I have often been asked by investors the question; “Why would I choose a property management professional to manage my property over managing the property myself?”
My simple answer is, what is the cost of your time? That is, do you have time to invest in understanding the legislation and keep on top of changes, understand market forces, time to check rent payments daily, do inspections, provide a lettings service and ensure you find the right person for your investment, deal with emergencies even when you are trying to have family time or a holiday? If the answer to any of these is “no” then you need to give strong consideration to investing in a property manager who, amazingly, costs about the same as a decent cup of coffee a day.
Many property management companies throughout New Zealand provide professional and cost effective management service options for investors. Successful companies whether big, medium or small invest in their people, their systems and their understanding of property management legislation and market forces to empower their teams with the direct benefit being to their investor clients.
One of the key aspects of a company doing a great job for its clients is its culture. Investors should consider who is leading the company and who is leading the property management division or department. Leaders should very passionate about property, have great ethics and values, walk the values, be organized and systematic, value their people and have a deep and logical understanding of the legislation in order to be able to continue to develop their people, systems and processes to benefit their clients.
Another key aspect is communication. As an investor, if you haven’t heard from your property manager for some time, you should be concerned. Most good property managers will strike a balance of the level of communication you would like from them. Have a discussion at the outset about your preferences – i.e. from wanting to know everything to just letting you know if there is a problem where your approval may be required. Let your property manager know whether you like to hear from them by phone or email and sometimes in person for a catch up is gold.
Check your property management companies associated affiliations and professional memberships. For example, if they are a member of the Real Estate Institute they will form part of a code of conduct and ethics to be observed in the provision of property management services. Additionally, a REINZ member must operate a trust account and have client monies deposited into that account. The trust account must audited, and the audit must be made available to REINZ upon their request. Further, a REINZ member must hold professional indemnity insurance to a minimum prescribed standard and evidence of the certificate of insurance is to be provided to REINZ upon their request.
If the property management company is a member of the Independent Property Managers Association, they too will need to abide by a set of criteria, rules and ethics in property management.
Leading Property Managers of NZ also have a code of practice that their members are expected to comply with.
Property management professionals are definitely worth considering. Good operators aim to make investing in property easy as they do all the hard day to day work leaving the investor time to focus on the big picture and other tangible time investments.