tips on property management

Hi All,

I am just about to purchase my first IP. I was wanting to do the property management myself. I planned on advertising, pre interviewing over the phone, then allowing a drive by, then an inspection/meeting at the house. This then followed up by checking of all references - work and previous landlord's. And then hopfully a good gut feeling to select my tenant. Does anyone have any suggestions to make it all run smoothly and also can I claim any expenses etc. travel?

Thanks :)
I have one good suggestion for you.

Don't just check out the previous Landlord opinions, who knows that Landlord may simply want these tenants out and is willing to give a glowing report to you just to get them out.

Get the info of the Landlord before the last one as they won't care as they have no interest in the persons well being and would be more willing to "spill the beans" so to say.

But personally, I think the money paid to property managers to handle your affairs is worth it. It's more cost effective for me to have them doing the work them myself. This includes having the proeprty maangers paying my council rates, insurances, maintenance etc etc.

My property managers know they simply have to call me to explain the situation and to gain autherisation for any expenditure.

Anyway, that is my 2 cents worth for today.

Bye Bye....

Dear Trade,

Would recommend you get yourself a copy of "The Property Owners' Handbook" put out by the Property Owners' Association. A no-nonsense publication which will give you a solid base for self-management.

(Lastest edition is number four which just came out in June.)

Available from:

Property Owners' Association of Queensland Inc.
PO Box 1984
Toowong QLD 4066
Phone: (07) 3378-7411
Fax: (07) 3378-5896
E-mail: [email protected]


Hi Trade,

I've considered Property Managing myself, and have decided against it.

I figure that I'm a soft touch. If a tenant came to me, and pleaded hardship, I'd be inclined to let it go.

The PM of my new property has a tenant who is pleading hardship. He's gone to the government department providing the tenant's pension, and determined that the hardship claim is correct, and recommended that I wait. The tenant has a good history of paying.

But on another unit, he's telling me to watch very carefully.

A different PM on a different property has been giving me what I consider to be good advice- and has put the foot down where warranted.

I work full time, and I don't have the time to liaise with trades people during my working day to arrange these things.

However, if I had time, and if I were a little stronger in my approach, perhaps I could make it work.

I know at least some people in this forum manage properties quite successfully.

I don't think there's a lot available about PM in Australia. There is a book, which I can't find just now, from the US, which had some ideas thought may have been good. Like, giving you tenant a discount if there were no maintenance calls, and paying rent on time. Rent was pegged 5% above market- but 10% discount given conditions.

Something I have done in the past where I have a tenant who wants to stay for a long time, is leave the property with a property manager until you feel comfortable that the tenant is doing the right thing / easy to manage. Then you can approach the tenant and perhaps commence managing the place yourself. This probably depends on the type of property too. I have only done this on properties that I consider to be very low maintenance where I don't think I am getting my monies worth with a property manager (ie. rent always on time and no repairs).

Perhaps this is something to consider ?

Good luck whatever you decide.

G'day all,

There is an old chinese proverb that goes something like this......."Man that have 1 foot each in 2 boats, soon sinks"

What are we trying to be here? Are we property investors or property managers.

For most people, self managing rental properties is a disaster, I have seen it time and time again.

For the measly amount that one has to pay to get proffessional management, is it really worth self managing.

The tenancy acts and regulations are a minefield for the inexperienced and unless one has the time and the inclination to totally familiarise oneself with the requirements of the acts, then one is heading for trouble especially if one happens to get one of those tenants that seems to have a hotline to a local tenants union or association.
I am a licensed Estate Agent and I believe I have a very good working knowledge of the relevant acts, but I still entrust the management of my property portfolio to a property manager.

A property manager does this for a living, they spend their working week "managing properties" day in, day out.
Part of their job includes keeping up with all relevant changes to the acts and the associated forms and paperwork that goes with we really want to be bothered with all this rubbish and red tape?

I for one, have better things to do with my time, like...

reading the real estate sections of newspapers,
checking out the online real estate sites,
dropping in and having coffee with estate agents,
driving around areas of interest,
playing the playstation with the kids,
...........boy I have a busy life, don't know where I'd find time to do this property management thing.

Last financial year I paid over $21,000 in letting fees and collection commission to my property managers office,
I can guarantee that with the extra time I had, it enabled me to make at least double this amount........and that's being ultra conservative.

By all means go out and self manage if that's what you want to do, but remember we all have the same amount of time available to us, how profitably we use our time is up to us......What is the best use of your time?

Hi Trade

Like everyone else on this thread, I favour using a property manager. But that is me.

Begin with the end in mind.

If you want to manage properties as a business then start managing now. The experience is worth it.

If you want to sip cosmopolitans in Monaco while collecting rent, then a good working relationship with a property manager is more important. Start learning how that works now.

Paul Zag
Dear Trade,

Self managing properties is not for everyone and is not a hobby.

Key points:

-As a rule self-managed properties must not be more than one hour drive from where you are located. I believe that should be under 30 minutes.
(Note that this could limit your opportunities but that is the price for self-management.)
-You should run it through a business that you own or in the case that you have a job you must have the flexibility to meet potential tenants and take care of problems WHEN THEY HAPPEN.
-You must have systems in place to run this business including for 1) Tenant selection (This is not just based on a gut feeling.) and 2) Problem resolution.
-You must be able to say no and have people and sales skills. General business skills are always a plus.
-Calculate how many properties you need to manage to pay for your time. Would you be better off using this time finding deals, renovating, developing or making more money?

Paul and Jakk however are correct when they ask "What is your end goal and plan?". If it is not to manage properties or to make it part of a real business then the implications of what is being taken on should be seriously considered.


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I am with Jakk, to me it is cost effective to have a property manager taking care of 'business' in residential property.

The only point at which I would do the managent myself is when I reach some $50k in management fees at which point I would employ my own manager. ( Still not doing it myself).

The only reason that I would consider this course of action is to utilise this person for other jobs appart from property management.

If you enbarke on commercial/industrial investing then I think this picture changes and I would be more inclined to self manage simply because I expect less interaction and my business arrangements would allow for the rent collection function.

Good morning all,
I would have to agree with the general feel of the replies.
I have quite successfully managed industrial properties on commercial leases myself, but when moving into residential leases I found the legal side of it fraught with danger, way to complicated for the amateur in my opinion. If you were to manage your own property be prepared for it to be very time consuming in return for a small saving.

IF you choose to self-manage, read S.Bilosh's "The Australian Landlord's Handbook"- succinct, helpful and practical.
Also develop a thick skin, an ability to solve problems FAST and good book-keeping skills. Buy a lease pack from your local newsagents and have a detailed read.

IF you select a property manager, go armed with a list of questions (search through the archives for several posts on this subject which will save me regurgitating the same old stuff :) ), be prepared to negotiate on fees,(especially if you purchased the property through them or you have more than one property) and let them know exactly what you expect for your money. In turn, allow them to explain to you what they will be doing in their role and you will soon sort out the chaff from the wheat.

In my experiences so far, I've found that communication is one of the most important features in a successful PM-Landlord relationship. You must feel comfortable with the PM and confident that they can do the job.

Just some thoughts anyway. Keep us posted on your progress and good luck!
I have self managed all of my IP's for the past 10 years - touch wood no problems to date. Pls ensure you have landlords insurance to cover you from damage/lost rent. Also use REIQ leases etc to further protect yourself.

I have also typed up my own application form to include Car Rego. Driver licence, Occupation, income, 3 referees etc. This way you can assess the tennants accurately and also have something to fall back on if things go wrong.

I have had a sign made up that I place on the front fence of the property which has worked famously. People then already know the address and if the property may appeal to them. Then they call for deatils on rent, no rooms etc. You can then arrange a time to meet and take them through. Seems to fee up a fair bit of time in travel and on the phone.