As property investors, we all share a concern that our property will not be looked after and cared for by our tenants.
The potential devaluation of our investment, difficulty in securing an ongoing income stream, and associated unplanned expense associated with rectifying damage and completing repairs, is what strike fear into the heart of even the most seasoned property investor.
So, what can be done to mitigate these risks? Let’s explore the obvious and not-so-obvious safeguards that can be put in place to ensure that this scenario does not befall your investment.
- ENGAGE A PRO-ACTIVE & RESPONSIVE RENTAL MANAGER
You want to engage a rental manager who will respond to queries promptly – both your and your tenants. They should be great communicators and pro-active in the management of the property they are responsible for. If possible speak to a couple of tenants and landlords who are currently dealing with the manager to ascertain their style.
- BE SELECTIVE ABOUT WHO YOU ACCEPT AS A TENANT
It seems obvious when it is said, but not all tenants are created equal! In the long run, it may be worthwhile enduring a slightly longer vacancy at the end of a tenancy to ensure that you have a secured a tenant who is a great candidate for looking after your investment. Be sure to communicate this to your rental manager who may feel that getting a tenant, any tenant, is the higher priority.
- COMPLETE ALL MAINTENANCE BEFORE A RENTAL CAMPAIGN
Ensure that any maintenance and repairs are completed before any prospective tenants see the property. This includes the garden as well as all internal areas. This sets the standard and implies the expectation of the landlord that he property will be maintained in this way be the tenant during the tenancy. If potential tenants see damage, they will assume that this has been okay.
- ENSURE YOUR PROPERTY IS PRESENTED FOR A RENTAL CAMPAIGN
This is one of the most overlooked aspects of ensuring that great tenants are attracted to a property. Just as with selling a property, it is the marketing images that attract a potential tenant to inspect a property. The small investment of staging the property for a rental campaign will definitely pay dividends in the quality of tenant a property can attract and also potentially, in the rental income received.
- REGULARLY MONITOR YOUR INVESTMENT
Just as you would monitor any investment that you have, it is wise to keep a regular eye on how things are going. If it is feasible, take a drive past the property on a regular basis and see how things are looking from the street. This can often be an early indicator of any problems arising. When you receive an inspection report from the agent, read it thoroughly, and compare it to previous reports and certainly follow up if you have any concerns. You might even have a specific list of checks you would like the agent to make on your behalf at the time the inspection is completed. This is particularly relevant if you are aware that the property has maintenance issues that will be arising over time. Again, addressing these issues alerts your tenants that a certain standard is expected and that the condition of the property is important to you.
As is often the case, the best strategy is to lead by example. Providing both rental managers and tenants a clear demonstration of your expectations and regarding all parties as part of a team who are nurturing your investment.
Jo Powell, www.the3peas.com.au