Harcourts - The Property People's Property Management Division is multi-award winning, and is one of the largest in the Macarthur region.
Employing over six highly-experienced Property Managers, a Property Officer, two Property Management Administrators and a dedicated Letting Clerk, Harcourts is the first choice for superior property management service in the Macarthur region. Click here for more information on our Property Management team.
Our Property management team is structured on a portfolio basis. This means that every Property Manager has a group of clients' investment properties and their tenants to manage. This structure is highly efficient and ensures effective communication between property owners, tenants and their Harcourts Property Manager.
One of the secrets behind Harcourts' continued success is its highly experienced Management team. Laura Makowski and Sarena Rowley oversee the daily operations of the team, and ensure all processes and details are dealt with properly and efficiently.
At Harcourts, all property management systems are in place and are strictly monitored and adhered to, ensuring the smooth running of clients' investments.
Harcourts - The Property People has won many team and individual awards for their property management excellence.
Owning an investment property should be a worthwhile and rewarding experience. The hardest parts of owning an investment property are the necessary processes in finding the right tenant, and its ongoing management.
At Harcourts, we have created this summary called the 8 stages of Property Management to help you better understand the process of Property Management.
The success of your investment depends on your real estate agency’s professional execution of these 8 stages.
It’s important to prepare your property for tenancy, and make any repairs or improvements before it’s advertised for rent. The better your property presents, the easier it will be to rent, and the more likely you’ll attract the best tenants and the highest rental return.
In presenting your property, you should make sure that:
• Externally the property is neat and well-presented
• Gardens are neat and tidy.
• Gutters are cleaned out.
• Appliances are in safe working order.
• Minor repairs are done to sticking doors, windows, leaking taps and faulty toilets.
• Water efficiency devices are installed.
• Carpets are clean and in good order.
• Any necessary painting is complete.
• Smoke alarms, circuit breakers and/or safety switches are installed.
• Long blind cords are shortened.
• Generally the property is clean and well-presented.
Note: A nicely presented property will set the standard that you expect your tenants to uphold.
Choosing a property management team
A strong working relationship with your Property Manager and the agency team will help make your investment as trouble-free as possible. There are many advantages to employing professionals to manage your property, the main advantage being the time saved, and the peace-of-mind knowing your investment is being managed professionally.
Before employing an agency, you should first check their reputation in the local area. Find out how many properties they are managing, their ideas on property management, and the systems that run their property management business. The agency should have a complete and thorough understanding of the Residential Tenancies Act, Stock and Business Agents Act, and the Strata Schemes Management Act. Their expertise and advice in these areas will greatly reduce the risk of you breaching any of these Acts, protecting you from costly legal action or fines.
Your Property Manager should know their local market, and should focus on getting you the best return on your investment. At the same time your tenant should be kept happy through continual communication and swift action to their needs.
Once you have decided on your preferred Property Management agency, you will be required to sign an agreement, outlining the terms, tasks and charges. Check over this agreement carefully before signing.
When hiring a professional Property Management agency, you’ll avoid any direct confrontation with your tenant and, should there be a need for representation before the Tenancy Tribunal, your Property Manager will act on your behalf.
Charging tenants water usage
Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act that took place in January 2011 require that, in order to charge tenants for the water usage while they are occupying a rental property, minimum water efficiency criteria must be met.
The minimum criteria for passing on charges are:
1. The rental premises must be individually metered.
2. The charges must not exceed the amount billed for water usage by the water supplier (water service/sewerage service are to be paid by the landlord).
3. The rental premises must meet the required ‘water efficiency’ standards.
At Harcourts, we can advise you on the efficiency standards and direct you to a licensed plumber to make the necessary adjustments to your property that comply with this new legislation. You’ll then be able to legally pass on the water usage charges to your tenant.
A smoke alarm is an effective early warning device designed to detect smoke and alert building occupants to the presence of a fire. Installed in the right locations, they increase the time available for a safe escape and are proven to save lives.
Under the Residential Tenancies Act:
• Landlords are responsible for the installation of smoke alarms in rented premises and should arrange for insertion of a new battery at the beginning of each tenancy.
• Landlords or the property management agency have the right of access to rented premises to fit or maintain smoke alarms after giving two days notice.
• The landlord or tenant are not permitted to remove or interfere with the operation of a smoke alarm.
• After the tenancy begins, the tenant is responsible for replacing the battery. It is recommended they are replaced each year.
Did you know that if you do not comply with the relevant smoke alarm legislation and regulations, your insurance company may deny you cover in the event of a fire which results in injury or death?
Landlord insurance – peace-of-mind
Landlords should source suitable landlord insurance as well as home and contents insurances. Home and contents insurances cover the actual building and the contents of your investment property. Landlord insurance can cover you for deliberate or accidental damage, unpaid rent, public liability, tenant injury, legal expenses, tenant hardship or death.
Many companies offer comprehensive landlord insurance packages. Look at this area closely or speak to your Harcourts Property Manager for more information.
Pricing your rental property
At Harcourts, we know that it’s important to price your property competitively, compared to similar properties available for rent. This will ensure that your property is rented at the earliest possible opportunity.
Harcouts can inspect your property and provide you with a comparative rental appraisal – this will tell you what similar properties are receiving in rent.
It’s also highly important to have as little vacancy time between tenants as possible. Harcourts focuses on renting your property at the earliest possible opportunity, while also ensuring you get the best return on your investment.
Marketing your property
To gain tenants for your investment property, Harcourts conducts an intensive marketing campaign that ensures more potential tenants see your property in the shortest period of time.
Harcourts can show you the marketing options that’ll gain you a tenant sooner. This will save you hundreds of dollars from supporting an untenanted property.
Harcourts can advertise your property to the greatest number of prospective tenants through:
• Window display
• Internet advertising
• Rental list
• Rental book
Showing your investment property
At Harcourts, your Property Manager will organise tenant inspections of your property, conducted by our dedicated Letting Officer. It is Harcourts philosophy that properties be viewed at their best at all times. With your assistance, Harcourts can ensure that each renting opportunity is maximised - giving you the best tenant sooner.
The selection process and reference checks
Harcourts uses property management specialists who are totally focused on finding the best tenant in the fastest possible time.
Your property manager goes to great-length to screen applying tenants. They will make sure they know:
1. Who the applying tenant/s are?
2. Where they are moving from?
3. Their current employment and income position?
4. Their previous rental history?
Harcourt's rigorous selection process (including driving by and checking their current residence), and thorough reference checks will provide you with the best tenants for consideration.
Privacy legislation prevents direct credit checks of potential tenants, however Harcourts has access to various specialised tenancy databases such as TRA and TICA that show if the applying tenants have any past tenancy problems.
In addition, personal references are carefully screened to attain a more complete understanding of the applying tenants.
Presenting to the you (the landlord)
After all the interviewing and checking is done, your Property Manager will submit all suitable applications to you (the landlord) for the final selection. Your Property Manager can also help you with the final selection.
A Tenancy Agreement needs to be in place between you (landlord) and your chosen tenant.
When a tenant is approved to move into your property, a Tenancy Agreement will be prepared by your Property Manager, which will specify you and your tenants’ rights and obligations. This is a legally binding document and is enforceable under state legislation.
The agreement will detail the lease term, bond, weekly or monthly rent due, date of payments, and responsibilities for all outgoings (i.e. water usage, electricity, pool and garden maintenance).
Prior to the commencement of the tenancy, your tenant will be required to sign the Tenancy Agreement and your Harcourts Property Manager will sign on your behalf.
Payment of outgoings
You may wish to have the payment of your outgoings such as rates, water, strata fees and insurance looked after by your Harcourts Property Manager. This assists you in a couple of ways:
1. You have all income and expenses for your investment property contained on the one statement.
2. Your Property Manager can quickly and easily charge your tenants the proportion of the bills that are payable by them e.g. water usage.
Note: Should you elect to pay your own water rates and on-charge the water usage component to your tenants, this has to be done within three months of receiving the water bill. A copy needs to be sent to your Property Manager.
Financial accounting and reporting
At the end of the month (or twice monthly if required) Harcourts will send you a clear rent statement and directly deposit the funds into your account.
• Harcourts guarantees to have your rent money in your bank account within two working days after the end-of-month accounting is completed.
• You can elect to receive your statement via email or post.
• At the end of each financial year you will receive a detailed income and expenditure statement for your property. For clients who receive monthly statements via email, this end-of-year emailed statement will be at no additional charge (posted end-of-year statements will incur a $22 fee).
• From the rent collected on your behalf, Harcourts can arrange payment of all your standard property outgoings. This can include council rates, strata levies, landlord insurance and water accounts.
An investment property, like any other property, requires periodic maintenance. As a landlord you are required to maintain your investment property.
A poorly maintained residence doesn’t attract good quality tenants. Poor presentation reduces rental returns, and devalues your overall property asset.
You are also legally bound as a landlord to provide a property that is ‘fit to live in’. Your Property Manager will advise you of any needed repairs, and can organise a qualified tradesperson to get the repairs done.
A breach of your duty of care to provide safe premises for your tenants could mean that they sue you for negligence, seek a rent reduction, or look to terminate the Tenancy Agreement.
Remember that most repairs and maintenance are a tax deduction.
Harcourts property management team will regularly keep in contact with you in relation to your property and tenant.
After inspections you will be provided with feedback as to the state of your property and any tenant issues.
Any problems that arise with your tenant will first be directed to your Property Manager. In most circumstances your Property Manager will be able to quickly and easily sort out the problem.
In the circumstance where a tenant is not paying rent or they have damaged your property in some way and the situation cannot be resolved, your Property Manager will represent you at the Tenancy Tribunal to legally settle the issue.
Harcourts conducts a detailed condition inspection of your property and documents all findings in a report at the beginning of each tenancy. Photographs are also kept on file for future reference.
In addition, Harcourts conducts three inspections per year – the first being completed within six to eight weeks of occupancy.
After each inspection, your Property Manager will inform you of how the tenant is caring for your property, and provide the tenants with feedback on areas that need improvement. Harcourts will also carry out drive-by inspections of your property at irregular intervals.
Shortly after the tenant has vacated your property, your Property Manager will conduct a thorough inspection to determine the refund amount from the tenant’s Rental Bond.
If you choose, you are welcome to join your Property Manager on the scheduled inspections. You will receive a letter notifying you of the inspection date and time. You will need to confirm your attendance in advance with your Property Manager.
Rent reviews Harcourts will conduct two rent reviews per year to ensure that you are benefiting from the full market rent of your investment property.
Harcourts will also review the rent price when leases are being renewed to ensure the rental return is always in-line with the current market.
The rent price will also be reviewed following major renovation work or additional inclusions.