Property Management Companies In Johannesburg – Are They the Answer to Your House Managing Problems?
Property management companies means exactly what it is; control, or management of a certain property on behalf of an owner. This industry has expanded in the last years bringing about the need of more project managers. If you are looking into working as a property manager, there are certain skills and attributes that you should take into consideration. Remember that as someone who manages properties, you will be given the sole responsibility of entrustment that is why if you are serious in joining this industry; you should have the following traits.
1. Knowledgeable with the governing laws. A good manager is one who understands and is knowledgeable about the many laws and ordinances of a specific area. This is important so as to avoid any conflict with regards to the management of real estate and other properties. Certain laws may vary from cities, which is why understanding them and knowing how they work will best work to your advantage. It is always good to be in the know.
5. Willing to grow. You should not only limit yourself to a particular field. Bear in mind that the industry of property management will only grow in the next couple of years due to the fact that more and more people are expanding their properties. As a good property manager, you should be able to ride the tide of property management and consider your professional growth. This will not only be beneficial in terms of your career, but will also reflect in the kind of service you deliver.
When considering working in the property management, it is always best to review your skills and qualifications in order for you to assess your personal capabilities. Bear in mind the above characteristics, in order to be a great property manager.
What Do You Ask When Looking for a Good Property Manager?
When you hire a property management company to serve as the liaison between yourself and your tenants, you want to be sure you're getting the best possible property management services for the money. The services a property management company provides can range from ala carte to an all-in-one inclusive package. Along with that comes an array of fees for each. There is no set in stone fee structure we can provide you. But we can educate you on what common fees to expect and what each is commonly for. In the end it will be up to you to compare company fee structures and choose the best one that fits within your budget. Below are some of the most common fees and what service they provide.
This is an ongoing monthly fee charged to the owner to compensate the property manager for the responsibilities of overseeing the management of their property. This fee can vary from as little as 3% to over 15% of the monthly gross rent. In place of a percentage some managers may charge a flat monthly amount which again can vary from $50 to over $200 per month. All property management companies generally charge this fee.
Lease-Up or Setup Fee
This fee is charged to the owner to compensate the property manager for their initial time invested and resources used in setting up an owners account; showing property and/or other activities resulting in tenant placement. I guess you could look at it as a "finders fee" for placing a tenant in your property. Once a tenant has been placed and first rent income comes in, the property manager will deduct this fee from the rent proceeds. Some property managers have been known to require this fee upfront prior to tenant procurement. Usually this fee is non-refundable once the property manager has started the process of tenant procurement or any legwork has been initiated with the property. This fee can vary from none to as much as the first months rent, and usually is a one-time fee per tenant.
"You've Got To Be Kidding Me" Fees - These are ones I have personally had the pleasure of running into.
- Your property is vacant, but we still will charge our monthly commission or a small flat fee.
- "A For-Rent Yard Sign Fee". I believe this was $25/mo.
- "Preventive Maintenance Fee". This was to cover the "just in case" and changing out A/C filters. If "just in case" never happens they still pocket the money. I believe this was $20/mo and I still was charged for filters.
Read your Manager/Owner contract, understand what you are signing, ask lots of questions and know what the fees will buy you in services. A good real estate lawyer can help in negotiating the terms in a contract that suit both parties. These contracts are not set in stone. If your property manager will not negotiate, there are other property management companies that are eager to earn your business.
If you sell your own house, you will save a substantial sum (the typical estate agent's fee is between 1.5 and 2 per cent, which pays 2,250-3000 pounds on a 150,000 pounds property). The drawback is the time and work that you will have to put in yourself. If you try but fail to sell your house, you won't save anything, but you still lose the time and the opportunity to move.
What does an estate agent do ?
A good estate agent will visit your property and suggest three possible prices (which includes other advice on what to ask them at this stage.) Once you have chosen an agent and the price you want to put it on the market for, agent should:
- Send you a contract setting out their terms and conditions. Read this before you sign.
- Measure and photograph the property to produce the sales particulars, checking them through with you.
- Help you to secure and Energy Performance Certificate. You don't have to use the agent to provide this service and they should charge around 50 pounds for the certificate.
- Put a 'For sale' board outside your property (assuming you want one; your estate agent should give you the option).
- Advertise your property locally, on the internet and via newspapers. It's important to negotiate this as it doesn't always happen automatically.
- Advertise it at their premises and via their website as well as directly to a list of potential buyers.
- Arrange viewings for legitimate buyers (show people around your house if you aren't there).
- Receive offers, communicating them to you in writing and negotiating on your behalf.
- Liaise between your buyer, you and your solicitor.
- Arrange the handover of key on completion day.
You could do most of this yourself. However, there are various benefits a good agent brings.
In any field, experience is valued. Someone who has spent years helping people buy and sell property should be able to forestall problems, keep the process moving efficiently and effectively, and offer informed advice when decisions are required.
Sales and marketing
Selling is a skill. No one is going to persuade an unwilling buyer to purchase your property, but a professional sales person will be able to communicate effectively, pointing out advantages and answering queries that might otherwise have put someone off. In addition, a good agent will have the resources to market your property nationally via their website.
Inviting strangers into your home carries a risk. You don't know who they are and you can't vet them, but you could find yourself alone with them in your home. An agent who accompanies viewers means that you won't be put in a vulnerable position.
You can never be sure if a viewer is genuinely interested in your property, and some people seem to make a hobby of looking around houses when they have no intention of buying. A good agent will check if the buyer is serious and ask if they have a Mortgage Agreement in Principle. If they haven't arranged a loan (which means there's no guarantee they can afford to buy), the agent can set this in motion.
Make sure the contract clearly states that you won't be charged commission if the sole agency contract has ended.
Estate agents charge a percentage, plus VAT, of the final selling price. Rates vary, but are typically 1.75 per cent for sole property, and 2-3.5 per cent for multiple or joint arrangements.
These rates are negotiable, but remember the agent has been through this process more times than you have. It is worth asking the estate agent how much in real terms the fee could be, this will help you to draw up a budget.
Ready, willing and able purchaser
If the contract contains a term stating 'ready, willing and able purchaser', walk away - don't sign any contract with it. It will mean that you'll still have to pay the estate agent for finding you a buyer even if your situation changes and you have to withdraw from the sale.
Choose an agent that gives you a few days for the money to transfer before charging interest. And make sure it requires payment when the sale is completed rather than when contracts are exchanged. Do not hand over the authority to pay the estate agent to anyone else (known as irrevocable authority - you should avoid this). If you have a complaint about the service provided, you won't have the power to withhold payment.
Avoid lengthy tie-in periods of anything over eight weeks. And remember to factor in the notice period, which is often two weeks - you can't usually give notice until the minimum contract period is over.
Check what happens when the contract ends. Some agents operate a 'six-month rule' whereby you have to pay them if a buyer they introduced buys your home within six months of a contract ending. But some agents go further and state that you have to pay this, no matter how long it is after the termination of a contract.
Your rights when dealing with an agent
It's your legal right that estate agents must do the following:
- Pass on all offers on a property. There have been cases where offers have not been passed on to the vendor simply because a person making a lower offer has not agreed to use the estate agent's mortgage services.
- Pass on offers promptly in writing. They shouldn't just telephone you to inform you of a offer.
- Use clear contract terms.
- Reveal to you any financial interest that they have in offers made on your property. For example, they are not allowed to collude with property developers so that they only offers they pass on to you are those that suit their interests.
If you suspect that an agent has acted in breach of these regulations, you should contact the local authority trading standards department together with the redress scheme they are a member of and professional association, if they are a member.