As the internet creates more new business models such as online estate agents and lettings agents, more and more people are doing it for themselves. If you can rent your flat out easily by yourself, is it a good idea to manage it too? We take a look at the props and cons of property management.
How well do you know your property?
If a tenant calls you about a burning smell in the bathroom, are you confident you could diagnose without visiting the property? This happened to me last week when a new tenant rang to say she could smell smoke in the flat. Once we worked out that the flat was definitely not on fire, we ruled out cigarettes and deduced she could only smell it in the bathroom. Then I figured out that there is a ventilation fan in the bathroom and it brings air in from the outside street. Opposite the flat there is a large building site where some demolition has taken place. The smoke from that was pumped in through the fan in the bathroom. If you don’t live in the same town as your properties, or you don’t know them well, a phone call from a tenant could take you a visit to work out.
Can you WhatsApp your plumber?
Is your locksmith just a text away? If you are an independent landlord, a phone call saying the boiler has broken or the window is smashed can ruin your day. Where are you going to find someone reliable to do small jobs? And then there are the hefty call out charges… This is a property management company’s bread and butter. They should manage enough properties to ensure they have plumbers, glaziers and locksmiths at their beck and call. Which can be handy on a Saturday night when a tenant locks themself out, which brings us to the next point…
How understanding are you?
Because you need to be really, really understanding when managing properties. A tenant has been for a run and lost their key. It’s Saturday afternoon and the last thing you want to do is go over there with a spare one. And if you have a property management company looking after your property, you don’t have to! If not, you have to be calm, conciliatory and dedicate the next few hours to getting a key to them. This kind of thing happens all the time and it’s important to keep relationships between yourself and your tenants positive, so these situations need.
to be well -handled.
The Renter Mentality
A light bulb has gone, the door has fallen off the dishwasher, basins are blocked and there’s a strange smell in the airing cupboard. In your own house these are things you’d fix yourself without thinking about it. Or they just wouldn’t happen (the door has fallen off the dishwasher? How?). But tenants don’t look after a flat like it is their own which means we get called out for lots of very small things. This is something a property manager understands and recognises as part of their job. It can be more difficult to feel this way if it’s your own property. A property management company protects you from the day-to-day reality of owning a rented property.
There are obviously lots of advantages to having a company manage your property, but you need to make sure it’s the right company. There are many unscrupulous ones out there. Things to look for are charges. If you are charged for calling out a plumber, make sure the agent is not putting an additional charge on that. How many properties does the agent manage? If it’s not many then there is a chance that they won’t be able to get hold of the plumber/glazier when you need them. And don’t choose a property manager on fees alone. If they don’t charge much, there’s probably a reason for that.