Do you need a professional property manager? Whether you’re an experienced investor with a portfolio of rental properties, or considering your first property investment, how do you know if you need a professional property manager? How do you determine whether the financial outlay is worth it?
Managing your own long term or short term rental properties can be rewarding and satisfying and this is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make as a landlord. What’s right for you depends very much on your individual circumstances – we look at the five sure-fire signs that working with a property management company is the right move for you.
1. Your phone rings all day
As a landlord, you’re on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a long term let landlord or managing short term and holiday lets. You could be dealing with calls from prospective tenants booking viewings or receiving calls from sitting tenants about repairs or inspections; agreeing key handovers or phoning round to find cleaners for a last-minute booking; chasing up tradesmen or arranging safety certification.
Being a landlord requires excellent communication and organisational skills – and the time to put them into practice. In addition, you also have to deal with the middle-of-the-night emergency calls from tenants or neighbours if anything should go wrong.
If you’re finding that all the calls are interrupting your day job, you’re tired of dealing with them all or you wince when the phone rings, it might be time to consider a property management company. They’ll be available round the clock to deal with any issues that arise, leaving you free to get on with all the other demands in your life.
2. Your duties as a landlord are taking up too much of your time
Some people thrive in their role as landlord, enjoying the multi-tasking required and the potential juggling act needed to keep everything running smoothly. For others, the constant demands on your time and energy can feel like too much – especially if they begin to impact on your work or family life.
In addition, you need to factor in any travel time to your properties, and if you have multiple properties then all your responsibilities are multiplied. If you feel that you spend most of the day, every day, carrying out work in your properties, booking cleaners or rolling up your sleeves to do it yourself, arranging maintenance or repairs, trying to pin down a reputable tradesman, arranging and accompanying viewings… then perhaps your duties as a landlord are becoming all-consuming. This is a definite a sign that you need a professional property manager.
A good property management company will offer a range of services and be able to tailor their offer to suit your needs. With their industry experience and know-how, not to mention a network of trusted, reputable tradesmen, they can take over the time-consuming details and arrangements giving you peace of mind.
3. You have high vacant periods
Vacant periods are expensive. While a week here or there between long term lets is acceptable and allows for routine maintenance, deep cleaning or any decorating required, longer and more numerous periods of vacancy are just costing you money. If you’re dealing with this on a frequent basis and you’re not able to identify the key causes, you’re likely to need a professional property manager to get you back on track.
A property manager will ensure that the property is marketed properly, at the correct price, via high-traffic, reputable property search portals, and marketed towards the desired short term let or long term residential tenants. Once the applications come in, a property manger will be able to screen prospective tenants quickly and effectively – finding a quality tenant is important in increasing tenant retention, increasing repeat short term let bookings and in ensuring your property is cared for, for the duration of the let.
4. You’re struggling to get rents on time
If you’re a long term let landlord, what do you do if your tenants are consistently late paying their rent, or not complying with the terms of their tenancy? Chasing for rental payments and dealing with tenants can be time-consuming and costly, in particular if there is a knock-on effect on your cash flow.
If you’re a short term property let landlord, then chances are your guests pay their rent upfront – but alongside long term let landlords, you still need to manage and handle deposits. For short term lets, this is another time-consuming and detailed task, as you should hold deposits only for the duration of each let. Long term let landlords must take deposits and transfer them into a government-approved tenant deposit scheme.
If you’re struggling to get rents paid on time, and stressed at the time and effort involved in managing deposits then this is a sure-fire indicator that you need a professional property manager. They’ll take over these responsibilities and do everything possible to ensure that rents are paid on time. Often, just having to deal with a professional third party can influence a tenant’s behaviour – but you can be confident that your property manager will be skilled in handling any landlord-tenant conflict and will recognise if a situation requires legal involvement.
5. You spend a lot of time asking Google about property legislation
Do you know the terms of a Private Residential Tenancy? Do you need to be registered as a private landlord? How often you can legally raise rent? Are you up to speed with the potential change in law governing short term lets?
There’s a lot of legislation governing the private rental sector in Scotland, and it’s important to be clear on it all. This is particularly important for landlords based elsewhere or those with multiple properties across several locations. If you’re operating illegally – even if by mistake rather than by design, you could find yourself in legal trouble.
If you’re concerned that you’re not up to date with current legislation – and if the struggle to understand and be compliant with all the statutory requirements is taking away from your enjoyment of being a landlord – then you might need a professional property manager. An accredited lettings agent will work within all current legislation and use current best practice to ensure that you, your property and your tenants are all compliant.
What to look for if you need a professional property manager
If you feel that you might need a professional property manager then it’s important to find the right company for you, so take some time to research the services they offer, find out how flexible they can be in their management plans and meet them in person, if possible – after all, they’ll be looking after your income investment.
Make sure that the lettings agents you choose are members of the Scottish Letting Agent Register. It is a legal requirement that they are and you can identify this by their LARN number.
Make sure the agent is accredited – for example, At Home In Edinburgh is a member of the Council of Letting Agents (CLA). This means that we are bound by their code of practice and have access to their resources and their representation for our landlords. Staff are also trained to the Chartered Institute of Housing Level 3 Certificate in Letting and Managing Residential Property.
You should also make sure that they have appropriate insurances in place, including client money protection.
How can we help?
If you can relate to any of the situations above and feel you might need a professional property manager, then get in touch with us to find out how we can help. Our At Home In Edinburgh team of property experts are happy to answer any queries you may have.
You can call us on 0131 229 4001 or email [email protected].
We offer a range of property management services, covering short term, long term letting and festival letting. We strive to be Edinburgh’s friendliest and most efficient letting agency and work with you to tailor our approach to fit your needs and those of your tenants and guests – and we’re proud that 100% of our landlords would recommend us to other landlords.