As an Australian or New Zealander, investing in property in the U.S. has so many benefits. But having to coordinate with renters when you’re not even in the same time zone can feel impossible. What if they have urgent concerns? Coordinating a solution for them might take days with time zone delays, or might mean you need to be on call 24/7.
This is just one scenario that could easily be solved if you have a property manager you trust on the ground. A property manager will handle your property for you and take care of rentals on your behalf. Having someone on the ground in the States will make it easier for you and relieve you of the burden of having to oversee the property from a completely different continent.
A trustworthy property manager will also keep you updated on the status of your property and be able to step in if there are rental prospects. On the flip side, if you employ someone who isn’t loyal or dedicated to the job, you run the risk of not knowing what’s going on with your property and being on the back foot when it comes to repairs, maintenance, and troubleshooting issues, potentially affecting your return on investment (ROI).
To know how trustworthy a property manager is you’ll need to go through a thorough screening process, reviewing references and past work in order to find someone who’s not only outstanding in their field, but also someone reliable.
What does a property manager do?
When you’re unable to manage the property yourself (i.e. it’s far from your location, you work full time, or you live overseas), you’ll need to hire a property manager. They’ll oversee the daily operations and, if vacant, will hold onto the keys until a renter is ready to inspect. At this point they will screen potential tenants for you and help you decide which tenant will be a good fit and take care of the property as if it was their own.
Landlords who are available and in close proximity to the property can still find great benefit in hiring a property manager because it takes a lot of emotion out for the investor. A property manager is a trained professional who can handle communications calmly and knows how to find solutions to property problems because they’ve done it before.
Even the best tenants may have complaints or need to bring something to your attention from time to time. It can be a great thing because it means you get to know about improvements that can be made. A property manager can look after these situations with faster turnarounds because they are close by, and can talk to the right agents to get the job completed, because they know the property and the industry so well.
Finding a good property manager means you can feel reassured by the fact that they have your best interest in mind and will apply their experience with overseeing your residential real estate investment.
Property managers also supervise any maintenance or changes you need to make to the property. In case the property needs repairs or upgrades, they’ll be your eyes and ears on the ground to coordinate with workers and make sure everything is finished to the highest quality. While technology makes it possible for you to see what’s going on via calls, it’s better to have someone physically present in order to make quick decisions on your behalf.
Rent collection (AKA your passive income), also falls into the property manager’s hands. They will make sure that rent comes in promptly every month. They’ll communicate with you right away in case there are problems with rent and help you decide the best way to resolve any issues.
Why a good property manager is necessary when investing in residential real estate
Property managers take care of everything property-related for you, which is necessary when you can’t jump on a plane and fly over to oversee a burst pipe.
With a property manager on your team, you’ll have someone to oversee your property, provide feedback, and help with decision making using local knowledge and resources. They have your best interest at heart and will follow through with your vision despite how far away you are.
Having that proximity to the property makes it easier on both of you. In case anything unexpected happens, they can be there in a heartbeat. If a tenant needs something, your property manager is ready to deal with them personally and without having to call you in the middle of the night.
Enforcing policies for the tenant is crucial too because it keeps the property well-maintained. Property managers are important in this aspect because they can keep a close eye on tenants and get back to you if any policies are in violation or there is any behaviour you need to take further action on. On the flip side, they also take care of any requirements the tenants have, to ensure you are in compliance with policies as the landlord as well.
Due diligence on your property manager’s history is essential to avoid difficulties, or even financial troubles. While we pride ourselves on exceptional hiring and overseeing of property managers, from time to time a bad apple does pop up.
We’ve had instances in the past where bad property managers didn’t do their job. In one case, there was just no communication, we had to constantly chase them for monthly statements and rental payments. In that case, the tenant even vacated the property and no one was informed.
On another occasion, a property manager consistently charged for repairs and call-outs to a number of properties when the properties were all fully renovated prior to tenants moving in. We couldn’t necessarily prove these were illegitimate expenses, but we chose to change managers anyway.
Finding a good property manager is important to avoid these situations and bring about the best possible environment for everyone involved with the property. They handle the most important aspects of the property so having an experienced and trustworthy manager will ease the pressure off yourself and increase the likelihood of success.
How to find a good property manager
Potentially, the most difficult part of this process is not finding a property manager (there are hundreds available) but finding the right property manager for you. There are hundreds of people who may fit the description on paper but they won’t always be compatible with you or your preferred management style. You may not like how they screen tenants or how they oversee operations, so being selective is important at this stage.
Here are some steps you can take to find a good property manager:
- Find reputable property managers in the area
- Visit their other properties
- Ask friends and family for referrals
- Research online
- Interview more than just one person for the job
Remember that we can help you with this process as we already have a wide network of property managers, real estate agents, and maintenance professionals we can tap into who have proven track records of work done with us previously.
Once you’ve shortlisted some people for the position, you need to know more about them and their management style, such as:
- Their experience with handling residential properties
- Their screening process for tenants
- How they will go about contacting you (and how frequently)
Finding a property manager you can trust who can represent you at a local level and tend to your U.S. residential property is essential for maintaining your investment and your peace of mind. It can feel daunting to have to leave your property to someone else and hand them the keys but, if you find a reputable person for the job, you can rest easy knowing that it will be taken care of for you.
To get more in depth information on finding a good Property manager, we have a training guide on exactly this topic! Click here to download a free copy.