Find Great Property Managers
Property managers offer professional level management services to allow landlords to increase efficiency, profit, streamline tasks, and improve the tenant experience.
Whether you’re outsourcing leasing or maintenance operations, or hiring a provider whom you might buy out at some point, building an unbiased view of their real value is vital. It makes for good business decisions.
And if you’re a remote-located investor/landlord, taking some time to vet your choice is smart.
But how will you find the right property manager for your business? Interestingly, there are few digital apps that will help you distinguish the good from the bad. You may only need to use a spreadsheet to list all factors and then give each factor an algorithmic weighting. This could help you to see the best providers more clearly.
Remember why you’re hiring a property manager. Review the essentials, because this is an important decision. They’ll be managing your assets and tenants.
Why are You Hiring a Property Manager?
- to leverage their expertise and experience
- to improve marketing and acquire new, well-screened, and qualified tenants
- manage your properties more efficiently to retain and improve investment value
- manage your increasing number of rental properties
- meet government tenant guidelines and business regulations for landlords/managers
- use modern property management automation processes
- improve contractor/vendor management
- to reduce maintenance costs amid inflationary trends
Our Listing of Firms Near You
Our growing list of property management firms below which includes providers in California, Arizona, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Hawaii, Florida, Colorado, Washington, Illinois, and Massachusetts.
We could sum up their UVP in 10 areas you should be investigating:
- Property Inspections, Maintenance and Repairs: What is their expertise of housing and mechanical systems? Ask them to describe their property maintenance and repair program. Check their maintenance schedules and assess what was done. Ask them about specific high-risk high cost equipment issues and how they managed them. Ask to view their properties managed and check out the quality of the work. Ask to see what was done, fixed, or replaced and why.
- Tenant Screening: The task of tenant screening is vital since nightmare tenants can ruin your business and cash flow. Review their process and screening items. Are they covering the really essential tasks for screening? Ask them: why did you leave previous rentals, can you afford this rental, what condition was your last rental unit, and why is this rental so important to you? Yes, use credit checking and renter background checks, but ask them how they use these reports to make final decisions.
- Property and Tenant Marketing : As covered in the post on Tenant Advertising, your property management professional may be able to target and lease to high quality tenants that pay on time and respect your rental assets. Ask the prospective manager how they manage tenants from start to finish, the full lifecycle of a renter — including acquiring new tenants, setting the right rent price, handling rent payment delays, and have them verify their tenant retention rates and current vacancy rate. Where do they advertise, what rental listing sites do they use, what does their website look like, and do they use the MLS? What is their cost per lead? If they’re on top of these things, they may be a competent property manager.
- Showing and Onboarding: Greeting tenants, showing the suite, writing leases, getting them amended and signed, informing them of their obligations in the home, helping them get settled, and arranging rent payments. Yes, respecting and educating tenants takes time and is important.
- Tenant Communications and Relations: Assess the quality and frequency of their communications with tenants. Ask them to elaborate on their tenant retention strategy. Read their reports and ask about specific tenants to verify that they really do keep in touch and ensure concerns and requests are handled effectively. If they have tenant software, you may be able to verify by seeing those records. Ask to speak to at least 3 of their tenants from different homes or buildings at random (not their selection). Do you believe they will be good for your tenants? Do they speak respectfully and professionally? Are they friendly?
- Are they Tech Savvy? Property management and landlording are undergoing big changes due to digital technology. Ask them to demo their digital solution with you in person. See how user friendly and how it manages the common, most important tasks. Bells whistle features, or software designed for large enterprises put a lot of pressure on inexperience staff. Check the software platform they use and the reports they prepare. How do you feel about the software solution and what it is providing?
- Rent Collection and Late Payments: How do they accept rent from tenants: checks, etransfer, bank transfer, PayPal, or other electronic payment processors? Review payment records and note how late the overdue payments were. Ask them how they handled specific cases of rent default. If they’re managing a budget and large funds, are they bondable?
- Contractor Management: Contractors can steal your money, produce shoddy repairs, not maintain the property, and create disasters. Ask about who the most reliable professional contractors are which they use and why they chose them. Ask about contractor problems, ask for names and company names, and how the problem was resolved, or if it actually ever was resolved. Investigate these contractors on your own to gauge whether you feel comfortable with their professionalism and prices.
- Property Management Fees: What are their yearly fees and what risks are there for you if something goes wrong? How do they structure their fees? Do they charge by the property? Will they take responsibility for late payers or a default? How much will they charge if you add 3 to 10 more properties?Additional Screening Criteria:
- Do they have property manager insurance and have made a claim? Do they provide detailed owner reports and income reports?
- Do they break their property management fee down into type of property and a percentage of rent? It is usually 4 to 12% of monthly rent but could be up to 20% for small portfolios. You might want to build in a performance penalty/bonus to test whether they’re confident of their skills. Ask them if their fees are billed or deducted directly from owner accounts.
- Do they need a reserve fund or maintenance fees up front? Do they notify you beforehand on maintenance/repair work of more than $500. How do they protect you from contractor fraud? Do they have their own contractor crew and how do they charge for that service?
- Do they charge a fee for serving notices, dealing with attorneys, court appearances, evictions, etc.
- How much is their leasing fee? 30% to 100% of first month’s rent is normal, however can they guarantee quality tenant results? Will they agree to a penalty if they bring in a tenant that leaves within 12 or 24 months? If you find a good tenant on your own, do you still pay the leasing fee?
- What is the term of your agreement and how can it be terminated? What are the fees if you cancel early?
There are plenty of fees they could charge you so it’s best to know beforehand how much that could all add up to, before you sign a property management contract.
10. Property Management Experience: What properties have they managed: houses, condos, large apartment buildings? How long have they been in business? What are the qualifications and experience of their current staff and contractors? Visit some of the properties they currently manage. Ask them to elaborate on a variety of experiences with tenants and owners and keep plumbing for common themes. Ask pointed questions about troubling things, just to see if they try to avoid that line of inquiry.
Who are their full staff? What experience and qualifications do they possess? What do you think of the diligence of those team members?
Interviews and References
Reliable, trustworthy property management companies will be as transparent as they can be with you. During interviews, the usual strategy of ensuring they are meticulously honest and forthright is good.
They may suffered some bad experiences during the pandemic, but let them explain what didn’t work, indicate what they learned and how they are better now.
And business references are also okay but keep in mind that everyone has a few prepared/coached references who will speak well of them. This is why it’s important to focus on critical business factors because performance is the real criteria.
Instead, through your conversations and inquiries, and lots of questions, you’ll learn more about why previous landlords and property owners did or didn’t work out. You must discover the landlords that didn’t work out. Do some research on the web/social media to uncover tenants who complained and contact them directly. Remember that trashing companies is common on social media and web reviews and is very often not true.
If they had property owner clients wo didn’t work out, it might only suggest they took on the wrong clients out of financial pressures. Would that be the case with you as well? Their philosophy of customer first is critical because your tenants are your financial lifeblood.
Property Management Firm Listings
In need of a property management firm near you? Get your sourcing started with:
Good Selection Criteria Make all the Difference
Choosing the best property manager will make your investment much more secure and aid in increasing profits. There are some good ones out there, and great hiring decisions come from being thorough, assessing performance, character, professionalism, and determination to the be the best provider available in your region.
Their websites, business listings, social pages and interviews will likely answer a lot of questions about the real value they’ll create for you.
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