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Stephen Dallow: How to choose your next property manager

Wednesday, February 19, 2020


When it comes to looking after yourself, you should always choose a great doctor who is up to date with the latest medical treatments, a fantastic dentist who can make sure your smile looks amazing for as long as possible and often at the top of a list is a hairdresser that you totally trust. Then it is making sure you have the right insurance cover to protect you and your family. So when it comes to your investment, why not follow the same guidelines?

You need to find a Property Manager who is up to date with the latest regulations and has the best software to run thorough background and credit checks on your prospective tenants, someone with the skills to ensure your investment looks amazing for as long as possible and someone you totally trust and that gives you the best assurance you need.

In a Country where Property Management is not regulated, it is vital to turn to someone that follows strict guidelines and training for their staff.

Do some research before you meet someone. Look for a reputable brand you can trust and go online and read reviews or post on a community social media page asking for feedback from both tenants and landlords on who they recommend.

When you first meet with a potential Property Manager, get them to look around your home and offer suggestions for ways to add value to your asset and to highlight any areas of concern or risk. You will quickly get a sense of their knowledge which will help build trust in the person you are handing your asset over to look after.

Then spend some time focusing on their vetting processes. What steps do they have in place to ensure you are getting the safest options when it comes to tenants. Can they access information from around the globe if needed?

Property Managers should tell you their processes on how they will interview previous Landlords, verify employment and get character references.

When trying to win business they will tell you all the great things their company has to offer to provide you with excellent tenants and service but ask them, what do you do when things go wrong? How do they deal with a tenant who is just two days in arrears? A good Property Manager doesn’t muck around, they should have clear processes to step at the moment the tenant defaults on their payment. Ask what their processes are if during a routine inspection they spot damage or other issues of concern and check the complaints process for that company if at any point you are not happy with the results.

Every three months there needs to be a routine inspection. This is vital for your insurance, to ensure the tenant is looking after the property and to check in and see what maintenance or potential long term maintenance issues may be arising. This is your three monthly chance to see inside your home via some sort of inspection report. Ask them to bring an example to your meeting so you can see first hand what you can expect to see every three months.

Finally, ask to go through both their Property Management Agreement that you will need to sign and ask to see their Tenancy Agreement a tenant will sign. A good Property Manager will be able to walk you through this and explain all the points. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, this is a binding agreement and you must know what you are signing. Check how long you are committed to this agreement and what the process is should you wish to end it.

Check the services they offer as part of this agreement and check the fees. Some companies offer a lower fee but add in lots of additional costs for inspections, tribunal, chasing arrears, letting etc while some offer an all-inclusive fee which can be easier to budget for with no surprises.

As you go through the final steps chat with your Property Manager about how you would like them to communicate with you. Both of you have to build this relationship. Some owners like to know what is happening every step of the way while others feel they have paid for a Property Manager to take the stress off and only need to hear when there are issues. Your Property Managers are not mindreaders so tell them. Equally, give them some trust too. They need a small budget for emergency repairs so they are not chasing you at midnight on a Saturday when a plumber is urgently needed, so do give them a budget so they can do the job efficiently. If you restrict them with too many of your own rules, you will prevent them from doing what they are trained to do and that is to maximise your investment and protect it.

So as you next look for a Property Manager, have a think about the investment you put into yourself and see if you can match it with your Property. Find someone you trust who can keep your home looking amazing and someone who is knowledgeable and up to date.

If you have any questions about Property Management please feel free to email me at sdallow@barfoot.co.nz.


Stephen Dallow 

Stephen has a background in both teaching and property management. His current role is that of the Property Manager Trainer at Barfoot & Thompson. 






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The Tenancy Practice Service and TPS Credit Control work closely with the Auckland Property Investors' Association. Our vision of bringing helpful resources, documents and high quality services to Auckland Property Investors and Property Managers is shared by APIA, so its a partnership that works well. 

The Auckland Property Investors' Association is a great organisation for those who want access to advice and information from a range of industry experts and partners. 

Mathieu Holt- Managing Director, The Tenancy Practice Service & TPS Credit Control
Through the Association I found the channels and methods to fund the purchase of property I never dreamed about. Grant Brown

All round it has been one of those things Neil and I felt was really worthwhile belonging to. We have learned so much it has just built our confidence in what we are doing.

Janice Bieleski
I read two articles in the monthly magazine that saved me over $5,000. That is my membership fee for the next 26 years and I am sure I will learn a whole lot more! John Duncan
Fantastic organisation. The networking opportunities are brilliant and provide us with information and opportunities that cannot be obtained anywhere else. We learn something new at every meeting and we've been in this game for nearly 20 years. Pauline and Gyanen Kumar

I find the information obtained from various APIA meetings very useful in guiding my own property investment and rental management.  I also enjoy the networking opportunities with like-minded investors.  I am inspired by other investors’ success and find the more experiences and knowledge that I share with others, the more confident I become.  

Thanks to all APIA event organizers and administrators for your brilliant work. 

Stella Shao

I like talking to people and learning from their experience because it gives me the confidence to invest well. I think it is a knowledge thing. I now know I am doing things the right way.

Stephen Weatherall

My APIA membership has become a total success.

Every time I attend a monthly or regional meeting I come away with so many useful and positive tips that have added value to my property investments and management.

Not only that, the website is a great place for practical advice and useful information. It has now evolved into an important resource for my business.

Talk about value for money! The discounts I have been getting at Bunnings when I present my APIA membership card have more than paid for my annual subscription!

Tim Duffett, Plan A Investments Limited