Stock property management
Sure, seeking external help in handling property assets comes at a cost, but in the long run, it pays off. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Many property owners may think that managing a property is straightforward and all that it entails is leasing a unit and collecting the rent. But is this really the case? I am afraid not, but this misconception may still be prevalent.

Property management involves different layers, from staging and marketing, procurement and management of service providers such as facilities management and maintenance companies, and financial management for larger property portfolios.

Ninety per cent of properties are run directly by the owners. Some do it very effectively, while others require additional help from professionals, as in this case a property manager or management firm.

How is having a property management company or property manager different from self-management? Here are seven examples:

• A property manager will know the ins and outs of the property landscape, the relevant rules and frameworks, and importantly, the risk factors that could impact the property investment performance.

• A property manager would manage all the aspects of the tenant-landlord relationship. For instance, ensure that the unit is well-maintained and ready before the tenant moves in. He or she will also ensure that all legal obligations and documentation, such as the tenancy contract (Tawtheeq in Abu Dhabi and Ejari in Dubai) are completed on time. As an intermediary between the landlord and tenant, the property manager will find a swifter resolution for any issues that may arise and act as the main point of contact for maintenance and other general requests.

• Property managers will be well-versed on all relevant laws and know how to handle and resolve conflict as smooth and as fast as possible.

• They act as a buffer between owners and tenants and will ensure harmony is maintained in a property or community. Whether it's a noisy neighbour or a disagreement amongst tenants and owners, property managers will listen and try to address and contain certain situations before they escalate to the next level.

• Property managers will identify and manage vendor relationships, which is a time-consuming task that demands not just effort but also knowledge. A knowledgeable property manager not only knows which vendor to call when a service is needed, but will also know how to supervise all maintenance projects to ensure that they are completed promptly and on budget. Often, if a landlord has multiple properties or is in a different geographical area, the owner might find it challenging to connect and maintain the relationship with the service provider. In such cases, property managers come in handy.

• Property managers will conduct periodical asset inspections to determine required repairs and maintenance works and identify efficiencies that would reduce running costs in the short and long-term. The best way to extend the life of a property is to maintain it and keep it in an excellent condition.

• Not least, property managers would allow owners to realise higher rents as they understand the market best, and will do all they can to ensure properties are not left vacant for longer periods of time. Landlords who work with professional property managers usually earn up to 15-25 per cent higher income in the long run according to several studies conducted in the UAE.

In conclusion, you need to make sure your property portfolio is in good hands.