As a non-resident property owner, do you worry about what is happening to your property investment when you are not there?
You are justified in your concern.
Living miles away or across the pond from your property investment can be worrisome and is rarely the adage of ‘out of sight, out of mind!’ for many overseas owners. It can instil high levels of anxiety knowing that your property is tenanted or occupied by holiday guests whilst away from your watchful eye. In addition, if you are unable to permanently live or reside for long periods of time in or near to your rental property, it is difficult to build up local knowledge as to the threats and weaknesses which may put your investment at risk. More importantly, it may be difficult for your property to be included in its local neighbourhood watch if there is a frequency of holiday guests. Both of these factors are important in increasing your investment property’s exposure to risk.
La Charente and Charente-Maritime welcome large numbers of tourist during the summer months who many occupy the holiday homes and gîtes within their regions. But when your rental property is not at work with its holiday guests it may attract the unwanted attention of numerous travellers noted by observant residents. Lack of movement, lack of lights and shuttered windows and doors many render your investment to risk. Local newspapers often highlight the burglary hot spots within the Charente départements with the sighting of police cars within the quiet French country lanes becoming the norm. Of course, it is reassuring to know that the police are patrolling burglary hot spots, particularly if your property has become categorised. However, your investment may now be at risk with higher insurance premiums eroding the return on your investment. Prevention is better than cure and it is important to take steps to protect your asset. Consider undertaking regular property checks and property inspections in the out of season months or when occupancy is spasmodic. With regular property check reports together with dated photographs and video clips, this may help to reduce rising insurance premium costs. However, more importantly, the services of a property manager ensures that your investment is safeguarded by a manager’s regular impromptu visits. Further, a professional property manager ensures that he or she is kept updated with area alerts as to crime, adverse weather and local market conditions which may affect the value of your asset. Moreover, a good property manager will strive to develop rapport with your rental property’s neighbours to help your investment to be included in the neighbourhood watch.
What are the disadvantages of a hiring the services of a property manager?
A professional property manager will have a range of qualities – built environment knowledge, architectural, construction and/or surveying expertise, maintenance and facilities management to name a few. But, more importantly, a professional property manager will be a real estate person with a good grounding in valuation and investment who is quick to recognise a threat to your return on investment.
Because of the range of qualities a good property manager needs, a professional property manager may have limited availability, therefore, he or she may only be able to manage a limited number of properties at any one time in specific areas. It takes a while for a professional property manager to build intelligence of certain localities, to develop rapport with local neighbourhood groups and to be knowledgeable in local market conditions which may affect a property’s value or return. In addition, the dedication which a good property manager devotes to his or her properties is time-consuming and necessary to ensure that the return on your investment is safeguarded. Therefore, the disadvantage is that you may need to wait for a vacancy to become available in your property manager’s property care portfolio.
And are we different?
We think so.