Your first property – a guide – Lauren Robinson

Lauren Robinson is a property manager and has her own property management business.  We talk to her about her book – “Rented: Everything You Need to Know to Succeed With Your First Investment Property”.  In the book, Lauren provides a basic structure of property management as well as tips and procedures for first-time investors and what they can do to develop and manage their rental property.
Kevin:  In the show, I love the opportunity to talk to people who have written books, because I have great admiration for them – I said that to my next guest before we started the interview – because I know how difficult it is to get a book off the ground.
The book I’m referring to is simply called Rented: Everything You Need to Know to Succeed With Your First Investment Property. It’s written by Lauren Robinson, who is a property manager, has her own property management business. It’s called Rental Results. She is the CEO and founder of that company, and she joins me now.
Lauren, congratulations and thanks for your time.
Lauren:  Thanks very much, Kevin. I appreciate you having me on.
Kevin:  That’s okay. What prompted you to write the book?
Lauren:  The reason why is because we often to speak to new clients or new property investors and we always get asked the same questions. So, it was more to educate people on the whole process of making sure your investment is successful.
Kevin:  What is the question you’re commonly asked?
Lauren:  A lot of people just do not know where to start and what is the process to make sure that they actually do have an investment that is successful. So, in the book, I provide a basic structure of property management as well as tips and procedures for first-time investors and what they can do to develop and manage their rental property.
Kevin:  You have five strategic steps or stages that you go through. We won’t be able go through each of those in detail; I suggest that you pick the book up and have a look at it. It’s a really easy read, and you could read it in a matter of a couple of hours or a day. But there’s a lot that you would refer back to. It’s one of those books, I think, that you would pick up and refer back to it because there’s a lot of information in here.
The first stage is the investment stage, which is the foundation for any good investment.
Lauren:  Exactly. The book has checklists at the end of each stage, so it’s really easy to follow and you can tick things off as you go.
Kevin:  Take me through the various stages that you think someone should be considering. The first is the investment decision. Is that the why?
Lauren:  Yes. The first thing is when you’re looking to invest, most people either invest in shares or property or a business. Property, a lot of people really love purchasing property, so it just runs through that first decision.
And it’s really important to make sure you surround yourself with property professionals, so have all those people, like your mortgage brokers, your financial planners, your quantity surveyors, your accountant, everyone lined up so that once you make that decision or you’re looking around and you think you’ve found that property, you’ve got the right knowledge and back-up support around you to make that decision.
Kevin:  Once you do that, you then have to move into setting it up for yourself – don’t you – setting up your business?
Lauren:  Yes, making sure you have the right structure that’s going to suit you. That’s definitely where your accountant comes in. It’s really important to know the market and what’s a reasonable price because you want to make sure you’re not paying too much or have an understanding of what the expenses are going to be in order to maintain that property to get it up to the right standard to attract a quality tenant.
Kevin:  A lot of the things that we talk about here in this interview and that you discuss in the book will come down to the choice of getting a really good property manager. I know an accountant is important, but at the end of the day, it’s the management of that property that’s the key thing. That’s what I would think, anyway, Lauren.
Lauren:  Yes, I 100% agree. That’s why I’m in the business. The second stage is setting up your investment property, so it’s choosing the right property manager for you. There is a checklist again in there, learning the type of demographic and the likely rental return so that you can maximize that rent that you’re going to get on your investment.
Kevin:  And making sure it’s productive. I guess, once again, you get the right property manager and it will become productive and it will become efficient, because I think while you can’t have no relationship with the tenant, it’s always best to have an arm’s-length relationship, so you need to know your property manager is managing it efficiently.
Lauren:  Yes, definitely. And you want to make sure you have the confidence that that property manager knows the legislation, they’re professional. I have an investment property myself and I personally don’t manage it because I find it’s difficult to manage your own investment. It is much better to have someone else in the middle working on your behalf, who understands the legislation, who can deal with that. It just takes the emotion out of it.
Kevin:  Stage four is the transition, and I think this is really where you’re going to tell if you get a good property manager. I always believe that the properties that we have that are managed, if our property manager is pushing us to maintain it well, I know they have my best interest at heart and I feel confident they’re looking after it well.
Lauren:  Yes, exactly. There are a lot of things that can be done, like preventative maintenance to ensure that things don’t escalate and all of a sudden, you have quite a large expense on your hands that could have been dealt with months prior. Yes, it’s about minimizing those large expenses, as well.
Kevin:  I do think anyone listening to this who has rental properties, if you’re experiencing any kind of difficulty with them – in other words, if the tenants are always complaining or if they’re falling behind on their rent or you’re just having hassles with it – I can guarantee you that you’re with the wrong rental manager, because that’s the litmus test for us. If we can not “set and forget,” but if we don’t have any hassles, I know it’s being managed well.
Lauren:  Yes, exactly right. It’s inevitable that things are going to pop up during the tenancy, but obviously, if you have the right property manager working with you, then you can make the decision that’s in your best interest to get things dealt with quickly.
Kevin:  Stage five of the book deals with getting a return, and I don’t mean an ongoing return; I’m talking about when, and if, you decide to sell the property – when you sell it, how you sell it, the sort of questions you should ask. I find that’s also an important part, because when you go into something, you have to plan your exit. You have to know what your exit plan is all about, don’t you?
Lauren:  Definitely. And knowing the property clock and when is the best time to sell your property to get the return. In that stage, we also provide a checklist for preparing your property for sale if it’s tenanted.
Kevin:  There’s a checklist for everything. And you’ll find it all inside the book called Rented. It’s written by Lauren Robinson and I strongly suggest…
Whereabouts can we get the book? Is it at all good bookstores, or is it online?
Lauren:  It’s online. There’s a Kindle version or you can buy paperback. We have a website called
Kevin:  Or if you go to the website, all the information will be there, no doubt.
Lauren:  Yes, definitely.
Kevin:  Good on you, Lauren. Great talking to you and thank you very much. I love your work too, by the way.
Lauren:  Thanks very much. Appreciate it.

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