Unpacking Property Management and Rental Market with Emma Barclay


Whether you’re a tenant or a property owner, it’s vital to understand the role of a (high-quality) property manager. They can make all the difference to your experience out there in Canberra’s competitive rental market.


Meet Emma Barclay. She’s an experienced property manager. She says property managers wear many hats.

‘What don’t we do!? Ultimately, we take the stress off the owner by managing all the inspections, maintenance, reporting and collecting rent. But most importantly, a good property manager mediates the relationship between property owner and tenant. We work between the two parties to make sure everyone is meeting their obligations and that we’re looking after each other’s rights.’

Carter + Co has some of Canberra’s finest property managers ®

It’s tough to find a good rental these days. What can you do to set yourself up as the best potential tenant?

At the moment, there is high competition for properties with rent sitting at $700 or less per week.

‘It’s not unusual to for us to attract huge numbers of people at an open home or receive 10 or more applications for a property. It’s a frustrating time for those who are desperately needing to secure a place to live.’

Emma suggests prospective tenants should aim to make a personal connection to help them stand out from the crowd.

‘Say hello to the property manager at an open home – introduce yourself so we can picture you when we receive your application. It’s also worth doing a summary of who you are and what your situation is within a cover letter on your application. Property managers have to sift through many applications, so a brief summary is a handy tool for us and property owners.’

Check Carter + Co properties for lease ®

You have an investment property (or are considering buying one). What should you expect from a property manager?

‘They should be communicating with you! The number one complaint I hear from both property owners and tenants is that their property manager doesn’t keep them updated.’

Emma suggests that if you haven’t heard from your property manager in 6 or more months, you’re probably not getting the service you are paying for.

‘The other thing is to expect your property manager to come to you with solutions. There’s no point paying a property manager to raise issues with you; they should be giving you options or a plan of action too.’

Emma also notes that property owners must be prepared to pay for unexpected expenses along the way, especially if your property is older.

‘Before you invest in a property, do your numbers. You need to allow for maintenance, land tax and so on. Little maintenance issues managed along the way are less likely to turn into major issues, so allow enough money in the budget for ongoing maintenance so you don’t devalue your investment (or frustrate your tenants).’

Your property manager isn’t up to scratch. How hard is it to change property managers?

If you’re looking for a new property manager, Emma says it’s easier than you think!

‘First of all, consider what you’d do if you were selling your property – you’d meet with a couple of agents, and they would be hoping to win you over by making the process easier for you. It’s the same with a new property manager.’

Emma suggests you search online for property managers working in your particular suburb. Also review feedback via websites such as ratemyagent. Then it’s worth asking some questions:

  • Is the person you’re speaking with (or meeting) the person who will manage your property? (If not, ask to meet that person so you can build rapport)
  • How many properties is the property manager looking after? (The industry average is 150 properties per manager (wow!), so it may be worth finding a boutique operator with fewer clients)
  • What are the fees and what do they include?

‘Once you decide on a new property manager, they’ll contact your existing agent to arrange the transfer of all paperwork across. It could take as little as 10 minutes! It’s that easy.’

Emma says that any good property manager will happily offer an obligation-free chat and give you advice.

‘Ask us any question so you’re informed. We’re all here to help!’

Get to know Carter + Co ®