How to pick a great agent or agency to manage your holiday home is a question most holiday home owners will be really concerned about. It’s a big decision who you trust to look after one of your biggest assets and you want to know it will be done well. Holidays Rentals Australia prides itself on industry best practice policies and by sharing those with you we hope you can use the 8 simple ways below to help spot a great managing agent or agency when the time comes to find someone to manage your vacation property.
Are they licenced agents?
One of the most important checks you need to do as an owner and prospective client of a holiday rental managing agent is to make sure the agency you are hiring to look after your holiday home are licensed real estate agents. Here in Australia, anyone who manages money on behalf of property owners must be a licensed agent. However, there are many cowboys out there who skirt the law and believe they don’t have to have this vital qualification. The qualification means that agents are trained and held to a higher standard than unlicensed operators with mandated annual training and severe implications if their actions fall below acceptable standards. An agent’s licence is a positive sign that they can be trusted with your holiday home.
Are they willing to let you speak to other owners?
A sign of a quality agent or agency is how willing they are to let prospective clients speak with their existing owners. Holiday Rentals Australia has always been quite happy to give existing owners references because we work closely with them and know them personally. Over the years our management has turned them into raving fans who are happy to share their experiences. A reluctance to share this information should be a warning sign to you; what could they be hiding? The best agencies will even let you choose which properties you’d like to speak to the owners of; those with nothing to hide will be happy to oblige.
What do other owners say about property maintenance and condition?
One of the key questions to ask existing owners you may be put in contact with as a reference is how well is the property being looked after? A central concept about a holiday property is that owners get to use them sometimes and rent them out when they’re not wanting to stay, so the last thing any owner would want is for their beloved property to not be looked after between their stays. It has to be remembered that a little wear and tear should be expected; anyone staying in a place that isn’t their own won’t take quite as good care of it as the owner, but it should be minor and kept on top of by a good agent.
Are income payments on time?
One of the top reasons you’re looking at anything to do with holiday rentals is because you are looking to generate an income from a substantial asset that you own, your second or holiday home. Something you should ask any agent is when and how they pay out your income. This is something you should double-check with any other owners you are allowed to speak with as references for the agency.
Do they give you detailed accounting?
Proper agencies should provide monthly, detailed accounting statements showing the bookings you received, the income from those bookings and any charges related to your property such as cleaning and laundry, maintenance and property management fees for example. Local laws here in Australia also mandate this so it should be a standard expectation of owners to receive a quality statement from their agency. A good thing to do is to ask to see an example statement that you could expect to receive.
How easy are they to contact?
In our view, complete contactability is an absolute must for any good agent or agency. How quickly they respond to any enquiry you make and how well they answer your questions will tell you a lot. Do they seem to only answer some questions and not others? That’s never a good sign and could be an early warning sign that they’re not thorough people and probably best avoided. A good holiday rental managing agent should be contactable close to 24/7 because you never know what emergency could come up that a holiday rental guest needs help with. You have a relationship with the agent and they know how you want things to work, so in the event of an emergency and the guest can’t contact the agent, the last thing you want is the guest making a decision for themselves. A sign of a quality agent is their ability to respond out of hours to important matters and you should ask what the company policy for this is.
Do they get good reviews from guests?
Social proof is so necessary now for any guest making a booking; they want to know the property isn’t dodgy and is being well looked after to give them confidence to spend their hard-earned money on a stay there. A good agency will be well-reviewed by guests and you’ll be able to spot this from their property listings on sites like Airbnb, for example here is a link to the thousands of reviews Holiday Rentals Australia has from guests showing happy stays, warm welcomes and easy communication.
Are their property adverts highly detailed with lots of photos?
Review the property adverts and listings provided by the company on their website and sites like Airbnb. Agents and agencies who do not devote enough time to comprehensive listings should be a red flag. To give you an example of one of our thorough property listings, click this link to see one of our properties on Airbnb. You should note the length of the description, the information provided about the property for guests, the number and the clarity of photos showing all aspects of the property, floorplans if available and a general attempt to set expectations for guests of what to expect of the property for their stay.
A quality and well-experienced holiday rental managing agent or agency should give you a feeling of reassurance from the information they volunteer to you. You should be left feeling all your questions have been answered with ease, the process makes sense to you and it sounds like they know what they’re doing. Don’t be afraid to follow your gut on this one as it’s a big decision. Beyond that, you need to feel comfortable checking on them by talking to other people they work for also because that is when the real, unvarnished truths come out. Things do go wrong from time to time and how an agency handles that will tell you about their true colours.
If you have a holiday property, whether that’s a house or apartment and you’re new to holiday rentals please feel free to get in touch for some no-obligation advice on making sure you make some sensible decisions right at the start. If you’re working with an existing agent and don’t feel their doing their best for you at all times then we’d love to hear from you to see if working together we could improve not only your holiday rental experience but you’re income from it as well.