Your Investment Property’s 8th Annual Reader’s Choice Awards asked Australian property investors to nominate their favourite experts in the five different categories including:
  • Buyer’s agent
  • Property investment advisor
  • Tax advisor
  • Mortgage broker
  • Property manager

Property Manager of the Year 2015.

Winner: Bernie McElwaine, LJ Hooker Albury


What are the qualities of a good property manager?

To be a good property manager you need to have strong communication skills as well as the ability to form and build strong relationships. Knowledge of legislation and understanding the needs of both the landlord and tenant are important. Property managers do not only tend to maintenance issues, our paramount job is to maximise the landlords return for investment.


What are the things you need to look for when choosing the right property manager?

I believe that a landlord should look to hire a property manager who will treat their properties as if it were their own. Landlords should be looking for property managers who have extensive knowledge of the local real estate market and properties in the area. The property manager should also have superior communication skills and be willing to give you feedback on your property.


What makes you a good property manager?

I believe I am good property manager because I care about the properties I look after. I’ve grown up in the Albury Wodonga area and have been working in property management here for over 10 years; as such I have extensive knowledge of the local market and property legislation.

I am eager, passionate and caring, but also show resourcefulness and am level-headed when faced with an issue. Communication is my number one priority and I work in a proactive way, looking to fix issues before they even occur.


I see each property individually and so work with the landlords to tailor a plan for them, that suits their needs with the end goal being to achieve maximum return and growth.


What the readers said

Bernie's passion for her clients is second to none. Her efficiency and work ethic gets the job done in the most timely, organised and efficient way. She is always available to meet my needs as a landlord, even coming out on weekends and after hours to ensure my issues, concerns or questions are answered. I have had many properties over the last 14 years and have never come across such organised efficiency, professionalism and passion to achieve such high standards in a property manager.”

- Vicky Zahra


Runner up: Rachelle Pitt, Professionals Belmore

Returning this year to claim the Runner Up title, Rachel Pitt’s success stems from her in-depth knowledge and experience as well as her strong communications skills.


“To ensure that you appoint the right property you need to do your research. Once you have shortlisted a few potential property managers, you should meet with them individually and ask them some key questions to make a more informed decision.   


What experience does the property manager have?  

Is your potential manager experienced in managing rental properties? If not, you could face a problem of an inexperienced manager being taken advantage of by tenants or with a manager turned tyrant with your tenants. 


How many other properties do they manage?  

If the property manager manages several properties, will they be able to devote the necessary time to you and your property?  A property manager who looks after too many properties won’t have the time to devote their attention to you or  your property. 


How much support does theproperty managerhave in their office? 

You should look for a property manager with a good support team that is knowledgeable in all areas of real estate including sales, administration, financing and leasing. I would recommend asking how the team is structured and additional questions, such as who will be organising the maintenance and who will be doing the regular inspections of your property.


Does the agency’s owner or principal have a role in the everyday functioning of the property management team?  

How focused is the agency on property management? The more important property management is to an agency, the more successful they may be at effectively managing your property.  When an agency’s owner has an active role within the property management team, this often serves as incentive to make the team work harder and with greater professionalism.


How did you determine the rental value of my property? Can you show me some comparable rental properties? 

An experienced and knowledgeable property manager will be able to benchmark comparable rental properties on the market and advise you of the optimal rental return you should receive from your property.  


What methods would you use to market my property and attract tenants? 

A good property manager should have a database of quality tenants looking for a home along with a clear marketing strategy in order to find quality tenants. Ask your agent how many days they are available to show the property to tenants and how they intend to advertise your property. Remember that many prospective tenants work during business hours or may only have limited viewing hours. Therefore the need to be flexible with inspections is important. A good agent will be available to show prospective tenants on weekends and after standard business hours. 


How often do they communicate with their landlords and how is this done? 

The right property manager needs to be in regular contact during the management of your property. It’s necessary for your property manager to keep you updated about anything that occurs with your rental property, such as rental payments, maintenance issues or if the tenant has given notice to vacate. 


Do you have a strategy for finding the best tenant for my property? 

A good property manager will take into consideration the appropriate demographic for your property and focus on getting a tenant that comes from it, particularly via methods such as internet advertising. They will also have a significant database of quality tenants that are already looking for somewhere to live.  


What systems do you have for vetting the prospective tenants?

To help protect your investment, ensure that your property manager subscribes to a major tenancy database and screens all prospective tenants carefully.  Each tenant should complete a detailed application form which takes into account their current and previous rental history, current and previous employment history and character references. Each tenant should inspect the property before being accepted on a property. 


What procedures are in place to take care of any issues that might occur? 

I believe that a property manager discussing every aspect of the management process with you is very important. Find out when the property manager will contact you if the tenant has a problem paying the rent or if there is a maintenance request.


How can you ensure the best returns from my property?

Property management isn’t just about collecting rent: it is a comprehensive management service which should be provided by an experienced, qualified property manager. You want to find out what differentiates this property manager from his/her competition and what his/her strengths are. 


Find out what point of difference each agent offers. For example do they have a dedicated leasing team, operate 6 days a week, excellent knowledge of the local market and have strong market share. 



What the readers said

“As a landlord with investment properties, I have had many dealings with many different agents over time. Rachelle has managed my investment properties for me for the last few years, and has to date provided the best experience of any of the property manager I have worked with. I find Rachelle to be helpful, friendly, and whilst positive, honest and consultative with tenants, Rachelle understands the need to protect the landlord’s investment and keeps this as her foremost priority. I have no hesitation in recommending Rachelle to other property owners.”

C. Carmody

Follow the links below to see who else Australian investors voted as the most trusted property professionals for 2015!

Buyers Agent of the Year 2015.

Mortgage Broker of the Year 2015.

Property Investment Advisor of the Year 2015.

Tax Specialist of the Year 2015.