So you’ve analyzed your situation and determined that hiring a property manager is the right choice for you. Your next step will be to find a good property management company that will best meet your particular needs. In this article, we’ll look at some ways to find these companies. We’ll also look at the important questions to ask, and other factors you need to consider when making this important decision.
A good place to start is referrals – ask other property owners who live in your area, see who they use. Inquire as to how they found their property manager (PM). Are they happy with the management company? What are their favorite things about working with this PM, what are their least favorite things?
Ask your real estate agent. Your agent may have worked directly with PMs in the past and have a recommendation for you based on that experience. They also may know of others who have worked with PMs who would gladly give a recommendation. At the very least, your real estate agent has connections in the industry and should be able to give you some solid direction toward finding a PM.
There are databases such as allpropertymanagement.com with information that can help you find PMs that specifically work with properties of your size. Most of these sites also have a FAQ section that can be extremely helpful in answering many of your questions in regards to finding a PM and other information in regards to your rental property. Your local landlord or apartment association will also have access to professional directories. These directories can also be a great source.
After you have a few PMs that you are considering, look at Google and Yelp! reviews online. These reviews can be very helpful in narrowing down your list. Of course, meeting with the PM in person will also answer any other questions you may have and this would then give you a better idea as to whether you would feel comfortable working with a particular PM.
As you meet with potential PMs you will want to have a checklist of needed information. Below is a suggested list of items to begin with:
- Cost. You want to thoroughly understand their pricing structure. A fee of 7-12% of monthly rental income is typical. The fee is normally based on which services are provided. Its important to get a clear understanding of what the fee includes. Does the fee cover listing the property? When the PM needs to travel to your property, are travel costs included? During times of vacancy is the PM still paid?
- Which platforms does the PM use for listing properties? How does the PM determine which are the best platforms? You want to be confident that your PM is using listing platforms that will find the high-quality renters you want living in your properties. Are they staying up-to-date with the latest technology? They should have an attractive, thorough website as well as an app for mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. Do they have a strategy for using social media? How will your property be shown? Do they list other companies’ properties on their website? What is their plan for working with potential renters who have unconventional working hours?
- Exactly what process does the PM use to screen potential tenants? Is this cost (credit checks, etc.) included in your quoted fee?
- What about rent collection? Does the PM use an automatic electronic deposit system or paper checks? What is the length of time between collection and deposit into your account?
- What is the process for handling maintenance, repairs and emergencies? Since this point alone is often the motivating factor behind hiring a PM for your property, you want to make sure you are satisfied with this process and that it meets your needs. Does the PM have their own maintenance department or do they hire contract workers? Is the cost of the maintenance and repairs included in your fee? How are after-hour emergencies handled? Can your tenants reach someone 24 hours a day in an emergency? Will they inspect your property on a regular basis while it’s empty?
You now have several simple steps to help you get started in finding the right property manager, as well as some of the most important questions to ask. If you are still unsure as to whether hiring a property manager is right for you, you’ll want to read last month’s post “Property Management 101 & How to Know When to Hire a Property Manager.”
Hungry for more? Check out the two blogs below or visit our Owner Resource Center here to find answers to all of your questions. Or give us a call at (941) 782-1559, we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.