How to choose your managing agent
It's not an easy decision to choose a portfolio manager for your sectional title scheme. You want your managing agent to not only deal with issues that may arise very quickly, but you want quality service and at an affordable price as well. To help owners or trustees make this big decision for their own or investment property in Langenhovenpark, we've put together a guide for choosing a managing agent.
Also remember, if you’re not satisfied with your current managing agent, it’s very easy to get rid of them – simply give notice. Read our blog regarding this. Whether you're looking for a managing agent for an established scheme or a new development, consider the following before making this very important choice.
This is what a good managing agent should do for you
When instructed by the trustees to employee the desired managing agent, it’s vital that your portfolio manager should do the following:
- Create a good living environment for residents
- Ensure rules are adhered to
- Attend to maintenance issues without delay
- Ensure the safety of residents at all times
- Accept no kickbacks from contractors
The above is really only the core values of a good managing agent. Together with this, the managing agent has a lot of responsibility towards owners and tenants alike.
The managing agent must make sure that the building is insured (valuation required every 3 years), employ cleaners or gardeners to ensure that common areas (pools, driveways etc) are maintained. Weekly inspections should be done to ensure that maintenance work is completed as required and to speak to residents about any problems at the complex.
Residents love and respect a managing agent that cares about their living space and keeping it maintained. In many cases the managing agents can be called upon to act as mediators in disputes with and between owners, promoting fair solutions for any issues based on sound legal principles.
What is a fair price to pay for a managing agent?
We're all familiar with the saying "You get what you pay for". This is so true when it comes to a managing agent. If a managing agent is charging you R2,000 a month to manage your entire complex you can rest assure that they are using other techniques to make up for the short fall of the ‘cheap’ managing fee. They are getting kickbacks from contractors, adding admin fees like stationery, special meetings, travel fees, you name it.
Go through your financial statements and you’ll easily find traces of the “real” managing agent fee. The fee being charged by the managing agent should not be the only thing to consider. The body corporate should be paying for the ease of service they receive.
Hire a managing agent:
- That sends out invoices and take care of levy collection as well.
- Perform monthly maintenance at the complex – not only once a year.
- Provide monthly feedback to owners regarding their financial and maintenance situation at the complex.
- Where the directors themselves visit the complex and attend to all problems without delay.
- That does not ask for kickbacks from contractors. If your body corporate is never able to meet its financial obligations – this is probably the reason why!
Local is Lekker
Your managing agent should be locally based in the same suburb as your complex. When a problem arises at your complex, as they always do, it’s vital to have your managing agent not only a phone call away, but be present within minutes. This is the reason why Louis Property Management only manages complexes in Langenhovenpark as the director want to be personally involved.
Tell your managing agent what your needs are
Owners/trustees must tell the managing agent what is expected of them. For instance, with Louis Property Management we offer an all-in-one solution to body corporates which includes all aspects of running the complex on a day-to-day basis.
We take care of all insurance related issues, maintenance and financial obligations. This service is also referred to an “Executive Manging Agent”.
This basically means that owners give us permission to manage the complex on their behalf. There will be no need to have trustee meetings or even voting for trustees. We provide monthly feedback regarding levy collection, maintenance work and inform owners of the latest amount in their savings account. There will still be the yearly AGM for owners, but we take out all the hassle of managing a complex. All concerns are addressed directly to us and we provide feedback to all owners/stakeholders.
Ask for references
You simply can’t appoint a managing agent to look after your biggest investment without asking for a reference. If your managing agent can’t give you solid proof of their managing skills (financial and maintenance wise) then it’s time to move on.
Louis Property Management show cases complexes we’ve successfully managed for a 12-month period. We “save” complexes that were drained from their savings by their managing agent and contractors overcharging for basic services. Ask us if for a reference and we’ll gladly show you how we save owners thousands of rands each year, yet still attend to all maintenance work. Our winning recipe? No kickbacks from contractors.
Keep Owners Informed – Constant Communication
The success to any relationship is communication. This is why Louis Property Management sends out monthly newsletters to owners and keep them updated with the latest happenings at your complex (financial and maintenance).
By simply communicating on a monthly basis with owners/stakeholders we’re able to address issues as they arise and almost eliminate trustee meetings as owners are always kept in the loop regarding their investment.
The director has identified this need as he owns investment properties in Langenhovenpark and realised that the only communication received was once a year at the AGM. With investment properties its vital to know that someone is looking after your investment.
Having a trusted managing agent certainly helps when it comes to selling the property as new owners wants to know who the current managing agent is. This is why, Louis Property Management should be your number one choice for managing your complex in Langenhovenpark.