Did you know the number one reason a landlord leaves an agency is due to poor communication? It seems such a simple thing, but rarely is it appropriately executed in property management, which is a shame given we are dealing with people’s most significant assets. Director of Marketing and Business Development, Kylie Walker has outlined the major factors that affect your relationship with your property manager and how easy it is to change managers if your current managers are skimping on service.
Communication and customer service go hand in hand. If you aren’t communicating with your landlord, you certainly aren’t providing good customer service either. A lot of property management companies deliver a lot of the same technology and are governed by the same laws and regulations and are similar on fees, but the one area an agency can stand out in the crowd is Customer Service.
ITHINK PROPERTY’S KEY TO ENSURING GOOD COMMUNICATION AND CUSTOMER SERVICE:
1) Have a procedure for returning calls to clients – within 24 hours ideally.
2) Have a procedure for the types of situations you need to communicate with clients – including all emergency repairs must, all rental breaches or every time a tenant vacates.
3) Have a policy to regularly reach out to clients for ‘Positive’ communication when nothing is wrong with the property. Generally, the only time the majority of management agencies reach out to landlord’s is when something goes wrong. How nice would it be every week to call a few owners and advise “Everything is going great, I just wanted to touch base and tell you that!”.
4) In our technology-driven era email is often the key form of communication, but picking up the phone is a more personalised means of communication and in the time you have written one email, you can probably speak to three landlords.
5) Giving owners online access to information regarding their property is a great way to ensure owners are in control on what is being communicated with them and they can access this information when it suits them, simply with the click of a button.
There are a lot of other reasons landlord’s aren’t happy including increased fees, constant staff turn-over and one-off incidents that aren’t handled properly. Just like a baseball game, most landlords as a rule work on the three strikes you’re out rule. If a batter is off their game, the pitcher strikes them out and a new batter steps onto the plate. There is a lot of competition in the property management now, and there’s no need for landlord’s to put up with a bad property manager or company. Changing agents is very easy.
IN TWO SIMPLE STEPS YOU CAN CHANGE AGENTS:
- Research a new company that fits your needs ideally one local to the area your property is in, they fit what you are looking for and offer what your existing company doesn’t. Whether that’s better communication and customer service, cheaper fees or more knowledgeable team etc.
- Send written advice to your current agency you are changing agents. If the property is vacant you can usually change immediately otherwise most agencies offer a 30-day handover.
Your new agency will send through relevant paperwork and take care of the rest, including notifying tenants of the impending change, arranging to pick up keys and paperwork in 30 days. Nothing else needs to be done on your end as a landlord.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Some common concerns Landlord’s have when changing agents:
The new agency won’t know the property/tenant history?
We will collect all the relevant documentation including Tenant’s application forms, General Tenancy Agreement, Entry Condition Reports, compliance certificates for smoke alarms and water, maintenance etc. We will also have a copy of the tenant’s full ledger, so we will be able to determine their rental history.
Will my rent still be paid on time?
Your rent from your old agency will be collected and paid up until the handover date. Your new agency will then collect rent and disburse it as per your instructions.
I don’t have time to change?
As we mentioned in two simple steps you can change agents, do your research on who you would like to manage your property. This can be done online if you are busy, see who has a lot of rentals in your area, see how well they are presented as a brand as well as the properties they are trying to lease. Check reviews and websites. Alternatively, if you are local pop in and have a chat with the head of the property management department to determine if the people managing your investment are the right fit. Alternatively, ask around word of mouth is usually spot on with Property Management.
I like them, but the fees are higher?
Like anything, you get what you pay for. Sometimes the cheapest isn’t necessarily the best and generally when a property management company is budget on price they are usually budget on other areas as well. Whether that’s communication and customer service, or an inexperienced staff member managing properties. Generally, the more you pay in management fees, the more work is being done to ensure a better return on your investment. A quality property manager will work hard to secure better tenants, achieve maximum rent and ensure you don’t need to stress about what is happening with your investment.
Remember, if you aren’t happy with your current property manager, change is easy once you decide to do it. Just like changing banks, you aren’t locked into a lifelong contract, just make sure you do your research, you certainly don’t want to jump from the fire into the frying pan.
A successful modern property management business should be focused on communication and customer service, competitive on fees, but not necessarily the cheapest, utilise good technology and have an experienced team in place.
For more detailed information on the property market and managing your investment, our iThink Property Real Estate Agents and Property Mangement Team in Ipswich and Toowoomba would be happy to assist.
KYLIE WALKER – DIRECTOR MARKETING AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
07 3202 3040
She helped launch and develop the company’s rent roll several years ago and has organically grown the business with iThink Properties rental network now spanning Ipswich, greater Brisbane, Toowoomba and the Gold Coast.