When buying abroad many people want peace of mind of of having somebody “on the ground”. For many property owners it may be as simple as having a friendly neighbour who holds a set of keys, for others it may be the full service from a property management company. The levels of service may vary in both substance and quality but can include payment of utilities, collection of post, regular inspections, preparation of the property for owner visits or rentals etc.
Property management can vary considerably with regard to quality of service and of course by the nature of the service you are not there to check on it!
Here are some tips if you are thinking of hiring a company;
- Do you have a friend or neighbour that can do it for free or a small fee?
- If you are going to visit regularly or are going to rent it out, do you really need property inspections?
- If you do decide to sign up for full property management service, ensure that you know exactly what the service includes as well as all fees. This should be agreed upon in advance of signing any contract. What checks and balances does the management company have to ensure that you are going to get the service you are paying for?
- Avoid annual management fees. Pay as you go will almost certainly be cheaper.
- Review your arrangements every year. Once you are used to ownership abroad you will be much more confident and will probably be less likely to need an expensive annual contract.
- Avoid contract that are mid season to mid season. This is a common ploy to ensure you do not cancel your contract as it expires mid season, just the time when you need service even. Always insist on January to December.