08.05.20

    Renting Your Home: Property Management vs Self-Management

    While buying and selling property makes for a key element of the property market, renters make for a good chunk of it too. It isn’t even a conservative forecast when we say that the property market will see a surge in demand for all forms of property once we come out of this lockdown in Melbourne.

    Through lockdown, we’ve all been spending a fair bit of our time indoors, and it really begins to highlight the importance of how your home or rental property has to be the right fit for your lifestyle. As more of our population makes a shift towards working from home permanently or semi-permanently, finding the best property that meets your new needs is essential. If you’re leasing, having a good relationship with your landlord or property manager is a crucial element of the housing process.

    In conversation with the founders of William Huxley, Craig Nichol and Alex Morgan, we touch upon what exactly a property manager does, the pros and cons of property management, as well as the rare cases of self-management of property.

    Let’s kick things off with the basics. What does a property manager do?

    AM: First things first, property management is a full-time job. As a property manager, your job is to make sure renters feel comfortable enough to approach you each and every time they’ve got an issue, whether it’s a possum stuck in their ceiling or they need the hot water system fixed. You’ve got to be passionate about it because it can be a tough job at times. It means you’re constantly busy, so time management is key. Responding quickly and effectively is the name of the game, because in the end you’re looking after someone’s home, looking after their lifestyle.

    CN: Yeah, you’ve got to respond immediately. Most property managers will mitigate risk though; it’s not just about dealing with disputes, it’s about stopping them before they can even happen. Knowing your tenants and the property is a big thing as a property manager — in fact, matching the right tenant to a property is probably the main job of a property manager. An individual may not know if the house is wrong for them and their lifestyle until it’s too late and that’s what a property manager would try to avoid. It’s a pretty big gamble because your tenants are going to be in there for a year or more.

    What are the pros and cons of property management?

    CN: Like any service, you can get your good and bad Property Managers. As a landlord you need to understand that you are outsourcing the role to an expert, but like anything of value, that can come at a material cost, which will save you in the long run. Property Managers are highly trained professionals that know the ins and outs of property management so that your investment property can be managed, maintained and flourish for you into the future.  Especially in the environment at the moment, you have to be highly adaptable and understand all the regulations that are constantly changing. For example, through lockdown restrictions, routine inspections are still a thing — we just do them via email. We ask tenants to send us detailed pictures to complete routine inspections, and it’s now a process that landlords and tenants are very happy with.

    AM: As mentioned before, it is a full-time job. You can’t be a property manager if you’re not willing to put in the time and effort; it’s a people-oriented role and requires you to be an amicable point of contact to multiple tenants. Landlords will always be happy if their house is looked after and rent is paid on time. In most cases, we never even hear from some of our landlords because they’re so pleased with how things are being run. When it comes to tenants, you need to establish that open relationship, allowing them to report issues or concerns without feeling like they’re a burden.

    What is self-management and in what circumstances would you recommend it?

    People often believe that this helps save money and is the prime reason they opt to self-manage. If you work out the finances though, a management fee will only cost you around $100 per month, which is great considering the amount of work and time involved to self-manage a property, not to mention the costs if something goes wrong.

    CN: Quite simply, it is when an owner manages their own property and takes on the role of a property manager. It allows them to control the whole process themselves, right from selecting their tenants to handling issues and concerns. People often believe that this helps save money and is the prime reason they opt to self-manage. If you work out the finances though, a management fee will only cost you around $100 per month, which is great considering the amount of work and time involved to self-manage a property, not to mention the costs if something goes wrong.

    AM: I think the only possible way self-management looks like a good option is if you could physically keep an eye on the property yourself and if you had a high amount of trust in the people you’re leasing to. In most cases though, knowing your tenant personally doesn’t mitigate money problems in the future or dismal standards of cleanliness — we’ve had to take over management from Self-managed properties where the landlord has put their friends in or even their own family in the past!

    Ultimately, your final decision stems from personal experiences as well as your current situation. Much like finding the right house, choosing the right form of management is based on your lifestyle.

    We like to think that our relationship-focused business model allows us to make tenants and landlords both, feel at ease. Our staff’s passion is unmatched and it has helped us find the right home for tenants successfully for four years — a feat we’re incredibly proud of. While we may still be in the midst of lockdown, we know that we will soon be able to return to work full-fledged and look forward to seeing you then! Till then, stay strong and stay safe.