More overseas investors are securing rental properties in Australia than ever before. The latest stats show that foreign investors have spent a whopping $17.1 billion on real estate in Australia over the past 12 months (the highest level in three years).
As an overseas investor, you might be wondering how you’re going to find tenants, set the right price for rent and handle repairs while living outside of Australia. If you’re looking for a set-and-forget approach to investing, it’s worth looking into hiring an Australian property manager.
To help you pick the right professional for the job, let’s run you through what an Australian property manager does, how they differ from US and UK property managers and how to pick a good property manager in Australia.
What to expect from an Australian property manager?
There’s a reason why 80% of Australian investors work with a property manager: they take the stress and hassle out of the day-to-day management of a rental property.
In Australia, a property manager is a type of real estate agent that specialises in managing rental properties. And they do a lot more than just collect rent. In fact, they handle a stack of tasks that start as soon as you’ve bought the property (and continue until you decide to sell up).
These key Australian property management services include:
- Setting the rent: to help investors get the best rental yield, a property manager will carry out a rental appraisal to assess the market and help you set a fair and reasonable rental price.
- Collecting rent: a property manager will set up an efficient system to gather rent from your tenants. If they notice a payment is late, they’ll also chase up rental arrears to get you paid sooner.
- Finding good, long-term tenants: the best property managers will have a thorough tenant screening process to help you secure reliable tenants from the start.
- Organising maintenance jobs and handling repair requests: keeping on top of maintenance and repairs is what will keep your rental property in good condition and your tenants happy. That’s why property managers will have a process for responding to repair requests and communicating with you and your tenants. Plus, the best property managers will have a network of trusted tradespeople up their sleeve to help you get the most competitive price.
- Conducting regular inspections: property managers will organise regular routine inspections on your behalf and keep you in the loop with inspection reports. This proactive approach will help you catch the early signs of wear and tear and help you save maintenance costs over the long-term as an investor.
- Ensuring compliance with the specific state or territory’s property laws: different parts of Australia have different compliance laws that investors need to adhere to. That’s why working with a property manager is helpful as they’ll have an up-to-date understanding of what rules and regulations apply to your property.
- Managing bills: any property-related bills (from water bills to council rates to strata levies) can be handled by a property manager, and are often adjusted from your rental income.
- Handling the day-to-day management of your property: there are heaps of small tasks that need to be completed on your rental property, from record-keeping to managing lease agreements and preparing annual statements. Your property manager can sort this for you to save time, and get you all the paperwork you need,
There’s also more than one type of property manager in Australia. First up, there’s the major industry split of commercial property management (such as offices, shops and warehouses) and residential property management (including apartments, townhouses and houses). Plus, there are a range of different styles of Australian property management, including:
- Traditional property managers: these property managers are part of real estate agencies, and are often hired by investors out of convenience (especially if they’ve bought their property from the same agency).
- New model property managers: these property managers use new business models and property management software or any other facility management software that harness things like technology to deliver better service at a lower price point.
Virtual Property Managers: Virtual Property Management leverages technology to remotely manage properties, enabling property managers to handle tasks such as rent collection and maintenance requests from anywhere. This approach offers lower costs and greater flexibility compared to traditional property management services. Without a physical office, virtual property managers can pass on the savings to clients, making their services more affordable. The scalability of virtual property management allows for management of multiple properties in different locations. By using technology, virtual property management delivers better and more efficient services to property owners and tenants, revolutionizing the way properties are managed.
Ultimately, an Australian property manager is designed to give time (and money) back to investors, protect the quality of their real estate and keep their tenants happy and satisfied for the long-term.
Australian vs. American Property Managers
In Australia, property managers handle everything to do with an investment property (from preparing the property to be leased all the way through to day-to-day repairs, communication and general rental management).
However, in the US these duties are done by two different real estate professionals: leasing agents and property managers. Let’s break down what to expect from each of these roles:
- Leasing agents handle the leasing process for investors
- Property managers take over once the lease has been signed
The good news is that anyone looking to invest in Australia only needs to focus on hiring one professional to manage their investment: a property manager.
This means your Australian property manager will be able to handle the entire leasing process (from marketing your rental to vetting potential tenants). Plus, they’ll be able to continue taking care of your rental property once the lease is signed and will act as a single point of contact for your tenants and any issues that can crop up like inspections, repairs and maintenance.
Not only do you save costs by needing to hire just one professional to manage your investment property, but you’ll always know exactly who to chat to about anything to do with your rental property.
Australian vs. UK Property Managers
In a similar vein, there are big differences between Australian property managers and UK property managers. Like the US, the property management process is also handled by two different real estate professionals in the UK, called letting managers and property managers.
Let’s cover off what each professional is responsible for:
- Letting agents (sometimes referred to as letting managers) are tasked with finding the right tenant for a rental property. They’re hired by the owner to advertise the property, host property inspections and help pick the right tenant.
- Property managers takeover once the lease has been signed, and work with the owner throughout the entire tenancy to deal with repairs, property maintenance, inspections, rent collection, tenancy renewals and more.
Plus, not all property managers hold the same experience or qualification. In the UK, the two key qualifications to look out for are from the Institution of Residential Property Management (IRPM) and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors AssocRICS qualification.
By looking for property managers with accreditation from these trusted industry bodies, you know you’re working with experienced, professional property managers in the UK.
In Sydney – NSW, most property managers take a certificate-level course (such as a Certificate IV in Real Estate Practice) to become a qualified property manager. In Melbourne – Victoria, the Certificate IV is Real Estate Practice is also needed. However, the qualification required to become a property manager may vary in each state of Australia.
Again, the biggest benefit for investors is that Australian property managers can handle your entire property management process from start to finish. Rather than securing two different professionals, an Australian property manager will be able to lease your rental property AND keep your tenants happy over the lifetime of your investment.
What to look for in a good Australian property manager?
You want to make sure you’re getting the best person to manage your property, particularly as an overseas investor. Even if you aren’t able to meet your property manager in person, knowing what makes a good Australian property manager will help you make the right choice.
So, here’s a handy checklist of things to look for in a good Australian property manager:
- They have good communication skills and have a process in place to keep you and your tenants in the loop (bonus points if they only use one form of communication, such as an app or online portal).
- They leverage tech to save costs, automate routine tasks and focus their attention on delivering a great personalised experience to you and your tenants.
- They have a proactive plan for maintenance and repairs, such as conducting routine inspections, using inspection reports and a clear checklist to catch any potential maintenance problems early.
- They have the knowledge you need to succeed. They understand the local market (such as how to set the rent and how to attract tenants in your area) plus they have the legal knowledge of what rules and regulations apply in the Australian state or territory you've invested in.
In a nutshell, an Australian property manager is your one-stop property management solution for everything you need to be a successful property investor. Having a tech-savvy property manager who keeps you informed through a user-friendly app is also particularly handy as an overseas investor (especially if you live in a different time zone to your investment property).
Ultimately though, you want an experienced, professional property manager to handle the nitty-gritty, safely and reliably with your tenants and investment in mind!
Like what you just read? Well, there’s a lot more where that came from
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