Gold Coast Real Estate: Property Management Edition

15 Important Questions to Ask When Selecting the Best Property Manager on the Gold Coast for You.

Experienced Property Manager Christina Longstaff, principal licensee of Locate Property Gold Coast, has compiled this article to give you, as the home owner,” the right: You must ask questions when appointing the best Gold Coast property manager for you.

In this post, I have compiled a list of what I believe to be the 15 must-ask questions when deciding on your property management company.

1) Is the Gold Coast Real Estate Agency mostly focused on property management?

You need to be a shrewd investor who thinks beyond current circumstances to find and select the ideal property management team. There is more to consider than just finding the best property manager in your property’s immediate suburb.

Selecting a property management business that focuses heavily on property management is a great way to protect your investment and make a skills-based decision. Many real estate businesses, particularly those that use a franchise structure, have an inclination to focus more on the area of the business that is usually thought to be more lucrative. That is, the sales department.

Property managers that usually work for those firms often lack the motivation and attention to detail needed to provide the finest property management experience for you and your tenants.

If, as an investor, you want to obtain the greatest return on your investment when buying real estate on the Gold Coast, you should select a real estate company that provides the full suite of services required to run an exhaustive and compliant property management business.

2) Who is overseas for the operation?

Rather than having experience in rentals, the general manager or business owner of most Gold Coast real estate agencies usually has experience in sales. A rental department and a sales division are the two departments found in most real estate companies. The day-to-day rental operations are left in the hands of a property manager who, to put it simply, is unprepared for the problems of operating a large-scale property management organisation, as the owner is generally solely focused on the sales section. 

Their attention is frequently directed towards the sales department because of its higher dollar turnover. Because the property management division is a distinct business, daily activities are usually more difficult and time-consuming. It has unique difficulties and calls for trained personnel who are knowledgeable about the difficulties that contemporary property management companies face.

One may discover that an organisation whose director is actively involved in the property management division takes property management seriously and participates in the division’s daily operations. Because of this, these businesses usually run more smoothly, with less complaints, more resources, and a happier, more satisfied staff.

In other words, a well-run property management company typically results in a higher nett income position for you as the landlord and fewer interactions over things that can be tiresome and annoying.

3) Who will be in charge of looking after my property?

Real estate companies typically hire business development managers (BDMs) to meet with landlords like you, and they frequently bring a compelling sales pitch. However, it is a serious red flag if the property manager overseeing your home isn’t the person you are meeting with, if not initially, very soon after.

It is critical that you know who will be managing your property in reality when the BDM has finished bringing you into the company. This individual will correspond with your prospective tenant and address any queries you may have as soon as the property is managed. 

Find out if the company employs task-based managers who rotate between properties or if a designated property manager will be in charge of managing your property. Prior to committing to that agency, ask the BDM if you can have a meeting and a conversation with the property manager.

If the property manager you meet has been with the agency for an extended period of time, it will be clear that they have made this their career choice rather than just their “next” job. Furthermore, it will show that the company has a solid track record of retaining staff, which is positive when searching for consistency from the company. A good property manager will soon leave an environment that has a bad reputation for rapid turnover and badly operated firms.

4) Internet reviews: What are the opinions of other landlords?

Before deciding on the right property management company, be sure to check out the Google business page reviews that the specific Gold Coast real estate company has received. Online Google reviews, according to 93% of respondents, have a major impact on their decision about whether to appoint that company or not.

It is common for landlords and tenants to express their complaints about a business on the Google Business Review page. This can frequently reveal a real estate company’s standards of professionalism and approach to certain circumstances. It is important to remember, nonetheless, that a tenant who has been held accountable and regularly in breach of the leasing agreement and all related legal requirements may occasionally be the reason for a negative review.

A real estate firm with a sizeable number of reviews should generally have a Google review rating of at least 4.5+ stars. This demonstrates that their personnel and service are capable of managing any issues that may come up and that they have done it in an efficient and quality manner.

5) How does your Gold Coast Property Manager provide access to crucial data?

Online portals and technology platforms are great resources for compiling and arranging all the relevant data and information about your property. Having this data at your fingertips is a must-have in the current era of property management. Leases, regular reports, maintenance, financial information, alerts, and the present tenant’s ledgers should all be easily accessible.  

Tenants also value the convenience of having round-the-clock access to relevant information and the ability to sign in. At any moment, they can download ledgers, add images, report any maintenance, and check their paid-for days.

Although they are a great tool for both landlords and tenants, not everyone is a good fit for online statements. Because of this, platforms ought to provide a choice for users who are more conventional and would prefer to get their statements by email rather than through a platform login.

6) How does the company handle the property’s financial management?

Purchasing Gold Coast real estate can be a fantastic method to boost your income and cash flow. However, it must be managed profitably in order to guarantee both the development of your investment and the stability of your income.

Your agent must practice careful financial management to guarantee a favourable return on your investment, but it can be challenging to become knowledgeable about these aspects before selecting the ideal property manager for you. Before hiring a potential company, we advise you to ask the questions listed below.

  • What kind of rent collection method do you have in place?
  • How are you going to manage any potential rental arrears?
  • As the landlord, when do you send me money—every week, every month, or all at once?
  • What are your management fees and are there any other hidden costs that are not disclosed?
  • What kind of insurance do you recommend for landlord protection, and how has the firm handled claims for you in the past? 
  • Does your business cover all of the costs associated with my investment as part of the management charge, such as insurance, pest treatment, water and other maintenance, rates, and other costs? 

Most agencies will provide this service inclusive of management costs, but make sure to ask ahead to make sure there are no additional fees.

7) How frequently does the company conduct regular inspections?

I have noticed a recent trend wherein many organisations are outsourcing inspections to outside businesses in order to save money on labour. These companies manage the entry condition reports, exit condition reports, and routine inspections as a cost-saving tool for the agency.

Since inspections are perhaps the most significant component of property management and are essential for your property manager to assess the state of the property, we believe that outsourcing these responsibilities is bad for you and your property.

When correctly executed, a seasoned property manager will check the home three times a year and provide you with a comprehensive report that includes images and commentary, allowing you to stay informed about the tenancy’s progress during its time under that management company’s supervision. 

The entry and departure condition reports will be compared when the tenant eventually leaves your property. In this case, it will be evident which property management companies take inspections seriously and which do not.

The importance of being involved during the vacate of each lease cannot be overstated; allowing a tenant to depart without taking care of certain items is the quickest way to accumulate thousands of dollars’ worth of extra maintenance expenses.

8) How many properties are allocated to each property manager?

The number of properties the property management business oversees should be a top priority for any potential landlord, as it can be a telling reflection of the organisation’s level of commitment to property management. 

The total number of properties that the company manages and assigns to each property manager is a crucial piece of information that can help you identify a company that specialises in property management agencies or property management done as a side business to their sales division.

If they are forced to oversee too many properties, even the most experienced property managers will provide a poor quality of service. The size of their portfolio is directly tied to the level of service they can offer you as a landlord. 

Most property managers, give or take a few, are in charge of managing about 150 properties.  Discount agencies, on the other hand, often assign 200 properties, and in certain instances, we have observed as many as 250 properties per property manager. This is very concerning.

I do not think a property manager handling more than 150 homes can deliver excellent service. Even though everything might appear to be going smoothly, they usually make mistakes here and there, which can be an unintentional result of working with a cheap property management firm. 

While you may save a few bucks a month, you may lose thousands of dollars annually in additional expenses or processes that increase the workload of the property manager and might need mediation before the RTA or QCAT.

9) In the event of an emergency on the premises, how reachable is your property manager?

According to the proverb, “when it rains, it pours,” things can go wrong and chaos can occur and stack up. When choosing the right property management company for you, it is important to know how responsive a potential manager will be in a crisis and what procedures are in place to handle such an occurrence.

Do they have a contact for emergencies after hours? And if so, most importantly, will they pick up the phone? Or do they merely respond through their platform, which frequently causes more issues and complaints from irate individuals who require prompt attention during a crisis?

10) What occurs if my property needs immediate maintenance?

Find out what the policies of the property management company you want to hire are regarding the upkeep of your property. Make sure your agent can work within the pricing constraints without requiring your input. However, they should converse with you on more intricate maintenance issues, inquiring about the maintenance issues that demand immediate care and when they need to bring these difficulties to your attention. 

Developing a relationship of trust with your property manager is essential to finding the ideal mix between delegating tasks to them and getting your input, advice, and guidance when it comes to major repairs. 

While real estate agencies will always have a preferred list of trades based on how they connect with their business, how they operate within their platforms, how quickly they respond, and how much they charge overall, having input on repairs is essential to controlling expenses. 

Finding the perfect balance is never simple; there is always a cost associated with working with organisations that handle larger volumes as opposed to the one-man handyman listed in the yellow pages.   

Keep yourself informed, talk to your property manager about these concerns, and make sure you are both receptive to the other person’s point of view in order to preserve your positive working relationship.

11) What is the process for selecting potential tenants?

Finding and screening possible tenants is one of the most overlooked parts of the rental management process. Making sure your property management firm asks the correct questions and presents you with qualified applicants based on their past behaviour at their previous properties is the key to finding the perfect balance when selecting a tenant.

One of those top responsibilities is undoubtedly making sure that rent is paid on time or early, but how did they work with their past Real Estate company? Before they approve the tenant, you should know if they followed the rules, reported maintenance issues, were disrespectful or passive-aggressive, or behaved inappropriately in any other way.

The checklist that follows must be finished when they bring a tenant for your approval.

  • Make sure that every tenant on the property is named on the applications so that, at the time of the lease signing, you know how many people are living there in total.
  • Providing evidence of income to verify affordability and contrasting their track record of timely rent payments with that of their prior renter ledger.
  • Verify they have not been reported for misbehaviour by checking the national tenant database.
  • Make sure your personal and professional references are willing to provide references by giving them a call.
  • How do they communicate? Do they act in a passive-aggressive or cooperative manner?  How does the agent feel about their aggressiveness? 

Hopefully, following careful screening, your property manager will send you a short list of potential tenants. But occasionally, they might suggest one tenant over another, so the choice ultimately rests with you. It is your duty to confirm that any Gold Coast Property Management company has properly addressed all of your questions.

12) What region does the company that manages properties cover?

To find out why you should search for a property manager with deep local knowledge, think about your potential portfolio of properties. Will you own several suburban properties scattered about, or will this be your sole medium- to long-term investment?

Either select a larger property management firm that covers a larger region or employ a property manager with specialised knowledge in each location. Choosing a real estate company on the Gold Coast that is situated in the same neighbourhood as your rental property does not ensure that your tenant will take care of the property or make timely rent payments. 

13) How do they guarantee the highest profits on your investment?

A potential property manager should offer a full range of management services, be fully qualified and trained in all aspects of property management, and have a thorough understanding of the performance of all properties in the area, even though the performance of a property and its rental yield may be the most important factors for an investor.

A long-term renter will result from striking the correct balance between offering them a tiny discount and having a fantastic tenant, which will lower the total amount of money the property management business will charge you. To receive the best return on your Gold Coast real estate investment, make sure that every rental term has been maximised within the market.

To ensure that you can negotiate a fair rental rate with the property management business at each lease renewal, make sure you carry out your own market analysis. The modern world is so complicated that it is imperative to understand the latest local rules and how they will impact your ability to maximise yields. Since your property manager will have dealt with similar situations during past tenancies, heed their suggestions on how to get the most out of your year with the present tenant.

  1. How regularly does your property management firm invest in training?

Working with a property manager that is aware of all the laws that apply to real estate in the Gold Coast will give you peace of mind that your investment is safe and will stay steady for the duration of the appointment.

Good property management companies will have the necessary safeguards in place to shield you and them from any potential legal actions that may result from renting out the property in the current market. They will be far less likely to contravene any recently passed legislation.

While landlord insurance is necessary, hiring a professional property manager who is familiar with the area’s laws and ordinances and is capable of defending you, the owner, against any current or potential claims, is the best approach to safeguarding yourself.

You must be able to evict a renter in a way that is morally, legally, and professionally done. A skilled staff of property managers will be prepared, versed in the law, and well-trained when the time comes, always prepared with the latest information.

15) What are the business’s current rental arrears and vacancy rate, according to the agency?

How well a company you were considering hiring to manage your property is run can be determined in large part by looking at its statistics. It is best for you as an investor to have your property vacant for as little time as possible and to ensure that your tenants are paying their rent each and every week on time. Because it directly affects the return on investment your house will produce, this is a crucial question.

Even though there are situations in which you are powerless to influence the overall vacancy rate in the suburb in which you have invested, you can still learn more about your property manager’s business practices by being aware of the average vacancy rate and what units they currently have available and on file.

Find out from your property manager what proportion of the tenants in the agency are currently behind on their rent. This figure need to be 5% or less at all times. Any agency with double-digit rental arrears is indicating that they are having trouble implementing critical systems or keeping employees with the necessary skill set.

I hope these questions have been enlightening and will help you secure the best possible Gold Coast Property Management team for your property!

Christina Longstaff, recently recognised as one of the Gold Coast’s top property managers, is a well-known expert in the real estate and property management sectors. You can get in touch with Christina Longstaff HERE for more guidance and information on Gold Coast property management.

Also consult with REIQ, an excellent source of guidance for any Queensland investor searching for Gold Coast real estate.