15 Must-Ask Questions When Appointing the Best Property Manager for Real Estate in Brisbane

Suzana Wade, Principal licensee of Locate Property is a published authored and with her book titled “The 15 must ask questions” are designed specially for investors looking for who is the best property manager for Real Estate in Brisbane.

I have decided to list the 15 questions that you must ask a property management firm in this article.

1) Does the Real Estate in Brisbane agency have a property management focus?

As a foresighted investor, you must look beyond the present to source and select the right property management team. A real estate office located within the immediate suburb of your current investment isn’t the be-all and end-all of what to search for when trying to find the best property manager for you and your family. 

Making a skills-based decision searching for an agency that specialises primarily in property management opera a real benefit to you and your investment

Many real estate agencies, particularly those that are part of the franchise model, can be more focused on what is often considered to be the more lucrative side of the business. IE, the sales division  

As property managers, those who tend to work for those agencies often lack enthusiasm and the relevant thoroughness required to provide the very best possible property management service to you and your tenants.

 it is vital to any investor seeking real estate in Brisbane the very best possible return on their investment that they select a real estate agency that provides  the full suite of property management services required to be a compliant and thorough property management business

2) Who is in charge of the operation?

The general manager or business owner of the real estate in Brisbane agency typically has a sales background rather than a rental background. The majority of real estate agencies have two departments: a rental department and a sales division. They only concentrate on the sales division, leaving the day-to-day rental operations in the hands of a property manager who, to put it simply, is unprepared for the challenges of managing a large-scale property management firm. 

Due to the fact that the sales department has a higher dollar turnover, their focus is often on the sales department. The property management division is a separate company, making daily operations frequently more challenging and time-consuming. It has its own challenges and requires specialised staff well versed in the current challenges of a modern property mangement business 

You might find that a company where the director is actively involved in the property management department takes property management seriously and is involved in the day-to-day activities of that division. As a result, these companies frequently operate more efficiently, with fewer complaints, more resources, and a happier, more content workforce.

Simply put, a well run property management office often translates to a better net income postion for you as the landlord with less interactions over items that can seem tedious and frustrating

3) Who will actually be managing my property?

Most real estate companies hire business development managers (BDMs) to meet landlords like you, and they will often have an impressive sales pitch. But if your property is managed by an inexperienced property manager who doesn’t want to be at work, than thats a massive red flag.  

It’s important for you to understand who the actual property manager will be handling your property after the BDM has concluded bringing you into the business. This person will talk to your future tenant and answer any questions you might have once the property is under management.  

 Inquire as to whether a specific property manager will be working on your specific property or if there is a pool of task-based managers that float across the business. Ask the BDM if you can meet and speak with the actual property manager before you commit to that agency.

It will be obvious that the property manager you meet with has chosen this as their career and not just their “next” job if they have been with the agency for a significant amount of time. Additionally, it will demonstrate that the organization has a strong track record of keeping employees, which is encouraging when looking for stability from the organization. An environment with a reputation for high turnover and poorly run businesses will quickly lose a good property manager.

4) Online Reviews – What other landlords are saying?

Make sure to look at the online reviews the Brisbane real estate firm in Brooklyn has received on it’s Google business page before making your final choice for the best property management. 93% of respondents claim that online reviews influence their choice of whether or not to work with a company.

Tenants and landlords frequently air their grievances about a company on the Google Business Review page. This can often shed light on a real estate agency’s professional standards and how they handle particular situations. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that occasionally a negative review can be caused by a tenant who has been held accountable and frequently in violation of the tenancy agreement and all applicable legal requirements.

A real estate company with a significant number of reviews—we’d say at least 50—should have a Google review rating of at least 4.5 stars or higher in general. This shows that their service and staff are competent and capable of handling any problems that might arise in this line of work, and that they have done so in a tidy and professional manner.

5) How do they offer access to important information?

Technology platforms and online portals are excellent tools for gathering and organizing all the  pertinent data and information about your property. In the modern era of property management, having access to this data whenever you need it is essential. Items like leases, routine reports, maintenance, financial data, notices, and the ledgers for the current tenant should all be available at a moment’s notice.  

The flexibility of being able to sign in and access pertinent information around-the-clock is another perk that tenants appreciate. They can check their paid-for days, report any maintenance, upload photos, and download ledgers at any time.

 Online statements are a fantastic tool for landlords and tenants alike, but they are still not for everyone. As a result, platforms should also provide an option for those who are more traditional and would rather receive their statements via email rather than having to log into a platform.

These are some of the questions that you need to find answers to before you appoint the correct property management company for you and your family.

6) How does the company manages the financial aspects of the investment?

Investing in real estate in Brisbane can be a great way to increase wealth and cash flow. To ensure the stability of your income and the growth of your investment, it is essential that it be managed profitably.

To ensure a positive return on your investment, your agent must exercise careful financial management; however, it can be difficult to learn about these factors before choosing the best property manager for you.

 Below are some inquiries that we suggest you make of the concerned business before hiring them.

  • What kind of system do you have in place for collecting rent?
  • How will you handle any rental arrears that may occur
  •  When do you transfer money to me as the landlord—weekly, monthly, or instantly?
  • What are your management fees, and are there any unadvertised hidden expenses?
  • What type of landlord protection insurance do you suggest, and how has the company handled claims for you in the past? 
  • Does your company offer to pay all of the expenses related to my investment, including rates, water, other maintenance, pest control, and insurance, as part of the management fee? 

The majority of agencies will offer this service without charge, but be sure to inquire first to ensure that there aren’t any other hidden costs.

7) How often does the firm carry out routine inspections ?

I’ve seen a recent trend where many agencies are reducing staff costs by outsourcing inspection to outside companies.

 As a cost-cutting measure for the agency, these businesses handle the entry condition reports, exit condition reports, and routine inspections.

 It is our opinion that outsourcing these tasks is detrimental to you and your property because inspections are arguably the most important aspect of property management and it is critical for your property manager to see the condition of the property.

 If implemented properly, an experienced property manager will inspect the property three times a year and give you a detailed report with pictures and commentary so that you can be kept up to date with how the tenancy is tracking while under that management firm’s control. 

When the tenant finally vacates your property, the entry and exit condition reports will be compared. In this situation, it will be clear which management company goes through the process quickly and which one goes through the process fully and meticulously. 

I can’t emphasize enough how crucial it is to participate in each tenancy’s exit process; letting a tenant leave with items unattended to is the quickest way to rack up thousands of dollars’ worth of annual repairs.

8) What is the allocation rate of properites per property manager ?

Any prospective landlord should inquire about the number of properties the property management company manages, as this can be a significant indicator of how seriously the company takes its property management responsibilities. 

An essential piece of information that can assist you in identifying a company that specializes in property management agencies or property management doing it as a side business to their sales division is the total number of properties that the firm manages and therefrom allocates to each property manager.

 Even the most seasoned property managers will deliver a subpar service if they have to manage too many properties. The quality of service they can provide you as a landlord is directly correlated with the size of their portfolio. 

 The majority of property managers, give or take a few, are in charge of around 150 properties.  However, we frequently observe that discount agencies will allocate 200 properties, and in some cases, we have seen as many as 250 properties per property manager, which is unquestionably a red flag.

In my opinion, a property manager who is responsible for more than 150 properties cannot provide a high-quality service. Even though everything may seem to be going well, this is where they frequently mess up and can be a unintended consequence of using a low-cost property management company. You might save a few dollars a month, but you’ll quickly lose thousands of dollars a year in missed opportunities, extra costs, or procedures that add to the property manager’s already heavy workload and may require mediation at the RTA or QCAT.

9) How contactable are they in the event of a crisis at the property ?

As the old saying goes when it rains it pours 

 Sometimes chaos can strike and things can go wrong; it was possible at times. Understanding how responsive a prospective property manager will be in the event of a crisis and what systems are in place to deal with such an event is a significant thing for a vested party to know when appointing the correct property manager for them.

 Do they have an after-hours emergency contact? Do they answer the phone after hours? Or do they have a platform-only response that can often lead to further complications and complaints from disgruntled people that need instant action in the time of crisis?

10) What happens if my property requires urgent maintainence ?

When making your decision on which property management firm to appoint, ask what their policies are in relation to property maintenance.  You need to ensure that your agent is able to spend with pricing parameters without needing your consultation.  But it is able to speak with you about more complex maintenance matters.  

Asking them which maintenance matters arise at an emergency level and what is the required threshold that they need to meet before bringing these matters to your attention.  Building a level of trust with your property manager is key to striking the right balance between allowing them to do their job and requiring your feedback, opinion and instructions when tackling the expensive repair matters.   

Having input on repairs is vital to managing costs however Real Estate agencies will always have a preferred list of trades based on how they interact with their business, how they work within their platforms, their response times and overall costs.  Getting the balance right is never easy, there is always a trade off for agencies that need to work with higher volumes versus the one man handyman that you can call from yellowpages.   Stay involved, discuss these issues with the property manager and make sure you are both open to each other views on the matter so that you can maintain a good working relationship.

11) How do they screen for propective tenants ?

One of the most underappreciated aspects of the rental management process is how to find and vet potential tenants.

  The secret to striking the right balance when choosing a tenant is to make sure that your property management company asks the right questions and brings you suitable candidates based on their prior behaviour at their previous real estate agency.

 Making sure that rent is paid on time or ahead of schedule is obviously one of those key priorities, but how did they interact with their previous real estate agency? If they were disrespectful or passive-aggressive, followed the rules, reported maintenance issues, or otherwise behaved badly, these are all things you need to be aware of before approving the agency.

 The following checklist needs to be completed when they present a tenant for your approval.

  1. – ensuring that all the property’s occupants have been listed on the applications so that you are aware of the total number of occupants when you sign the lease.
  2.   Verifying affordability with proof of income and comparing the history of on-time rent payments to that of their previous tenant Ledger
  3.  Check the national tenant database to make sure they are not flagged for bad behaviour
  4.  Make calls to your professional and personal references to ensure that they will be willing to serve as references.
  5.  How do they communicate, are they passive aggressive or a pleasure to work with.  Aggressively, what is the agent’s view on their character? 

Your property manager will provide you with a short list of prospective tenants, hopefully after thorough screening. In some cases, however, they may recommend one tenant over another, leaving you with the final decision. It is your responsibility to make sure that the real estate in Brisbane agency has answered all of your enquiries fully.

12) What geographic area does the property management firm cover?

Consider your future property portfolio to determine why you should look for a property manager with extensive local knowledge. Will you have a number of properties spread out throughout the suburbs or will this be your only medium- and long-term investment?

 You can appoint a larger property management company that serves a wider geographic area, or you can hire a specialist property manager in each location. Selecting a real estate in Brisbane agency that is located in the same suburb as your rental property will not guarantee that your tenant will pay the rent on time or maintain the property.  

When looking for a property management company, you should prioritse the other issues listed in this article for which you need answers.

13) How can they ensure the best returns for my investment ?

While a property’s performance and its rental yield may be the most crucial factors for an investor, any prospective property manager should provide a full range of management services, be fully qualified and trained in all aspects of property management, and have a strong understanding of the performance of all properties in the area.

 Finding the right balance between having a great tenant and rewarding them with a small discount will also have longevity from your tenant, which will reduce the overall costs that the property management company will charge you. Making sure that every rental period has been maximised within the market is key to getting the most yield from your real estate in Brisbane.

Make sure to conduct your own market research so you can speak intelligently with the property management company about the appropriate rental amount to request at each lease renewal. Because of the complexity of the times we live in, it is essential to comprehend the new local laws and how they will affect your ability to maximise yields. Take your property manager’s advice on how to make the most of your year with the current tenant because they will have experience with this scenario from previous tenancies.

14) How frequesntly does the team attend training?

You can feel confident that your investment is secure and will continue to be stable throughout the appointment period by working with a property manager who is knowledgeable about all the relevant laws for real estate in Brisbane.

 Quality property management teams are significantly less likely to break any newly enacted laws and to have the necessary safeguards in place to shield you and them from any potential legal actions that may be brought about by renting out the property in the current market.

Even though landlord insurance is required, the best way to protect yourself is to hire a knowledgeable property manager who knows the local laws and regulations and how to defend you, the property owner, from any pending or possible claims.

 If you have to evict a tenant, you must know how to do it legally, morally, and professionally. When the time comes, a well-trained property management team will be trained, knowledgeable of the legal requirements, and ready.

15) What is the agencies current vacancy rate & rental arrears for the business?

Statistics from the company you were looking to hire to manage your property can be very telling about how well-run the company is.

 As an investor, it is ideal for your property to be vacant for the shortest amount of time possible and to make sure that your tenants are paying their rent on time each and every week. This is a very important question because it directly relates to the return-on-investment your property will generate.

 Knowing the average vacancy rate and understanding what your property manager currently has available and is on their books can help you gain a better understanding of how they run the business, even though there are times when you can’t do anything about the overall vacancy rate in the suburb you’ve invested in.

Ask your property manager what percentage of the agency’s tenants are currently in rental arrears. This number should always be 5% or less. Any agency that has double digit rental arrears is a sign their business is struggling to implement key-systems or retain staff that have a skillset in this area.

Suzana Wade is a leading authority in the real estate in Brisbane and in particularly the Property Management industry and has been voted as Brisbane’s best property manager. For further advice and insights into Brisbane Property Management you can contact Suzana Wade HERE

Another great advice resource for all Queensland investors looking for real estate in Brisbane is the REIQ