Property maintenance can easily become a big hassle (and expense) as an investor. Without the right property manager by your side, you could miss issues, spend too much on the wrong repairs and leave your tenants in the dark about the status of repairs.
That’s why it pays to ask the right questions to find the best property manager to take care of your property.
Let’s dive into how a property manager handles maintenance and repairs as well as the key questions you need to ask when interviewing potential property managers.
What role does a property manager play in maintenance and repairs?
First up, let’s look at how a property manager fits into managing your investment’s maintenance and repairs. Along with securing tenants, keeping tabs on rent payments and running routine inspections, property managers can also sort out your maintenance requests, too.
And there’s a reason why 80% of Australian investment property owners work with a property manager, especially when it comes to navigating maintenance.
So, let’s run you through how a property manager can help you out with property repairs and maintenance:
- They’ll be the first point of contact for your tenants when lodging a repair request, meaning they’ll assess whether the request is real and what action should be taken.
- They’ll have a network of trusted tradies they can reach out to and will gather a range of quotes and price estimates so you know you’re not paying too much for the job.
- They’ll come to you with a clear plan of action for approval, meaning you can get back to what’s important to you sooner.
- They’ll handle the repairs from start to finish, and keep you and your tenants up-to-date along the way so you’re never guessing about the status of each job.
In a nutshell, a property manager acts as your personal concierge for any repairs and maintenance at your property, making any job a fast, easy and painless experience for you.
How to find a good property manager who will get maintenance sorted quickly
Picking a good property manager can be tough, especially if you don’t know what criteria to measure them up against.
But the best property managers have one thing in common: they know the value of preventative maintenance.
So, what criteria should you use to weigh up the right property manager for your property? Here are a few things to consider:
- Do they have a clear process for handling repair requests from tenants? The easier it is for tenants to report a problem, the quicker they’ll get sorted.
- Do they have partnerships with trusted local tradies? A good property manager should have a network of reliable tradespeople (who can help you get the most competitive rates).
- Are they transparent about how long it takes for repairs to get sorted? We know owners want problems sorted quickly, which is why we have real-time data on our website that shows how quickly issues are responded to.
Picking a good property manager is what will keep your property in good condition and ensure you don’t overspend on repairs and maintenance.
Seven questions to ask a property manager about property maintenance
Still deciding which property manager is right for the job? Here are seven questions to ask to find out how they handle must-do property maintenance and repairs.
Question one: How often do you conduct routine inspections?
Regular routine property inspections are a big tick when it comes to vetting potential property managers. These scheduled visits are what a good property manager will use to spot early signs of maintenance problems and keep tabs on the condition of your property.
While it’s important to respect your tenant’s privacy, timely inspections should be scheduled by your property manager at least once a year.
And you should make sure your property manager comes armed with a checklist of the common maintenance issues they’re looking out for. This includes things like:
- Malfunctioning smoke detectors
- Mould or signs of damp
- Structural cracks or uneven floors
Chat to your potential property manager and find out how often they schedule these inspections (as well as what process they use to pick up maintenance issues, too). The more thorough your property manager is, the less you’ll pay in repairs in the long run.
Question two: What preventative maintenance would you recommend for my property type?
The best property managers understand that different types of properties need different types of maintenance.
Things like your rental’s age, size and condition will decide what repairs and maintenance jobs will make the biggest difference and boost the value of your rental.
Quiz potential property managers to see if they can offer tailored maintenance suggestions based on your property type. If they can’t, you could end up overspending on the wrong jobs or neglecting repairs that could increase the value of your property.
Question three: What happens when a tenant reports a repair problem?
As we mentioned, your property manager acts as the first point of contact when your tenant notices a maintenance issue. So they need to have a quick and easy way to alert you to a problem as well as a clear plan of steps to get the problem fixed.
Instead of waiting until business hours to call their property manager, :Different tenants simply log into their mobile app to instantly lodge a repair request. We also have experienced teams based in Australia and Sri Lanka, meaning we have greater coverage during and outside business hours to get the ball rolling.
Once our team has reviewed this request, :Different owners are alerted through their mobile app and can resolve problems and approve requests in a few taps. Using tech, we’re able to respond to 94% of our tenants within 24 hours of a request being lodged.
Plus, you should find out what process each property manager uses when urgent repair or emergency home maintenance requests come up.
Easy communication is key to keeping your property in top condition, so make sure your property manager fosters a good tenant-landlord relationship to get repairs sorted quickly.
Question four: How do you validate repair requests from tenants?
You don’t want to spend money on repairs that aren't necessary. So, it’s important your property manager has a set of criteria to thoroughly review all requests lodged by your tenants.
When a :Different tenant lodges a repair request, our team reviews it first to make sure there is a legitimate problem. We often go back to tenants for more information (such as extra details, images or video) to ensure we have all the facts on hand to recommend the right course of action.
That means you’ll receive a full report of the problem (complete with images, videos and a detailed description) to make a fast, informed decision on maintenance and repairs.
Question five: How do you secure a fair quote?
You’re putting a lot of trust into your property manager to find and secure a reasonable quote for any repairs. If you’re wondering how much is home maintenance going to cost you, your property manager should be able to answer this for you.
The best property managers will have a database of trusted tradespeople they have worked with in the past (and have delivered a good service at a reasonable price). Plus, they should be able to get you exclusive, industry pricing so you never pay more than you need to.
Owners that use :Different gain access to our tech-driven maintenance and repairs pricing features that gives everyone a price estimate on common jobs. Using historical data, we’re able to figure out how much a service should cost.
For example, our data tells us that 80% of “blocked sink” maintenance requests have cost $524 or less in the past. In that case, we would never send you a $600 quote for the same service.
Question six: How long does it take for typical repairs jobs to be completed?
The longer it takes for repairs to get sorted, the more you’ll have to spend to fix it. Plus, your tenants are less likely to renew their lease if their repair requests have been ignored or taken too long to resolve.
So, you want to get hard facts from potential property managers about how long it takes them to solve a typical repair request.
Question seven: Are the cost of home repairs and maintenance jobs covered in your property management fees?
Typically, you’d expect to spend anywhere from $80 to $250 per month in property management fees. But that might only be part of the picture, as the cost of home repairs and maintenance might not be included.
Many property managers will charge you extra for services like routine inspections, doing property maintenance and providing annual statements. That means you could be spending much more than this if you’re not careful.
Make sure to check your property management contract to find out what is and isn’t included in your fees so you’re across the costs.
When it comes to picking the right property manager, asking the right questions can save you lots of headaches and unwanted bills in the long run. Property maintenance can become a big expense if your property manager isn’t proactive or looking for the right issues during routine inspections.
Here’s what you stand to save: a leaky roof can cost you upwards of $4,500 to fix. But with routine inspections and an experienced property manager, you can catch this issue early and resolve signs of damp before it turns into a leak.
So, it pays to dig a bit deeper into their processes and systems to make sure you and your tenants will be kept in the loop on all repairs jobs. At the end of the day, it’s your rental income on the line if you make the wrong selection.
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