Finding an agent that fits with your unique needs can seem a daunting task, especially for new investors. After all, there are many competing agencies to choose from and, unfortunately, until you try one it can be hard to see how they fit with your needs. It’s a great idea to start by talking to other investors who may be able to recommend an agent that has helped them achieve success.
However, if you find yourself on your own, here are a couple of tips on what to do and how to get started:
- Research the internet to find agencies that service your area. This does not necessarily mean it has to be an agent based in your suburb, as current technologies now allow property management businesses to cover larger areas.
- Look for agents who are recognised by the industry and have won awards within their company or from state-based real estate institutes, for example, the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).
- A professional property management division will have a clear, user-friendly web page that is up-to-date and informative. Avoid tardy or out-dated pages as this is generally a good indication of how progressive the agency is and how much attention they are likely to put in to marketing their business and your investment property. Marketing will become one of the most important attributes an agency can offer when the time comes for finding tenants for your investment property.
Here a few questions you might like to ask the department manager or property manager:
- How long have they been a property manager?
- How many properties do they manage?
- Do they engage external professional consultants to help take the department to the next level?
- What formal training have they undertaken?
- What procedural systems do they have in place?
- (If possible, request to see a copy of any standard forms or checklists used within the office to minimise human error.)
- Do they attend regular training courses to keep up-to-date with legislation and industry changes?
- Are they a member of the Real Estate Institute?
- How do they communicate with property owners? (Do they publish regular newsletters or send letters when there has been a change in the tenancy?)
- Do they hand out keys to prospective tenants or do they accompany them to the property?
- Can they present you with testimonial letters from current and previous clients?
- What is their policy on managing arrears?
- When will you receive your money?
- How often do they carry out fair market rent reviews?
- How will they maximise your return and optimise capital growth?
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