Beware the cheapest property manager

One of the biggest mistakes I see investors make is choosing their property manager on price.

Management fees are a tax deduction but the difference between the cost of a good manager and a bad manager can be substantial – both in a monetary sense and in the level of service received.

Of course investors are looking for every competitive edge as they chase a return but securing the best property management is very important.

And the cheapest agent may not necessarily give you the best return.agent house

When I talk about the price of property management I think of the 52-week figure that I see on my financial statements.

This will be determined by:

      • Vacancy – how many weeks empty?
      • Maintenance – was it reactive, proactive of even effective?
      • Property condition – are there regular inspections? Are you being kept in the picture?
      • Advice – good property managers can show you how to maximise gains and minimise losses. They are experts in their field.
      • Why do some company’s fees differ so much?
      • More properties per manager
      • Less service per customer
      • One or two person operation, office or staff
      • Less training or ongoing investment to the business

A sign you may be with one of these companies is the continual turnover of staff, low morale and a lack of consistency in your dealings with the company.

The most definitive way of noticing if your property manager isn’t doing the job is if you have to chase the agent continuously.

That is a tell-tale sign your property manager is behind in their work tasks not ahead of the curve.

The number one enemy of investors is vacancy.

You should only choose a property manager on their ability to find, approve and keep quality well-referenced tenants for the long term, not because they are the cheapest option.

Want more of this type of information?

Shannon Davis


Shannon is director of Metropole Properties Brisbane and as a successful property investor and licensed estate agent, his years of industry experience helps his clients maximize the performance of their investment properties. Visit

'Beware the cheapest property manager' have 6 comments

  1. February 13, 2015 @ 12:38 pm Roderick Smith

    I own an Investment Unit in a Melbourne Suburb and have always looked after the Unit and occupying tenants myself, However I use a local Real Estate Agent to source new tenants, Whilst the Agency concerned charges a decent fee for their services they have without fail sourced tenants who have always performed very well in looking after the Unit as well paying rental promptly, What more can I say!


    • Shannon Davis

      February 13, 2015 @ 1:57 pm Shannon Davis

      Hi Roderick,
      That’s excellent news that you have had a good run of tenants. Its very kind of the local agency to allow access to their services for tenant selection as well. At first sight it may seem that property managers simply find tenants and collect rent on behalf of their clients. But there is so much more, there is the knowledge of legislation, maintenance repair , conflict resolution, negotiation and dealing everyday with arrears and the issues that effect them. Remembering that their fees are a deduction a good property manager will make you money – not cost you money in the value that they add. A private landlord is like a property manager on work experience and there are lots of tenants who will not enter into these type of arrangements.


      • February 14, 2015 @ 12:03 pm em

        Many self-managing owners are up to date with legislation, and have the advantage of time to spend understanding it. It just depends on the individual… I certainly self-manage and also hold a property management registration despite not working for an agent. Staying informed is important but having the time to absorb and apply that knowledge is essential.
        From observation and experience with rental agents, a single property manager with 100 rentals allocating 30 minutes a week is out-working most of the rest of us resulting in potential burn-out and poor performance.
        IF you can find an excellent property manager, keep them, don’t stint on the fees and be very appreciative!


  2. February 13, 2015 @ 7:25 pm Reza

    The big question is where to find such a reliable PM who would look after your hard earned interest as if it was his/her own?
    I appreciate some insight into this as I have been looking for sometime to source that.



    • Shannon Davis

      February 14, 2015 @ 1:07 pm Shannon Davis

      Hi Reza,
      As a key note speaker at Property Management conferences, I have met and keep in touch with many best practise offices that have a passion for what they do – let me know what service area and Ill look to make a recommendation? A good property manager really is half the battle.


  3. February 15, 2015 @ 12:42 pm Camila Plan-Heydon


    As many landlords will tell you, it is extremely hard to find professional real estate/property managers who take care of the interest of landlords. Do you know of real estate property managers in Western Sydney (Blacktown Area) who have a good refutation for managing properties.

    Thank you.



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