If you've recently invested in a Gold Coast rental property — or decided to move into a larger home while renting out your old apartment — you will want to begin looking for a property manager. With the recent frenzy of home buying in Queensland and the corresponding increase in prices, it will be essential to begin to maximise your investment with regular rental income.
If you're new to managing rental property, you might think that handling a tenant won't be too time-consuming; you'll just collect rent via a recurring bank draft and call it good, right? The tenants will phone you if something goes wrong, after all. You could be anywhere in the world and manage things online. We're all on Zoom now.
A DIY approach to managing your rental grossly overlooks the nuances of running a rental property. First, there's finding tenants. Next: What should you charge the prospective tenants in rent? Is there a new high-rise planned to go up down the block? How will that impact rates? Then there's the relationship with local tradies and lawyers if case eviction proceedings are necessary. Oh — and who is going to make sure council fees and taxes are paid?
Thinking about all the work a property manager does could set your head spinning. Or it could be used as motivation to simply hire a good one to help you, the property owner, get the most out of your investment.
The challenges of managing a Gold Coast investment property from afar
From Brisbane to Broadbeach, a good deal of local knowledge is required to manage rental property, and it's the kind of insight that's hard to gain if you aren't native to places like Surfers Paradise. First, there's a need for niche marketing experience. Your property needs to be exposed to not only a wide audience but the right audience — folks who are truly interested. A good property manager will know the right places to showcase your unit — and how to use words and images that'll speak to prospective tenants.
The next kind of local knowledge your property manager will utilise has to do with pricing. What price will attract renters — so as to minimise vacancy rates — while at the same time maximise the value of your property — your ROI. You won't want to waste time pricing the unit too high, lest it sit vacant making you $0. But you won't want to choose a lowball rate and miss out on income. Setting rental rates is a mix of science and art — and you want a local artist.
Next up is the skill of reference checking. A good local property manager will be scanning Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram when screening prospective tenants. They'll be able draw on their local knowledge to make sure you're choosing tenants who are highly likely to be respectful and courteous, not damaging your property but (hopefully) leaving it in nicer shape than they found it.
Finally, relationships with local tradies will also be handy. Even if you want to try and collect rent yourself from Sydney — do you know licenced Gold Coast carpenters or plumbers when it comes to that? Probably not. Let a local property manager with a deep network help keep everything in tip-top shape to keep your investment as pristine as possible.
The value of property management
Property managers not only set rental rates, they also write your lease. A lease is an important contract — a document that needs to be handled properly so that it will protect your asset should damage occur. You want an experienced property management service overseeing it, maybe even someone who has seen things go sideways and learned a lesson or two.
Property managers will need to be closely following national and local legislation related to real estate and tenancy. They should have a good handle on the Residential Tenancies Act. They should also bring to bear a solid understanding of council rates and taxes that'll be necessary to deduct from the rent annually.
Good property managers will have systems set up to seamlessly collect rent, too. They'll also know which steps to take when the rent is late. They'll work with you on ways to communicate about problems like late rent — while at the same time solving the problems for you.
Similarly, the property manager will handle routine maintenance as well as urgent repairs like a burst pipe or broken refrigerator or busted AirCon unit. As they draw on their network of licenced local tradies to solve the problem, they'll let you know what's happening, keeping you in the loop but not adding stress to your day.
In short, the right property manager will have everything in hand — and let you know as much.
If something cumbersome pops up, the property manager will bring in other colleagues from their property management team — so you'll want to ask early on in the relationship to meet some of these agency colleagues.
Building a relationship with your property manager
When interviewing prospective property managers, ask many questions and be sure your agreements will be codified in a management agreement. To start the conversation, ask how much experience does the individual have to put to use on your behalf? You might ask about certifications such as a Certificate in Property Services (Real Estate) or even a related bachelor's degree. Someone with membership in professional associations would also be a good fit; the Real Estate Institute of Australia and others offer memberships.
You might ask if the person has handled any evictions or other problems; such a process would be cumbersome and nuanced. Someone who has navigated it previously would have gained a lot of knowledge in the process. Similarly, ask how the manager has handled lease renewal; the right person will be working to keep good tenants in place.
Local knowledge is also important. You can ask where the person is from — like Brisbane or Helensvale — where they grew up and how long they've lived in the Gold Coast area.
Finally, make sure to hire someone with whom you can find it easy to communicate.
Expectations for property management fees
Many property management companies structure their fees as a percentage of the rent. A typical management fee you can expect to see for a Gold Coast property might be between 5-10% of the monthly rent.
If you would like to learn more about the many experienced Gold Coast property managers at Ray White Surfers Paradise, please click here to contact our team. We would love to learn about your unique investment and employ our vast experience and local knowledge of the Brisbane area to help you maximise its value.