So you’ve been with your current property manager for a few years now, when you first got together things were great! You opened up, you took a risk and you gave them your Property to look after. You talked all the time they rang you and caught up with you online to talk about the little things like … a dodgy light switch… a broken smoke alarm (not really a little thing) you got rent all the time – sometimes every two weeks whoah …. and the inspection reports oh those glorious inspection reports! then sometime ago maybe a year or so things changed ….. they just didn’t seem to be … well … as interested in you. You noticed you couldn’t get hold of them or they wouldn’t return calls, when you did catch them on the phone they would make excuses about where they were or why they hadn’t called and yet you knew damn well that they had been with other property owners. Now you sometimes don’t get any rent for 6 weeks and … lord … you haven’t had an inspection report for 6 months! You have needs!!
So what do you do? You need to break up with them my friend …. yes you deserve better, it’s time to get a new property manager. But breaking up is expensive isn’t it? the legal fees, the management agreement, i’ve got a tenant in there how does that work? do they go with the old Property Manager? what about the bond? Then I’m in the singles scene again, how do I find a new Property Manager? Like any professional relationship if its not going well then it’s best to leave. If you took your car to a mechanic and they charged you a small fortune but didn’t do the work they said they would then returned the car in a worst shape than it was, would you be happy? If you went to the Doctor and had some tests done but couldn’t get hold of the doctor to find your results for weeks upon weeks and then found out they never did them, would you be happy? No, in both cases you would find a new Mechanic and a new Doctor. Breaking up is never easy is what they say – but in the case of breaking up with your current Property Manager if you don’t like how they are treating you, its not difficult at all.
Here are the three basic steps involved in breaking up
Find out what’s in your Management agreement Do you have a written Management agreement in place? If so you should find the terms and conditions of canceling the agreement in there. Most Management agreements would be known as a “Sole Agency agreement” and be for a term of 12 months. If you want to cancel at the end of the 12 months in most cases you would provide notice in writing 21 days prior to the end of your agreement… if you are only part way through your agreement then keep reading.
Tell them “Its not me its you” Most management agreements (not all) have a termination clause that allows either party to terminate the agreement with 60 days written notice …EASY AS THAT!!! And yes, this means they can break up with you as well! A simple email advising your wish to terminate the agreement instructions on where to send or how your paperwork and documentation will be collected and the date etc is usually fine.
Get back in the Dating Game The truth is, there are a lot of really good Property managers out there and I think you can break them into three basic categories, you just need to decide which one is right for you.
If you want you can go for The large multi national brand name, they will likely have solid systems (possibly quite dated) in place, charge a fee for anything and everything they do and may provide little flexibility in how they do things. In this relationship you may deal with different people as there staff turnover can be higher due to staff promotions or transfers etc and you may be one of thousands of clients you deal with through their agency.
You could go with The mid-size Manager who may deal with a mix of sales and rentals. There may be no systems in place and they may still be using “carbon paper,” they are probably wearing a “brown suit” when they sign you up, give you the spiel about how great things will be. But the truth might be that you are just there to supplement the income they get from sales, there’s also a good chance you will only ever deal with their secretary and you will probably have to “Fax” documents to them …. hope you’ve got a fax machine!
You could go with The Specialist, chances are they only deal with property management day in day out. Customer service will be critical with them, they are likely to have fantastic systems and software in place and being a smaller business you are likely to deal and have access to them whenever you wish. Because they are a specialist they are likely to have all the required up to date knowledge on their industry, given that they only deal with Property Management they are likely to not only be extremely passionate about what they do but also really care about you and your property.
Ultimately its your choice to choose a new Partner from the categories above but really the point of this article is about breaking up …. don’t stay in a crap relationship because you don’t have to! It’s pretty easy to change property Managers and generally the new one will handle most of the logistics involved in switching. Have a look at what you are currently getting from your current arrangement, is the trust, communication and care there? are you getting the value you deserve, if not then get out! …. Time and time again I hear people say that Property Managers do nothing except charge an exorbitant amount to collect the rent.. That’s possibly true (of a bad one) but a good one on the other hand will save and make you money by making recommendations to you about your property, ensuring a good choice of tenant is made, things are paid on time every time, check that the rules are followed and ensure you are kept informed all the time on how your valuable investment is going.
Now its time to end the Property Management blues ….as they say “Move on Girlfriend/Boyfriend”W