Renting out properties is a favourite form of investment for Kiwis, and it’s easy to see why.
Steady capital growth and rental income are very appealing, and the physical nature of the investment is reassuring. However, that very ease and immediacy of rental properties can also be their biggest detractors- sometimes, things get personal.
The best way to ensure your investment is handled in a professional way and reduce stress is to bring in a property management company. You will still have control over your asset, but bringing in a team of experts can only serve to optimize results. This applies to many aspects of property investment, such hiring professional builders to do renovations instead of DIY. Remember, you are a business owner in a way, and it’s unrealistic to expect you to be an expert in every arena- no one expects a CEO to be an accountant, handyman, and Human Resources department in one, so why expect it of yourself? Find outside experts you trust and delegate in whatever way leads to the best outcome for you and your tenant.
Even when you have properly delegated responsibility, there are still certain concerns that may arise when renting out a property. The nightmare for any landowner is a bad tenant. The best way to avoid messy conflict over a property is always prevention. The price might be right, but unless the tenant is a good fit, it’s best to wait. Your property investment should be a source of income, not stress. If your property is struggling to attract suitable tenants, reassess market and rental prices and ensure what you’re offering is priced correctly. It’s better to receive reduced rental income than deal with the legal and damage costs that can occur when an untrustworthy tenant takes residence.
It is still your asset, and you still have decisions to make about it when you have brought in a property management company, although you are free to choose the level of engagement you’d like to have. You might have a wonderful tenant that struggles to make rent on one particular week or has another issue that impacts their residence in your property. When or if this occurs, it’s important to react fairly and logically. If your first response is emotive, find a moment to take a step back from the situation and assess it objectively. In the end, it’s your decision, but you have to be confident that you’ve made the correct choice.
It is best to communicate with your tenant about things like late rent and damage through your property management company. As experts, they will have experience in communicating expectations clearly and not escalating situations. If you and your tenant do have a personal dialogue, be polite and professional and expect the same in return.
Done right, property investment can be incredibly rewarding. Don’t let it get personal and you can have a wonderful business relationship with your tenants in a long tradition of Kiwi brick-and-mortar investment.
John Kenel, Assured