management. He started to look at:
- Quality: Does the agent understand what quality service is? Are they dedicated to achieving the best possible result, not just the quickest or easiest result?
- Skill: Does the agent have both the capacity and the skill necessary to achieve an above-average market rate for your investment property? Do they have a timeline that they work to when finding and evaluating a new tenant?
- Strategy: Does the agent have a strategy in place to prevent a tenant from going into rent arrears or do they rely on stressful hearings at the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)? Do they look for long-term tenants, understanding that a 12-month lease means a 50% reduction in fees for the investor when compared with a 6-month lease?
- Documentation: Do they pay meticulous attention when completing and filing the necessary paperwork? Do they understand the importance of accurate documentation, realising that incorrect paperwork could seriously jeopardise your valuable asset?
Fortunately, Cameron’s story has a happy ending. By taking the time to compare property management companies he was able to weed out the agencies with hidden fees and poor management strategies. He found a property manager who he felt comfortable with and who agreed to manage his investment property at a fair and reasonable rate. An agent who delivered high-quality service, had exceptional skills, a well-planned strategy and a thorough documentation process. As a result, both of Cameron’s investment properties have had lower vacancy rates, long-term tenants and rent that is always paid on time.
Thank You Real Estate offer boutique property management services to Sydney investors. Our experienced property managers are committed to providing exceptional service at a fair price, always working hard to ensure your investment is delivering the highest possible return.