Key Services to Look for in Quality Property Management
Working with an accomplished team of professional property managers can significantly impact your vacant periods, profitability and overall peace of mind. But, it is important to choose the right company and ensure your agent has sufficient skills and resources to represent your rental property.
Let our Lettings experts explain how a property management service can add value to your rental portfolio and what to look for before you commit.
The Benefits of Rental Property Management Services
Having your property managed by a competent firm authenticates a rental business, whether you have one residence or a broad portfolio, making it more appealing to quality tenants.
Some of the main advantages include:
- Shorter and fewer void periods – finding new tenants can be difficult. A property management team will deal with interviews, references, viewings and deposits, and market the property to the ideal demographics.
- Longer-term tenancies – property managers don’t take on the first potential tenant but work to match the right person to the right rental home. Getting that mix correct means tenants who stay for longer and are satisfied with the quality of the service offered.
- Year-round management – a management firm will take over arranging maintenance works, calling out emergency tradespeople over holiday periods and protecting deposits according to government approval schemes.
- Professional valuations – marketing a rental property includes an analysis of the rental value, recommending an optimal time to increase the rental charge, and actively marketing the property to command the right income level.
- Access to respected contractors – local property management firms work with networks of trusted tradespeople and can often negotiate a competitive price and monitor safety obligations to verify that any required work is to specification.
With these practical benefits, landlords have less exposure to legal liability, with a property management firm on hand to manage notice periods, late payments, tenancy disputes or any other issues, in line with professional standards and rental sector law.
As landlord regulatory requirements become more complex, the time required to control each aspect of the property continues to grow.
What to Look for in a West Sussex Property Management Agent
Understanding the potential returns on a property management service is one thing; identifying the ideal team to work with is another!
Here are the requirements we suggest you prioritise, or at least ask about during the initial consultation.
Property Management Track Record
Local professionals with in-depth knowledge of the area and rental market are far superior to online-only services.
If your property manager has an outstanding reputation and a file of long-term landlord clients, you will usually be able to ask for references and hear first-hand from fellow property owners.
Consistent Low Vacancy Rates
Property owners need to know that if they are paying for a management service, their returns will pay dividends on that investment.
Low void periods indicate a successful marketing approach, an underlying understanding of the best ways to promote a vacant rental property to the right tenants, and the ability to swiftly close an agreement to the satisfaction of all parties.
Some larger agents publish data about the volume of multi-tenant properties they manage, but it’s more meaningful to ask about vacancy metrics than the numbers of buildings.
A credible property management team will always be upfront about fee structures – because they know that a well-managed property will produce higher rental yields and/or profits.
Be conscious of ‘additional services’ and confirm that everything you need has been included in the price so you aren’t hit with unexpected supplementary charges.
Comprehensive property management covers a wide range of services, such as:
- Valuations and setting rental values
- Property marketing and promotion
- Tenant screening and selection
- Moving in and out processes
- Collecting rent and deposits
- Managing inspections and compliance issues
- Maintenance and repairs
- Legal issues and disputes
The ideal is to have a range of services so you can pick and choose the level of involvement you wish your property manager to have – and which tasks you’d like to retain control of yourself.
Comparing the Costs of Self-Managed and Professional Property Management
Many landlords don’t delegate their property management to an experienced agent because they are concerned about denting the value of their income. Self-management is possible, but it’s important to be mindful of the volume of tasks, time requirements, and pressure involved.
If you are dedicated to running a rental property business as a sole focus, it may be convenient to save money on management, provided you have the capacity.
For example, self-management includes:
- Being on call to deal with emergency maintenance requests.
- Chasing late payments or negotiating on rental arrears.
- Arranging periodic inspections.
- Staying updated with changing legislation around rental laws, physical building standards and taxation regulations.
Landlords with multiple properties, those with separate career commitments, or property owners who want to spend more time enjoying their returns will benefit from a property management service.
They don’t need any active involvement with the rental business unless they wish to and find that maintenance costs and non-compliance risks are considerably lower than through self-management.
Full Property Management vs Lettings Agent
Some landlords like to balance the day-to-day running of the property and leave the marketing and tenant vetting to an agent. In contrast, full property management is an end-to-end service.
A lettings agent service is a slimmed-down version of property management, which often acts as a rent collection service, or a ‘let and collection’ option whereby the agent finds the tenants and collects the regular payments. This option may be suitable for landlords with a network of tradespeople in the immediate area who are prepared to handle repairs or queries directly.
Otherwise, full management is a viable way to streamline your rental property income and put the responsibility for compliance and tenant liaison in the hands of a full-time professional team.
Having an expert property company draft your tenancy agreements, manage potential issues and remain up to speed with regulations is a substantial advantage to busy landlords and ensures you receive a better rental income with more sustainable returns.
For more information about property management in West Sussex or the range of services available from the Tod Anstee Lettings Team, please get in touch or drop in and visit us at your convenience.