So you’ve bought your investment property or you are about to.
Now that you are officially a landlord, the next big question is: will you manage tenants yourself, or give up a portion of your rental income to pay for a property manager to do that for you?
In my role as a conveyancer, I’ve helped many property investors settle their transactions and then heard their property management stories over the years.
Here are my thoughts on this question.
Managing investment property in South Australia by yourself
If you decide to manage your property(ies) yourself, here are some of the tasks you need to factor in:
- advertise and find suitable tenants
- establish and manage the paperwork such as the lease, inspection sheets, payments
- manage the tenancy by being available to chase late rent, respond to maintenance queries and coordinate service providers, deal with noise problems and conduct regular inspections
- process bond, rent and water charges
- notify tenants of changes to the lease, continuing lease arrangements, etc
Further to these, you need to make decisions about how much rent to charge and ensure you meet regulatory standards for rental properties.
You also need to apply extra vigilance when choosing and qualifying your tenants, ie, ensuring you do not discriminate against candidates on race, marital status, pregnancy, etc.
In fact, the most gruelling stories I’ve heard from do-it-yourself landlords involve oversights when selecting tenants and mistakes in taxation reporting.
Choosing to use a property manager
If you’ve read this far, you might have picked up that I support the notion of using a property manager.
You would be right.
To me, managing your own property is a large risk because without the experience of a trained property manager, you risk getting fined or incurring unforeseen costs when things go wrong.
Too many things can go wrong with tenants, even with the ‘best tenants in the world’.
An experienced property manager will earn their commission by paying attention to the details, such as:
- ensuring your property is PROVIDED and MAINTAINED to a clean and reasonable standard
- issuing proper receipts
- keeping sound records of all transactions pertaining to the tenancy
- assessing your locks to make sure your property is considered safe and secure
- lodging the bond
Furthermore, you can set a threshold cost for maintenance, under which your agent has authority to get repairs carried out without seeking your authority and input.
So, unless you consider property management to be your calling, my experience suggests you would be wiser to focus on your strengths and let a professional nurture your investment for a long and prosperous future.