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The Advantages of Using Property Management Services

 

If you are planning to lease your home, have a holiday home that you occasionally rent out to friends and family, or just need someone keeping an eye on your property whilst you are away, then you may have considered using property management services. These 'sleeping landlords' are ideal for people who are often not able to take on the task of managing the property themselves and can provide real peace of mind to absent landlords as well as an additional revenue from valuable rentals. 

  Who Uses Property Agents?   A wide variety of people will use property agents, from local landlords to holiday home owners who want to make the most of their property by bringing in an additional income through rental. A professional agency, like Belair, can help advise and guide owners through the legal process and paperwork no matter the size or type of property, while handling any other requests that might arise.   The services of property agents can be used for:   - Condominiums   If you own an apartment, like one of the life style developments on offer in Malta and Gozo for instance, not only are you accountable for your own property, but all common areas, shared facilities and grounds too.    Property agents can manage this for you and are becoming essential to the day-to-day running of this type of property. Whether you live in the complex or let the apartment out they are key to providing support, handling administration and managing the maintenance of common areas such as halls, stairways, elevators, outdoor space, recreational areas and parking etc.    - Local Landlords   You may be a resident of Malta or an investor who has bought a property to let but don't have the time to oversee the rental or maintain the property and so a property management agent can deal with all the transactions for you.   - Holiday Home Owners   If you simply want to rent your property out short term to holidaymakers then a property agent can handle the business for you including cleaning, maintenance, finance, etc.   - Absent Property Owners   If you only reside in your property for certain times of the year but appreciate having a clean and well maintained property to live in when needed, property agents can look after your interests so you don't need to worry about your empty home.   What services do Property Management Agents Offer?   A good agency will offer a wide range of services to clients that can cover full responsibility of looking after a property or certain tasks that the client assigns to them. The main task of an agency is to act as the lynchpin between the tenant and the landlord, ensuring that a good communication channel is maintained and both the tenants and landlords needs are met.   A good agent can do anything from helping to file taxes to arranging minor repairs and will even negotiate terms with prospective tenants on your behalf. For people who lead busy lives or who aren't confident in dealing with lease issues, property agents offer an essential service.   Typical responsibilities include:   - Advertising of the property, dealing with enquiries and all viewing appointments   - Reference, credit and character checks of potential tenants   - Drafting up the tenancy agreement and taking care of the deposit   - Fully assessing the property and drafting up the inventory   - Rent collection and transfer of rent to your account   - Maintaining the property to a good standard including all repairs   - Undertaking inspections and forwarding regular reports to yourself   - Payment of all property related bills   - Budgeting and account management   - Dealing with tenancy notice, inspection, deposit refund and re-advertising   - Handling any legal aspects such as non-payment of rent or evictions   Other services may include cleaning, airport transfers and even yacht management. Every agency is different and so extra services will differ and you would need to speak to your particular agency to discover what they can offer you.   What to Look For in a Property Management Agency   Whilst it's tempting to go for an agency which promises the most whilst charging the least, one of the first things you should always do is check the qualifications and memberships of the agency that you are considering. In Malta, the agency should be part of the Federation of Estate Agents which ensures that their members operate within legal and ethical guidelines.   Ask what experience they have with managing properties, how many properties they have on their books at the moment and what services they offer. You don't want to be charged for extra services that you have no need for but neither do you want to sign up for a basic package only to discover that you actually need them to do more than they are willing or, able to do.   Make sure that you have a one-to-one appointment with them so that you can fully explain your circumstances and requirements to them and do ensure that they listen and offer appropriate services. A company which specialises in commercial property lets may not be the right one to deal with residential lettings and vice versa, so always make sure you know exactly what the company provides.   Get recommendations from friends and other property owners and if you don't know anyone, the company themselves should provide recommendations from landlord customers. Ask around and mention the agency to various people to gauge what kind of reputation they have. A property management company in Malta should have good local knowledge as well as international dealings so that both spectrums of the market are covered.   Another big issue is insurance. You must ensure that they have adequate liability insurance to protect you from potential legal action.   A clear breakdown of fees is also essential so that you know exactly what you are paying for. Typical fees range from 5-15% of the rental income depending on the services offered.   Finally, a property management company is there to prevent any headaches associated with leasing your property and to look after the day-to-day running of the business. A well-run and successful company can help to increase your income with very little effort from you so it's vital to establish a good working relationship with the company and to maintain regular communication. Don't be afraid to listen to your instincts because if you feel comfortable with them then so will your tenant.