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Hello! A Blog about me, Antonio Mesiti

10/10/2019

A little blog about Me

I thought a proper introduction was well overdue. Considering I’m blogging about everything and anything related to Property Management I felt it was time that those reading know a little bit about me, my business and my experience in Property Management.

So here goes, and to keep me from boring you all I’ve enlisted my partner Nelson, to get this done Interview Style.

But first some facts for those of you that don’t know me;

  • I’m Antonio the Director and the Property Manager at The Management Agency
  • I’m 35 and first started in Property Management back in 2003
  • The Management Agency commenced trading in July 2018 after having taken long service leave at my past employer

Why is your Business called The Management Agency?

There are so many agencies out there and most offer Sales and Property Management services.

I wanted it to be clear that my agency is all about Management (Property Management) and in my case the Director is the Property Manager. It’s the Agency that’s just about managing investment properties and that’s what a Property Manager does.

What differentiates your agency from other Property Management Providers?

I offer a traditional Property Management Service but with a One on One approach, where the client’s Property Manager oversees everything from end to end. My clients don’t speak to my accounts department for account enquiries, Leasing team regarding the Leasing of a property or a Principal or Department Manager when they have issues.

They come to me and all of their questions are covered in one call, whether it’s about Leasing, Maintenance, Accounts or anything else, I’m across it because I run a smaller portfolio than most other agencies and know what’s happening at all times. It’s my job to be in the know.

“I use all the latest Tech available to me but my business isn’t just about that.

The Management Agency is more customer – centric focused than anything else.

People want access to tech but they still want service”

What made you leave full time employment to operate your own business?

My main motivation was the flexibility and level of responsibility that this role provides me. Unfortunately there’s only so far that your career can take you within an agency working for an employer in this field. In my experience Property Managers are, for the most part, undervalued until the moment they go to resign from an Agency. This and the pressure of the role contributes to the high turnover of staff in Property Management, it becomes quite detrimental to the overall working environment for those remaining. The loss of staff and therefore loss of knowledge has a flow on effect to clients and their properties where, for a time, everyone’s playing catch up. I have seen first hand the impact of this occurring many times over in my career.

What do you enjoy about Property Management?

Simply put, how my week is broken up into days where I’m either out on the road and days in the office, so no two days are the same and I’m never really confined to an office environment. I like to get out and about even though sometimes it feels like I’m on The Amazing Race.

I don’t think there are many jobs where you have the freedom to set your own week up and run it as you see fit, to be office bound but have the freedom to get up and get out as much as you like and when needed.

What do you NOT enjoy about Property Management?

At times, the uncertainty of the leasing process can be frustrating. You can price a property appropriately and although the feedback is positive, sometimes prospective tenants still don’t apply.

It is all part of the process and the only reason I don’t enjoy it, is my impatience in wanting to get properties occupied ASAP, securing the best possible applicants as I’m always striving for the best outcomes for my clients. Seeking as much feedback as possible though and taking it on board can help this process along but when you’ve done all the right things sometimes it’s a waiting a game to get the right person to turn up and fall in love with the property.

Why did you set up The Management Agency?

Initially to create a role that is flexible for me personally and professionally where I have the end say in how the business operates and with whom I work with.

Over the years, working within other Agencies, I found that staff (myself included) were always limited as to the time, effort and resources that they could devote to their clients and this along with other shortfalls results in Property Managers feeling as though they’re not servicing their clients effectively or to expectations. Unfortunately this does little for one’s confidence or job satisfaction.

It really made sense to operate a business where you’re addressing the concerns that clients have which are simply things like, the high turnover of Property Managers, dealing with multiple people and getting differing answers. Along with calls and emails not being returned, assurances not being met and the poor filtering of information to owners where there are multiple people involved in what can be the simplest of processes. I feel that The Management Agency eliminates all of these issues and grievances for both Landlords and Tenants.

So really, addressing these concerns and getting rid of limitations was behind my reasoning and more than one year in I’m seeing how this is benefiting my clients and am certain that I’ve made the right move.

What are you most Proud of?

Simply being a small business that’s doing well!

Where so many small businesses fail, which was a great fear of mine, I’m on track and kicking my goals ahead of my initial 3 year forecasts. I’m very proud of how far I’ve come in just over a year and that I’ve been able to learn so much in this time.

I’ve learned many aspects of operating a business that I had absolutely no knowledge of prior. So yes, I’m simply proud that I beat my fear of failure and have just put my head down and done whatever I have needed to do to get started and keep the business consistently moving forward.

What do you like to do in your down time?

A lot of nothing but lazing at home with my partner and our two cats. I mostly enjoy gardening which sometimes becomes more of a need to do than a want. At the moment spending a lot of time at home in the Southern Highlands where I do most of my admin work on the days when I’m not needed at the properties I manage.

Otherwise I love food, so cooking is huge for me and of course trying new cafes and restaurants as much as possible. I love to get out of Sydney and head into the country where my parent’s have a farm and really switch off, so at the end of a Saturday showing properties, you’ll catch me on the freeway.

Where do you see yourself in 5 Years?

I see myself still in this role with The Management Agency, however my goal is to obviously grow The Management Agency whilst retaining my core principles, business structure and ensuring the service my clients receive is the one they were promised regardless of whom it is servicing them from within the business.

I’m confident that I will require support as the business evolves but I do aim to always remain at the forefront of the business, meeting prospective tenants and clients and doing inspections. I just can’t be office bound all week long and believe a Property Manager must always be at the forefront and available to their clients.

Hopefully you’ve learned a little bit more about me. I think I’ve covered some good questions here but as always open to any questions you might have!

Thanks also to my very supportive partner!

Antonio

Sydney Rental Market Update

22/8/2019

A slight climb in Vacancy Rates is always the norm around June coming into the winter months but this June up from 2018’s 2.8% vacancy rate for the same month.

The figures don’t lie and it does represent a shift where there’s been much more supply to meet similar demand levels. Time on the market is what’s been most frustrating as tenants take their pick of what’s on offer and then making offers on rentals their interested in.

The winter months do mean a seasonal time for hibernation in a sense with not many tenants wanting to make a move unless they have to or really want to.

On the front line, I’m seeing less enquiries and fewer prospective tenants through properties overall. With some one-off offerings, that look like great value, tenants are turning up but many turn away when the offers been too good to be true.

The Key has been to keep your rent in line with other similar properties or pay the price in Vacancy, tenants will still apply if it’s the right fit but they’re looking at so many more properties than ever before looking for the best value for money, quality properties, position and access to amenities. Rent reductions have been key to getting properties occupied quickly otherwise they risk getting stagnant on the market.

Whereas usually you would see slight rent reductions done over weeks, many owners and savvy agents wanting to cut to the chase offer significant reductions knowing that some Income is better than none!

If you need any advice or want my opinion on your Vacant Property feel free to contact me.

Hoping for a more positive report next time with a little less on the market, though I know many tenants that are hoping it remains in their favour, obviously!

Personally, I feel it’s on the up much like the sales market where things are showing positive signs of improvement as is showing in July’s Vacancy Rate Survey Results, down to 3.0% from June to July, so just in time for some warmer weather. Yes the property markets are cyclical but also seasonal and Spring is just about here!

Residential Vacancy Rates (Inner Sydney):

Jan 2019        3.2%

Feb 2019        2.9%

Mar 2019       3.7%

Apr 2019        3.2%

May 2019       3.1%

Jun 2019        3.4%    June 2018      2.8%

July 2019       3.0%

Things are looking up just in time for Spring.

Antonio 🙂

 

How easy is it to Change your Managing Agents?

6/8/2019

Firstly, let me say it’s not like the daunting task of refinancing your home loan to another lender but we all associate with that task as being a huge undertaking. I wouldn’t know about changing banks though because like you, who has the time and patience for that.

BUT Changing Property Managers, isn’t that hard from the landlords, or even the tenant’s perspective which I’ve found is a real concern for a lot of landlords. They don’t want their tenants to be concerned or inconvenienced. Fair enough, but it’s a pretty simple process and one that’s largely undertaken by the new agent you’ve chosen to manage your property.

What does it mean for Tenants?

As an owner you might be concerned about the inconvenience caused to your tenants but this is it.

  • Tenant does need to change where they pay rent to, most agencies offer similar payment methods anyway and all need to provide a fee free payment option by law
  • The tenant has a new point of contact should they need anything
  • An inspection will be needed after the changeover for your property manager to familiarise themselves with the property and assess any outstanding or new issues your tenant might want to raise
  • It would also be fair that the new agent gives the tenant a brief explanation as to what initiated the change to give them some peace of mind

Not hard at all right? If anything, maybe your tenant will like the change and dealing with someone new or even more attentive. Who knows?

And for Landlords?

Three simple steps and these can be found by clicking here on my website.

Because really after these steps it’s up to your new agent to carry out a physical inspection and collection of your documentation relating to your property and its tenancy.

It’s that simple and straightforward that this is my shortest blog post to date.

If you’re thinking of making a change or would just like to have a chat about anything and everything Property Management feel free to contact me here.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Antonio 🙂

A Landlords Rights & Responsibilities – the brief run down

25/7/19

At some stage in the near future it will be a requirement that all landlords read and sign a disclosure that they have read and understood their rights and responsibilities – BEFORE – a lease can be signed but ahead of that I’m going to outline some of these as briefly as I can keep it.

I would be confident in saying that the majority of landlords would be well aware of their responsibilities and even their rights as a landlord and where I’ve come across that don’t, I feel it’s a Property Managers duty to educate and inform their landlords along the way. This ensures landlords are not unknowingly breaching their responsibilities as well as protecting their rights.

I think it comes down to a Property Manager looking after their clients Best Interests which in turn also ensures the property and its tenants are looked after as well.

TIP: Ask for a copy of a Blank Lease Template and you’ll be able to read everything that you’re technically agreeing to as a landlord.

So, I’ll keep this post really simple and lay out what an owner should / needs to be doing to look out for themselves first and fore most and for any tenants reading, this applies and assess who’s looking out for you!

  • Be Selective with your Property Manager, do not base a final decision purely on fees. You get what you pay for- always. You need to pick someone that’s efficient and communicative.
  • Present your property in the best way you possibly can to attract the best possible tenants
  • When selecting a tenant, you can choose the best applicant for your property, but you cannot discriminate purely religion or race.
  • Each and every repair is your responsibility (aside from standard light globes) try and have all repairs up to date before tenants move in.
  • Leases can be for 6 or 12 months, longer leases can be negotiated though
  • Landlord Insurance is highly recommended, with a bond consisting of 4 weeks rent it’ll do little to cover your financial losses in many possible scenarios
  • All repairs should be action as soon as possible with express requirements of Urgent Repairs. In any case, all should be acknowledged and tenants informed along the way. Your agent should be given your instructions on how to act should they not be able to contact you.
  • Smoke Alarms should be checked annually, an owner’s responsibility, all agents will recommend outsourcing this for a small annual fee. Invaluable for peace of mind!
  • Pets are more common than not these days so be open to the possibility; many apartment buildings have an approval process in place but you have the ultimate say. Give Pets consideration in order to open up your property to so many more prospective tenants
  • Your agent will do periodic inspections of the property, you should think of these as monitoring the condition of the property and how it is being maintained. These inspections are not necessarily to check the tenants living habits unless they are damaging or causing excess wear and tear.

Landlords, It’s not always fun. I called an owner the other day and had to promise her next time I called her I’d give her good news because it’s been challenge after challenge of late. So I called her and gave her my own personal good news, my wins for that week.

I get it, sometimes we just need to hear something positive and not just be thrown issue after issue.

And that’s what you have to do, roll with the punches. It’s not always satisfying to have tenants because of the rental income. The income goes straight away to mortgages, rates and bills, but having a happy tenant and a smooth-running tenancy can be very satisfying for many landlords.

You don’t always reach that point where all parties are consistently happy but if everyone is meeting their end of the agreement then that, is the bare minimum we should always all expect.

If you have any questions about this Post or anything else Property Management reach out to find out more about my services or simply if you just need to know where you stand!

Curious to see a copy of a Draft Lease, Email me and i’ll flick one straight back at you.

Antonio

Buying into ANY Strata Building

27/6/19

I recently posted a blog covering what to look for when buying into a NEW Strata Building and I had promised a more general post about buying into a Strata Complex that’s existing.

In light of the recent Mascot & Opal Towers matters I thought it needed to be written, aside from all that we’re hearing in the media, there’s a lot here but it’s worth noting all of these points!

I’d really recommend reading this and as much as you can before going out to look at apartments, you simply can’t afford not to. We now have in Mascot, uninhabitable properties where leases are easily broken and owners paying mortgages and extra levies with no income and a property they cannot occupy. I can not imagine the toll this is taking on peoples lives.

One thing that sticks with me is that we as Australians have more consumer rights and guarantees for an appliance than an apartment. Think about that for a second.

FACTS:

  • In NSW alone about 15% of the population live in Strata Apartments that’s over 1.1 million residents in NSW  according to the Australian National Strata Data 2018 report carried out by UNSW and Strata Community Association
  • A massive 48% of these are occupied by tenants
  • Nationally it’s 2.2 million so NSW holds a huge portion of Strata residents

As a Property Manager, property in Strata titled complexes i.e. a Strata Plan, make up the majority of rental properties managed for many agencies and many investors specifically choose to buy into a Strata Plan for their investment property.

So why do I invest and think others invest in apartments specifically?

When you buy into a Strata plan, you’re effectively buying allocated airspace, aside from what’s affixed to the floors and walls those structural floors and walls are owned by and therefore maintained by the Strata Plan.

So, if you get your airspace and fit it out well and maintain your fixtures and fittings then you essentially have less maintenance and easily lettable space, for everything else that’s a common area issue you can report that to your Strata Managing Agent but be aware of all of the following!

As an investor, your property manager should know what’s what and do the liaising on your behalf with Strata.

Essentially, I believe that if your property in a Strata Plan is in a good location and that the complex itself appears to be well maintained then you have a good investment but there are a few things to look out for and be vigilant about before committing;

Check the By-Laws              

Each Building has a set of By-Laws, rules to live by, that apply. A lot of these are standard but you need to know what’s allowed and what isn’t. Look for things like Pets, when you can and can’t move in and out, smoking etc. Definitely read through them all. Tenants MUST be provided a set of the By-Laws when they move in.

Carry out a Strata Search with Budget Forecasts included

Any Strata Building has running costs as well as forecast future upgrade costs. Make sure that the building has built up a healthy fund known as a Sinking Fund, that shows a decent balance for what the building will need down the track. New lifts, painting and sprucing up. Low balance and when necessary upgrades come up all owners will be hit up for some quick fund raising regardless of when you bought in. These searches will also show how good everyone else is at contributing or do are the arrears huge. Your conveyancer / solicitor should be able to seek and assess a Strata Search.

You’ll need to check some of the past meetings, you need to know what’s going on and that there is an owners committee that cares about the building.

I’d also be looking through as many common areas as you can, look for cracks, signs of damage or poorly maintained areas. It could be an indicator for a building where not a lot gets done!

Check if there are any capital works proposed or that might be needed.

This should be highlighted in the Strata Search and noted by your solicitor or conveyancer but you want to question and know if any major projects are in the works that might be at your expense. Things such as dealing with upgrades or concrete cancer involve a lot of work and long-term expense. They also highlight that the building may have issues that you don’t want to be part of or that won’t make it worthwhile investment. If you’re set to lease this property then you want to make sure that there’s nothing in the works that will be an ongoing inconvenience or turn off to potential tenants.

Any other planned developments in your area

Is your view going to be obstructed or street parking set to be lost due to a new complex going in? These are all things you need to know and can find out by filtering through Development Applications via your local council online or by calling. Take a walk around the area and try to pin point land that might be slated for redevelopment, this can effect infrastructure down the track and the availability of local resources. We’re also hearing a bit too often of damage to existing buildings when a new one goes up close by

How much are your Strata levies?

Now this directly affects your bottom line, each and every quarter. The more amenities the building has the more the levies. Do you need or want access to a pool or onsite building manager? Those costs go up over time and not down as does the upgrade of elevators the more a complex has the more it’s going to cost to upkeep and that’ll come down to how the sinking fund looks now and is maintained. Lots of Strata plans need to enact Special levies to raise money when necessary upgrades occur so you need to be aware of what the building will need down the track and be prepared to contribute. You therefore can’t always budget on the current levy amount as some buildings see that rise year on year, to one of my investments there’s been a 45% increase in 7 years.

Design & Appearances

Appearances, you know, can be deceiving. You need to have a thorough look at the building  and look at it as an outsider. Ask yourself:

  • Impression as you walk up to and through the building
  • Is it well presented and maintained, lawns and gardens tidy
  • Do the exterior, internal or common area walls have any issues like cracking, peeling or running paint etc.
  • Pay attention to the materials used internally and externally as well as the overall quality of the construction. If in doubt take someone along to inspect with you
  • If possible, research the developer, check out their other sites, their overall build quality and reputation. Good to see how other builds are holding up down the track, They NEED to have a good track record.
  • Is the car park well lit and dry? If it’s not dry then find out why

Internally you want to make sure the apartment itself has a good layout, light throughout the day and air flow are specifically important. Tenants look for these things. Make sure bathrooms have some form of ventilation preferably a window or at the least an exhaust fan. Not all apartments are the same, you want to make sure the bedrooms are reasonably generous and the living room. An internal laundry or fixtures for a washing machine at the least are valuable additions.

If parking is a feature then check its location and accessibility as well as the carpark generally, is it well lit, laid out and reasonably maintained.

Lastly on this point. You need to consider your ideal tenant that you’re seeking and it needs to appeal to that demographic, families, couples and singles all have differing needs so consider that when factoring in the location, size and layouts.

And FINALLY

Don’t look at an apartment and fall in love, really look around and ask questions. Do all of your due diligence and one would hope that you buy into a (hopefully) hassle free strata complex. Ask agents, ask Strata Managers and people in the area for advice on building history.

There’s a lot to think about, along with financing your purchase but these are valid points you need to consider before committing. If it will essentially be an investment property then you don’t need to be able to live there yourself and you personally don’t need to live it but it needs to be attractive to future tenants and have the right layout and management behind it, to make it a worthwhile investment in the long term.

It’s obvious that with the recent events impacting Opal & Mascot Towers that reforms are needed when it comes to Building Regulations which are finally being looked at. You can read the latest here on what’s being proposed by the NSW Government to step in and get involved on this important issue.

Happy to help with any advice you might need.

Happy Buying- Antonio

To Furnish or Not to Furnish your Rental Property

15/5/2019

This gets asked a lot.

A few months ago, I was reading “The Subtle Art of not giving a ^%$” and something stuck, not quoting word for word but the message came across clearly, the more we have in life the more we have to maintain, the more we have on our plate and more to manage. This really applies here as well. Also, well worth a read!

At several stages over the years where managing furnished properties I’ve had to call owners about replacing or upgrading furnishings. I remember one time where a landlord was outraged, they had to replace a vacuum cleaner that had stopped working, from memory to appease them off to The Good Guys I went to get a new vacuum cleaner. I always say though, the more you leave within a property the more responsibility and upkeep costs you have as a landlord and that goes for anything you provide with your rental property at the outset.

Leasing furnished properties is really the exception and not the rule, furnished properties being offered with Residential leases are not come across by on the regular.

Believe me the costs do come, a Fridge that’s worked fine for years will need new seals or re gassing, a chair may break and so on.

So if you really do want to lease your property furnished or with any inclusions that’s something to be aware of. As an agent the upkeep and management of a furnished property is a lot more involved, thorough inventory reports are needed to be provided with the properties for one thing and maintenance will be more regular.

From a tenant’s point of view, it’s quite clear cut, a tenant will either want a property furnished or unfurnished.

If you as a landlord want to leave a one-off appliance, most commonly a fridge or washing machine then your Rental Listing should indicate that and prospective tenants told by the agent when viewing the property. That one-off inclusion then just needs to be listed on the In going condition report and photographed- and the responsibility to maintain will be on the owner of course.

Interestingly, In my experience owners are relocating and don’t have use for their furnishings and are not purposely furnished for leasing, so the key is here, removing any personal and precious items. I once appraised a property in Redfern that was complete with Antique and beautifully details furniture and bric a brac, I had to walk away from that one sensing the owners attachment to their pieces.

Want to lease your property furnished? Here’s some pro’s and cons’

PROS

Owners are likely to save time, money and effort. i.e.  removalists and ongoing storage

If it presents well then it can help when leasing vs presentation of a vacant property

Rent achieved (maybe) slightly higher, dependant on overall presentation and quality of included furnishings

CONS

Owner is responsible to maintain anything included with the property, furniture and appliances

Furnishings are subject to wear and tear and upgrades and replacements will be needed

Prospective tenant pool is decreased, more tenants demand long term and unfurnished property

Increased change over in Tenants, tenants seeking furnished properties typically want shorter leases and not long-term tenants. They maybe on short term work contracts, travelling etc.

Agent costs may be slightly higher due to increased initial and ongoing work required

You will need to be flexible; some tenants will want to negotiate what stays and what goes

The time frame in which to lease the property is typically longer, although this can be seasonal and dependant on your pricing and overall offering

TIPS

-Be open to un-furnishing or partly if the ideal tenant comes along and present this option in your advertising if you want to make that available to prospective tenants.

-Find the right agent that wants to help with your furnished property and knows what they need to cover in terms of documenting the tenancy and properties condition and inclusions. Someone that already manages furnished properties already.

-Furnishings and overall colour scheme will have to be neutral with some key points of interest such as art, great rugs and homely touches. A complete IKEA display suite might not attract tenants.

While I don’t absolutely love or loathe working with furnished properties and only manage 3 furnished properties, there is more work involved, more to think about and always a smaller target market looking for furnished properties. As an owner you need to decide if your property and your needs will align with the that target markets needs and wants.

I also feel that it’s in the owners best interests to have a longer lease, less to maintain and therefore less ongoing costs when considering that there are turn over of tenants and therefore agency costs and the usual risk of vacancy between tenants.

Patience and persistence is key, to find the right tenants and my main goal is to find tenants that will sign a 6 or 12 month lease and plan to stay on for a reasonable amount of time. The main reason being to prevent a cycle of turn over that’s costly to the landlord and at the same time we’re preventing wear and tear and unsteady or unpredictable stream of income.

Lastly though I think some properties are better suited than others to be leased furnished so worth getting an agent through that can assesses the pro’s and con’s of your particular property.

Have I missed anything?

A 🙂

Buying off the plan and into a New Development? Read this!

26/4/2019

With so many New Developments being delivered in and around Sydney many of these new properties are being bought as investment properties, I’ve heard estimates of 200,000 new properties being completed this year alone.

It’s likely that this trend will continue, having been the first property manager to oversee the hand over, leasing and ongoing management of several new properties I thought it’d be useful to share my experiences of some common occurrences when buying new.

This is also a post that maybe a few of my clients would’ve liked to have come across before they had purchased, they’re Investment property off the plan or in a Newly completed building.

This isn’t to say in any way that they’ve made a bad decision but there are somethings that a developer or selling agent won’t tell you. I don’t sell so have nothing to lose!

Further to that, as a Property Manager it’s on us to foresee these issues where possible but some have been new and surprising, even to me.

NEW BUILDINGS MEAN, NEW…

  • …Defects

A new building is not and never without some form of defect or defects but owners and agents will be provided with a guide on how to deal with these and they should be reported as soon as possible to the appropriate person.

New Buildings are increasingly improving their procedures and the information they provide at handover.

Defects can be anything from patchy paint work, doors that don’t line up, appliances not connected (it’s happened) leaks or any number of teething issues.

The first tenants will likely pick up on these as they start to settle in so it is crucial to make sure tenants are assured that you want these issues reported and as soon as possible so that these defects do not become the owner’s responsibility down the track.

 

  • …Rules

Move ins (and outs)

Many newer buildings now require that tenants pre book they’re physical move in date along with a timeframe, some even require that tenants leave a deposit in case of any damage to common areas.

For the most part it’s to ensure that there aren’t an excessive number of move ins at any one time, or that the move will disturb other occupants. It also allows the building managers time to put up protection curtains within the elevators or assign a lift for the tenants use.

It’s also important to know if the building doesn’t allow moves over the weekend- have been caught out there, and never again. Weekends are tenants preferred move in dates so new tenants need to know well ahead of time and generally book well in advance is as they will decline requests where there are other bookings already set.

 

TIP: Make sure your agent has the appointed Strata Manager and/or Building Managers details so that they can obtain all the information they need.

 

Keys

Security keys, swipes and access cards are strictly limited in newer buildings where the aim is to really ensure the building is only accessed by those that need access. Definitely something to be mindful of if you have 3 Tenants, and your access limit is 3 security passes per apartment- this means no spare set available. See Costs sub-heading to follow!

 

By-Laws

Every building has its own set of By-Laws, these always need to be reviewed but especially within a new complex so things like I’ve mentioned above can be picked up.

New Properties should come with an Owners Guide which will include;

-By Laws

-Contacts for Developers, Builders, Strata and Building Managers

-Instructions relating to appliances and fittings

-Procedure for reporting issues, defects

 

Worthwhile sharing with your tenants as well!

 

  • …Costs

You’ve paid for a brand-new property but are there hidden costs? Well there may be.

If you have more tenants on a lease than you have security keys these need to be provided to all tenants listed on the lease, some buildings limit how many they’ll issue to each property- that limit could be just at settlement or a limit imposed permanently.

With a new building, will come a New Development Charge if your tenant wants to be connected to the NBN. Currently $300.00, as to who’s responsibility it is to pay is highly debatable. While the lease will state it’s the tenant’s responsibility, a lot of advice on this leads to fact that owners “should” reimburse tenants as that connection will remain with the property long after the first tenants have moved.

Does your property come with Blinds?

A worthwhile question asking at the point of purchase or you’ll need to provide these for tenants and arrange them once you have possession. From my experience most New Developments don’t come with any window coverings.

Repairs are inevitable with all rental properties and one would think that with a new property there would be little to maintain, and you would be right as most repairs would come under defects so reporting these are crucial in the first weeks.

 

  • & Look out for!

When doing your Pre-Settlement Inspection, which should be the time you’re looking for defects is to take a close look at the finished paint job.

Not only obvious patchy paint work but it’s sometimes obvious that new apartments are only given one undercoat and one coat of paint, you’ll be able to tell by the appearance and it is especially obvious on any internal door frames.

Have a feel of bench tops surfaces and floor boards, while everyone loves the look of raw materials in many cases, I’ve seen unsealed surfaces that are no good when it comes to every day spills and these materials will soak up stains. While the builders may not rectify this it’s something that should be detailed at the time of purchase, specifically materials and finishes. Whatever assurances or inclusions are promised- get it in writing!

 

TIP: Agents need to make sure that the Strata & Building Managers know who is managing the apartment and ahead of any tenants moving in. They need contacts in order to resolve any issues.

 

  • …Competition

When a new building gets its final tick of approval, AKA an occupation certificate, new owners will rush to get their keys.

Then the individual properties will start to surface on the rental market and where the properties are all new and appearing online one after the other, pricing is everything.

Your pricing really will be based on how your property sits against the others. Is your floor plan more practical and spacious? Do you have a better aspect?

What I did in a recent situation was unashamedly attend the competitions inspections, being upfront about who I was of course to see where we sat compared to other properties and priced it accordingly.

Thinking as a tenant though, if you’re looking in a new building, you’re also likely to have a look at as many available properties as possible and they’re likely to have their pick based on preference.

 

TIP: If you’re paying for professional photography, have your photos watermarked with the agent’s logo- or it’ll be a free for all to use- at your expense.

 

Up Soon –  I’ll cover some General Tips for Strata Buyers

Property Management Volumes & Procrastination

4/4/2019

Speaking from experience I’ve always believed that these factors impact greatly on the service and delivery that clients and tenants experience within Property Management.

Maybe more broadly these are issues impacting so many other industries!

VOLUME:

I mean the number of properties that a Property Manager needs to have under their management in order for their position, and the business that they work within to be viable.

I was chatting with a tenant the other day and he was asking how business was going and how I was managing it, I said something along the lines of it going quite smoothly especially as I was now only managing just under 50 properties. They’re response was “ONLY!”, yes only. I’ve worked in offices managing up to 250 with minimal administration support.

Of course I want to slowly increase my portfolio but in a sustainable and manageable way and will max out at some stage where there’ll be a need for assistance. But get in while you can ;p

The numbers of properties that the majority of property managers have under their watch is simply too many. It’s already a mammoth task being organised enough to smoothly manage these figures but for so many property managers it can just take one situation occurring that sends everything else crashing down, and it’s the norm for unexpected situations to arise, Constantly.

Obviously, a business needs to be profitable but what do we see when volume is always running at its upper limits, we see Staff turnover, dissatisfied clients that go elsewhere and complaints. It also leaves no room for growth either.

As an investor, you really should find out how many properties your Property Manager has under their management, after all, what are you paying for when you can’t get a call or email response for 2-3 days.

What about the Staff turnover that this model creates, Property Managers burn out and when they do, they leave the industry or that particular office they take with them all of their knowledge about your property – information and knowledge that can’t be all included in a handover- where handovers are rare!

New recruits are not lining up to get into property management, let’s be honest, they either want to get into Real estate sales or stay away all together.

Procrastination:

2019 started off with a lot of online chatter about procrastination and how it really is the handbrake of progress and a real stressor to many people. We all do it, not just Property Managers but I’ve seen a lot of it in my time.

In Property Management I think much of the time, procrastination may just be a person that’s been non-stop busy, relishing whatever down time they can get and therefore just putting off tasks that are non-urgent. I can almost see the rational there but whatever that task is, it will continue to just get put off Until it becomes urgent and in property management- like many roles- we should be proactive instead of reactive.

Within Property Management though procrastinating a specific task turns a non-urgent issue into an urgent one quickly, simply because that proactive approach is needed.

Property Management is a stressful space and it’s deferring stress that leads to procrastination because we as humans worry about the short term.

Explained clearly in a New York Times article I recently read “Put simply; Dr. Pychyl and Dr. Sirois found that procrastination can be understood as “the primacy of short-term mood repair … over the longer-term pursuit of intended actions.” Put simply, procrastination is about being more focused on “the immediate urgency of managing negative moods” than getting on with the task, Dr. Sirois said.” A worthwhile read, the article can be found here.

Basically, a Good Property Manager needs to “Just do It” and get on with the tasks at hand.

So how do you know as a Landlord when choosing an agent, the service that you can expect:

-Ask.                     How many properties does your potential property manager look after? You need to know where you sit amongst a sea of properties and clients that they are managing.

-Observe.             How quick is the turnaround time for simple or even more involved enquiries and questions? If it’s slow, it doesn’t usually improve over time.

And Remember. The service that you receive is similar to that of which your tenant is going to experience, and we need tenants to be looked after!

The Right Landlords Insurance

8/3/2019

These days we insure everything and as a landlord it’s now seen as must to have a policy in place that covers you as a landlord, the choice of policies are endless which has made for some competitive pricing.

Did you know;

Many of the larger insurers, where we insure our home, cars, income and lives offer policies for landlords insurance that don’t cover for events such as accidental damage or what they sometimes refer to as a result of “Bad House keeping.”

Getting the right policy is not always clear but so important.

Claiming on your landlord’s insurance policy shouldn’t be and isn’t in my experience a regular occurrence but where a Bond can be consumed so quickly for Rent Arrears, Invoices, Damages and cleaning it’s a must have in place, if you as a landlord, do not wish to bear a financial loss when a tenant vacates your property or a typically insured event occurs.

Pursuing a tenant where a property has been damaged or the tenant has absconded can be a minefield, and most property managers can guide you through or facilitate that process, BUT, there’s only so far we can go.

Property Managers can get Tribunal issued orders and attempt to have those orders enforced via a local court or even a Debt recovery agency but those do Add on more costs in fee’s and charges which the landlord needs to cover until recovery or a successful insurance claim.

A better alternative is a thorough Landlords insurance policy (some costs less than $1.00 per day), believe me this is not an advertising situation as I can’t legally recommend any one Insurer but I can advise of several companies that give you a policy you can actually claim on when need be.

A Case Study:

A tenant had vacated the property leaving us with a small amount of rent owing, cleaning and repairs to walls which quickly consumed the rental bond. They’d also obviously been preparing food directly onto a New Marble Benchtop leaving knife marks across the marble surface. The Owner was not covered for what the insurer classed to be Bad Housekeeping and had to pay to rectify the damage. Despite enforcement orders and Listing this tenant on a database the owner did not recoup their loss.

This was a policy costing $900 per annum, Insurance from a Landlord Insurance specific provider would have provided coverage at a cost of $323.00 per annum and would have covered the cost of re polishing and surface protecting the marble.

It’s not all that hard to change and the cost savings should be motivation enough.

The take away advice here is get your current policy and check it twice and if you don’t have landlords insurance then get it!

What to look for?

You need to be covered for:
  • Loss of Rent
  • Hardship
  • Absconding
  • Failing to give vacant possession
  • Defaulting on Rent
  • Accidental & Malicious Damage
  • Theft
  • Pet Damage
  • Flood Damage
  • Death of a Tenant
  • Hardship
  • Fire
  • Storm / Water Damage
  • Legal Expenses
  • Liability
  • Drug Lab Clean Up (yes)
  • Loss and damage as a result of Domestic Violence

Most of the policies from specific Landlord Insurers cover all of these items above, whilst I can’t recommend you to one insurer for legal reasons, you can ask me for Brochures of several insurers that I have worked with in the past so you can make an informed decision.

In the end you’re paying for peace of mind and protecting yourself from potential financial hardship if you end up with unexpected costs and a property in a state that can’t be re let straight away.

LASTLY: There are several insurers that will only consider a policy as valid if there is a Fixed Term Tenancy in place. So if your tenants were on a continuing agreement you might be paying for a policy that will not pay you out because of this technicality. In this day and age where renting provides all with some flexibility these policies in my opinion don’t suit anyone and do not work for anyone. It’s unrealistic so I would recommend checking  your Insurers policy on this point.

Hope this has been of some help! Phew, there’s a lot I know!

Antonio

What Clients Like about The Management Agency

31/1/2019

The Management Agency, in business terms is relatively new and small, though growing at a steady pace.

Feedback is invaluable, whether it be good or bad it’s a must to find out how you’re doing from your clients perspectives and many times the only way to find out, is to ask, welcome it and listen.

I recently spoke with a few of our clients recently and asked them what they’re liking so far;

It’s a Small Business

I run a small business and happily so, having worked in many agencies it means I’ve had to manage a large number of properties at the one time. In many agencies a single Property Manager can Manage up to 200 properties, so no wonder why it’s stressful and things get missed. With a significantly smaller pool of properties and engaging the most up to date and relevant software and programs it’s definitely all Manageable.

People like to shop small and it’ll stay small and limited to ensure that the service is always there and available for our clients.

Communicative & Responsive Service

With a small portfolio of properties, comes time. Having been used to an endless to do list, I’m enjoying the additional time to make sure I’ve covered all bases and am available when it suits my clients and tenants. There’s no confusion as to who to call and being the person on the front line, it’s up to me to have the answers or to seek them. People like to call or email me directly for the answers that they need regardless of the subject of their enquiry.

Ease of access to Information

I have had some great feedback on our Financial reporting, easy to understand and customisable to client’s preferences. All of my clients have different needs when it comes to how they want their reports and the software I’ve implemented makes that very simple.

Clients also like accessing previous statements, inspection reports and Invoices via their client access portal which also holds important information such as upcoming expiry and review dates, rental figures, forecasting and financial history.

Tenants also have 24/7 access to statements, receipts and correspondence.

All of our owners and tenants are issued access invitations at the time of signing

Our Welcoming Difference

Tenants have been most vocal about the difference in their experience with The Management Agency vs a traditional agency. They’ve found it very convenient that lease signings are carried out at the property, usually on their moving day and they get to view the property, sign the lease and take keys then and there and have any questions answered on the spot.

Tenants are grateful that they get to meet at their new home instead of an office as it’s much more convenient for them.

Direct Feedback

A further benefit of being on the front line is honest and real feedback from prospective tenants when showing properties for lease, post periodic inspections and passing that on, unfiltered, to all parties. Having a Property Manager meet prospective tenants and checking applications has helped to place the most suitable tenancies. Honesty and transparency with owners and tenants are always important but doing so, face to face at a property provides a further layer of clarity and understanding where the third party is limited to one person, Me.

Clients were very open in saying that having been referred from someone with first hand experience with the way in which I operate gave them confidence and then having met one on one they felt that the one on one approach and simplicity of the processes made complete sense.

 

It’s clear that we’re doing something right where various new clients have been referred by friends, family members, our tradespeople and even our tenants. They trust this advice and my priority is then to maintain service levels across the board and provide a uniform service, this has been crucial.

Somewhat surprising to me, and maybe to others, has been that tenants have actively referred property owners to The Management Agency, surprising because it goes against what many think, that Property Managers don’t “try” to, or, have good relationships with their tenants.

Word of mouth has such a positive touch to the beginning of a new relationship and it was always my goal to have a business that grows in this way.

Whilst I’ll always carry out some marketing and social media activity, I feel that’s more so to keep our followers in the loop and show people that The Management Agency is active, listening and trying to add value by sharing knowledge and advice regardless of their being a client or not.

2018 will always be the year I left the stability and certainty that working for a Real Estate office provides and swapped that for building and operating The Management Agency where it’s all about Property Management and being involved in all aspects of every transaction.

“It is very encouraging and motivating to be justified in my belief that the Property Management space had a need for what The Management Agency is offering”

Whilst being a relatively new business, my personal 15 years of Real Estate industry experience has really paved the way for me to have my role as Property Manager down pat with several tweaks made to suit The Management Agency’s objectives and being a Director has really just meant I’m much more invested in outcomes and client satisfaction, it also does a lot for one’s motivation.

2019 has geared up quickly, with new properties coming onto the market, new tenants moving into their new homes and plenty of interest from investors wanting to know more about The Management Agency.,

I look forward, to 2019 being a year of growth, continued learning, evolving and implementation.

Whilst I am confident that The Management Agency will grow, it will be sustainably, organic and never to the detriment of our clients and the service that they signed up for!

The Management Agency is nimble but we have the time, resources but most importantly the ability and willingness.