Call me a cynic but if I had a sword I reckon it’d glow blue in the presence of estate agents. It’s not that they’re intrinsically untrustworthy but anybody who can, in all conscience describe a damp pile of rubble as ‘in need of modernisation’ is at best suffering a severe disconnect from reality or, at worst, is a downright liar out to make a buck. For landlords, experienced or otherwise, having successfully negotiated the process of acquiring their first or next rental property is the next quest: finding a reliable, experienced and efficient property management specialist. At least in this industry the management company’s interests and your own are largely one and the same; but what makes a property management specialist stand out from the crowd?
Putting the hands-off into, erm, hands-off
The rental market in the UK is particularly buoyant at the moment and as owner occupier sales flat-line the buy to let market continues to offer some excellent returns for investors. However, many landlords prefer the hands-off approach and this is the first criteria for assessing the range of management specialists available. Hands-off should mean just that; do the management firm offer a full, comprehensive service? Considerations here should include services from rental collection to repairs, maintenance and dispute management. This latter is important in the event that issues arise between your tenants and neighbouring owners/occupiers your management company should have the expertise and skills to negotiate problems quickly and simply.
Small and perfectly informed
Large property management companies are great – they’ll have all the experience that you could ever need in terms of property management, with possibly one minor exception; local knowledge. This isn’t necessarily crucial but it can be a significant factor especially if you have a growing portfolio and are looking for advice on how and where to expand it. Local knowledge can be an important tool, especially if you are investing in property in area you don’t know well yourself. Property managers who are familiar with a specific region and, on a smaller scale, specific localities can often offer excellent inside information; from the currently cheap but up-and-coming areas in which to invest right through to thorough knowledge on both historical issues and future planning and development concerns.
If you’re investing in bricks and mortar you need to be sure that those bricks and mortar are securely stuck together. Given those imaginative descriptions so favoured by estate agents you may be nervous of their abilities at identifying, understanding and responding to the structural integrity of your investment. This is where firms who included chartered surveyor services as part of their company structure can prove to be a particularly effective choice. Management agents for both commercial and domestic properties come in a range of shapes and sizes, some estate agencies offer the service as a branch of their main business, while other firms specialise purely in management. The latter will normally employ a range of specialist individuals (or even whole teams) and often a significant branch of their business will fall with the surveying industry. These can prove to be amongst the best property management firms.
The recession, so far, has proved to be something of a bonanza for landlords and prospective landlords; with properties being not only affordable to acquire but with a large proportion of those seeking accommodation choosing (or having to choose) rented accommodation. Rental incomes are also performing well and are one of the few investments that are seeing growth year on year. However some experts have suggested that this will not continue in the medium to longer term, predictions suggest that the growth in rental incomes will soon reach a level beyond which further growth will not be sustainable. For this reason it makes sense to choose a management agent who has all round experience, in both commercial and domestic rentals, good local knowledge in the area in which you are investing and the ability to manage and maintain properties to the highest standards. Investing in property remains a sensible and profitable strategy – especially when your investments are in good hands.
Whether it’s property management Hull or any UK town or city, finding the right management specialist is essential to ensuring that your investment provides returns and growth, without the headaches of hands-on management.