At your service
With a growing number of house owners not having the time to take care of their property, they are beginning to rely on professional property management services to take care of their needs.
House hunting can lead to having interesting experiences for each person. When Srividhya, a financial analyst, was scouring the city for a house to move into on rent, she contacted a person whose phone number was listed on a website. “I found myself speaking to a property manager who enquired about my requirements. He was managing the property that belonged to someone else. But what surprised me the most was that he wanted to interview me to see if I fit the bill of the property owner. I was not aware that the city had such services where an owner could hire such people so that they don’t have to micro-manage certain tasks,” she says.
Many from the earlier generation may have built houses to live in them. But today, buying a house is not merely to live in it, but it is also seen as an investment. Hence an owner, today, need not essentially live in the same house. And this is where home management services are sought.
How exactly is it relevant today? T Chockalingam, Managing Partner, 360 Property Management Services, says, “20 years back, if you owned a house in a city that you currently did not live in, you would take the help of a relative (family member) or a friend to help find a tenant, or to help with anything that was related to the property such as a repair or renovation work. Today, there are a lot of Indians who are settled abroad or live far away from the property, and they may be reluctant to ask a relative’s help in this regard. Simply because they may know that these people may not feel obliged to help them, or they may live far from the property themselves and may find it inconvenient to visit it often.” And that is how these services have become crucial to many Chennai residents.
These companies offer a range of solutions. They help in buying and selling houses, and finding tenants for the house. Tenants are often interviewed, the information is verified and that is shared with the house owner. Sometimes it is also their job to find tenants according to the demands of the owner. “Sometimes they will be particular about tenants having a small family, or belonging to a certain state or community. We have to find them accordingly. Then a rental agreement is drafted and the deal is finalised. We then become facilitators,” says a property manager.
Further, services pertaining to electrical, plumbing, carpentry, flooring, wood work and painting are taken care of by a team from property management service companies. Also, property tax, maintenance charges, water and sewer charges and other expenses are paid on time by these organisations. They visit the property from time to time to check if it has been well maintained by its occupants and even pictures and videos of the same are shared with the owners.
“The prices for the services depend on the size of the property, its location and the specific work that we need to do. Generally, people think it is only NRIs who look out for such help. But even those who have multiple assets, or own a small building with many apartments, take our help,” says Prabhu Shankar, Manager, Nimmadhi Property Management. He offers a word of advice, “Verify if such a company is registered. You can try and do that by checking if that company has a GST number. Also, read the reviews online, see the customer feedback and check if anyone you personally know has enlisted their help.”