A couple in Queensland have been left almost $10,000 out of pocket and effectively homeless after returning to their home to find their tenants had completely trashed it.
‘I was absolutely dumbfounded. Where do we live now? We are now thousands and thousands of dollars out of pocket.’
Amanda Rehbein and Greg Snell were completely shocked upon returning to find their property in Queensland to be covered in rubbish, animal cages, dog faeces and maggots throughout the property with the clean-up bill estimated between $5,000 and $10,000, the Courier Mail reported.
The couple rented their property on Gumtree about five months ago to a family while Amanda and Greg moved away temporarily for work.
Mr Snell said “there is literally weeks of cleaning to do”, adding they would need to replace the spoiled carpets inside the house in addition to the 60 cubic metres of garbage that would need to be removed from the property.
Miss Rehbein said she wanted to warn others to be careful. “Don’t go private,” on rental properties she said but would having a property manager help Mr Snell and Miss Rehbein avoid this mess?
As the couple found out, a good property manager can be worth their weight in gold. Your investment property is worth thousands and thousands of dollars and, as a landlord, your goal is always to protect your property. Most importantly, you need a low vacancy rate to make sure you are getting rent week in and week out and you need to be meeting market rates to maximise the return you make on the property each year – but what does a good property manager actually do to achieve all this?
Good rental property managers help review and look into the background of potential tenants.
As a part of the rental application process, property managers have access to databases that provide information on tenants that have previously rented. One such system, which is used at Red & Co, is called TICA and can tell property managers whether a prospective tenant has been blacklisted by previous property managers, whether they have ever fallen behind on rent or whether they have broken a lease. They also conduct employment checks on potential tenants to ensure they are currently being paid, and that as a landlord you are certain you will continue to receive your rent consistently.
Property managers have access to more marketing channels and a larger potential tenant pool
If you decide to manage the property yourself or go with someone other than a professional property manager (i.e. someone with a licence), you don’t have access to realestate.com.au, which is easily the largest property advertising platform in Australia. You actually have to be a licenced agent to be able to list property on here. If you’re not on realestate.com.au or Domain, you’re missing out on a LOT of potential tenants seeing your property. Private property managers can really only advertise in the newspaper or with signboards, which won’t attract much attention given how technologically-based the world is today. Having a large pool of applicants increases your chances of having a quality tenant that will stay in your property for a long time.
A full-time property manager has more leverage over maintenance and service providers
Think about it, if you’re negotiating with a plumber, for example, and you are one out of 500 clients, he or she probably isn’t that concerned about losing one customer so they can push you harder on price. If your property manager is dealing with the plumber that they use for their other 200 properties on the rent roll, the plumber would definitely be concerned about losing 100 or 200 clients instead of just one. This way, a property manager is in a much better bargaining position because they represent a much larger percentage of the plumber’s business. Therefore, using a property manager can easily save you a lot of money over the years on maintenance. It’s also worth noting that property managers have probably tried and tested a few different service providers and are using the best ones they could find.
There’s no substitute for working full-time as a property manager and intimately knowing the market
Unless you are working in property, it’s really hard to know exactly what the local market is doing. Professional property managers not only have on the ground experience to help them to understand market conditions, but most property managers also subscribe to information providers such as RP Data that can provide information on average rents, vacancy rates and much more. Having this knowledge allows property managers to price your investment property at that sweet spot so your investment doesn’t underperform or sit there vacant. This is a really important thing when you’re trying to reduce vacancy.
We can easily track rental payments regularly instead of checking online all the time
Property managers who work at an agency will pay money for software such as Console (no, it’s not cheap!), which tracks tenants’ rental payments day by day and sends an alert when a tenant falls as much as a day behind on rent. Without these kinds of systems, you would have to be checking manually weekly to make sure the money is coming into your account and, let’s face it, that’s way too stressful! This can cause further problems if you don’t realise the tenant is behind on rent. If tenants get too far behind and you don’t issue breach notices, which is the correct procedure, it can cause all kinds of problems if you take them to QCAT.
Your property manager will handle all the difficult confrontation on your behalf
If you’re the kind of person who hates confrontation, then you DEFINITELY want to make sure you have a good property manager. They will do all the tough stuff for you, whether it be asking your tenants for more money, chasing them up on rental payments or sorting out maintenance issues. The other benefit of having a property manager dealing with your tenants is that you don’t have to be on the phone all the time trying to sort out these issues, especially if you’re on holidays or on a big work trip. No one wants to be sitting on the beach in Hawaii only to have a tenant call and complain about a problem with the hot water!
To avoid making the same mistake as Amanda Rehbein and Greg Snell, don’t risk letting your property to unlicensed or unverified managers, who might as well be complete strangers. Professional property managers like Red & Co have years of experience and can add value in all the aforementioned points.
Would you like to see if your property is performing? Get the Red & Co Rental Report card to see how well your agent is doing. Our team are happy to do this obligation and cost free! Contact us to get it done today.