The New Year is a great time to re-evaluate how your Property Portfolio is working for you, and to update or modify your strategies to make life easier and better for you, your finances and your tenants.
Here is a handy check-list of considerations to help ensure you are maximising your returns, keeping your tenants happy, and operating as efficiently as possible.
1. Re-assess the value of your Property Portfolio
Have you had a recent valuation on your property, both in terms of re-sale and rental value..? If not, it is absolutely worth getting a fresh valuation, to provide you with the key data you need to ensure it is still the most viable investment for you – and to see how your investment is performing relative to the market. Talk to your broker about organising the valuation and your property manager about when you can review the weekly rental amount.
2. Be good to your tenants
Both psychologically and financially, this is a win/win. By maintaining strong relationships with your tenants through your property manager, they are far more likely to be respectful and responsible in your property, and also to co-operate with you when they want to leave or need any repairs done. Having a positive relationship with your tenants can make a huge difference, as they are far more likely to allow access for inspections, repairs and even viewings should they choose to leave. By being a nice landlord, your tenants are in fact less likely to leave, and more likely to do the right thing, and leave the place even better than they found it, and most importantly, pay the rent on time
3. Move quickly if your tenants decide to leave
Make sure your Property Manager is pro-active in quickly organising any marketing required to replace leaving tenants. With a good relationship with your tenants and agent, you can minimise any gap and loss between tenants, by working closely with them to get the property into rentable condition, viewed, and rented out again, as soon as possible.
4. Check your Property Manager Options
If you are indeed self-managing – was the last year of doing it yourself worth the time and effort it took..? What are the current market rates for a recommended Property Manager to do the job for you, and the pros and cons of this..? If you have a Property Manager already – are you totally satisfied with their efforts, reporting and communicating with you, processes and pricing compared with the market..? How do they handle complaints from tenants for example, and on what time scale..? It is always worth shopping around and making sure you are getting the best all-round value in this regard. Having said that we do believe it is worth paying for a good service because they are the most important link between you and the tenants.
5. Consider your repairs process
A key factor in Property Management is maintenance. A major issue for tenants is how this process works, and how quickly and efficiently repairs are carried out. Consider your or your Property Manager’s process and costs, and how you might improve this based on the market, and your experience in the past year/s. Having a tight, clear and quick process around this is fundamental in saving time, stress and money.
6. Consider rent adjustments or increases
The New Year is the best time to increase rents if it is appropriate. By checking the rental market in your area online, and with advice from experienced local agents, you can accurately check the current rental value of your property. It is also important to have a compassionate, fair and transparent process with your tenants when raising the rent, as it can be a very expensive exercise should they decide to leave. Referencing local rental rates, and giving them plenty of notice of any increase as per legislation is a sensible way to make this as palatable as possible for your tenants.
7. Is it time to leverage into your next investment?
Once this process is running as smoothly as possible and you are building equity in your property portfolio – is it time to use existing equity to leverage into your next Property Investment..? See our article on How to build your Property Portfolio for tips on how to do this, and give us a call to discuss your options.