Property management companies can help run the day-to-day operations of your commercial or residential properties. From collecting rent and handling maintenance requests to marketing and retaining tenants, these companies can ensure your properties are running smoothly while increasing your profit and the value of your assets.
For this review, we looked at nearly two dozen companies based on industry expertise, reputation, type of properties managed, specialty services, and more. Here are our top picks.
Best Property Management Companies in 2021
Best Overall : Cushman & Wakefield
Why We Chose It: Cushman & Wakefield is a global real estate services firm that blends commercial and residential property management with over 100 years of experience.
Fully integrated commercial and residential property management
Over 100 years of experience
Manages residential properties in only 32 states
Doesn’t allow clients to use local suppliers
Founded in 1917, Cushman & Wakefield is one of the world’s largest real estate service providers, with 400 offices in 60 countries. In March 2020, the company acquired Pinnacle, the third-largest multifamily property management firm in the U.S. We chose Cushman & Wakefield as the best overall due to its long history and scalable property management services for clients of any size.
Cushman & Wakefield uses a holistic approach to property management by creating integrated teams of property managers, engineers, and accountants who work to minimize operating costs and build strong tenant relationships. The company’s commercial management experience spans all types of real estate represented in a 700 million-square-foot management portfolio of commercial properties in the Americas.
On the residential management side, Cushman & Wakefield manages more than 169,000 units across 839 properties originally gained in its acquisition of Pinnacle. The company oversees day-to-day property operations, including finances and expenses, property improvements and maintenance, leasing and retention, reporting, and more.
Cushman & Wakefield also leverages its deep market experience to help market residential properties. The company also offers a custom property management application that offers convenience for residents and accurate and timely property information for owners.
Best for Commercial Properties : CBRE
Why We Chose It: CBRE is the largest commercial real estate services company in the world, offering custom property management with skilled professionals and cutting-edge technology.
Largest commercial real estate provider
Offers occupier and investor services
Over 100 years of experience
Residents complain about bad service
Expensive service fees
Established in 1920, Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis (CBRE) is the world’s largest commercial real estate services provider, with over 500 offices serving more than 2.7 billion square feet of commercial space worldwide. It’s our pick as the best for commercial properties due to its deep industry expertise and wide range of commercial real estate services.
CBRE offers industry-proven best practices and customized technology solutions to help owners streamline operations and reduce costs while providing excellent service to residents. In 2019, several CBRE-managed buildings were recognized for excellence in commercial building management and operations by BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association).
In addition to project management, CBRE offers 20 separate commercial property services for owners and residents. These include a web-based management and leasing platform, accounting and financial reporting software, consulting, security planning, tenant relations and retention management, and more.
Clients who own a mix of commercial and residential properties can also find what they need from CBRE. The company’s offering of residential project management solutions includes concierge programs, customer service, staff training, marketing and advertising, property management software, online and iPad leasing, resident screening, and more.
Best for Residential Properties : Greystar Real Estate Partners
Why We Chose It: Greystar is the world’s largest residential real estate service provider, combining international business processes and practices with local market knowledge to provide consistent, high-quality property management.
Largest property management company in the U.S.
Invests in many of the properties it manages
Excellent customer service
Complaints of poor response to service requests
Complaints of poor building maintenance
Greystar was founded in 1993 to deliver high-quality real estate services to residents, property owners, and investors of residential properties. The company serves over 660,000 units around the world and was ranked first among the Top 50 U.S. Apartment Managers by the 2020 National Multifamily Housing Council.
Greystar prides itself in delivering exceptional customer service, employing a Beyond Expectations customer service strategy that teaches team members to think like an owner and take pride in resident satisfaction. Greystar also develops and invests in many of the properties it manages, giving it a more personal connection to its owners and residents.
Greystar manages a wide range of residential properties, including high-rise, student living, mixed-use, affordable housing, and senior living properties. The company’s residential property management services include property operations, business management and administration, financial services, construction management, procurement, IT, marketing and communications, and training and education.
Finally, Greystar employs a holistic business model called The Greystar Advantage, which combines standardized best practices, policies, and procedures with scalable property management services including talent acquisition, property transitions, and performance analytics and technology services such as leasing automation, online resident services, revenue management, and more.
Best for On-Site Management : Franklin Street
Why We Chose It: Franklin Street offers a full suite of property management services for commercial and residential properties with on-site staff training and career planning.
Offers on-site staff training and support
Manages residential and commercial properties
Only serves the U.S. East Coast and Southeast
Established in 2006, Franklin Street has become one of the fastest-growing real estate service firms serving the U.S. East Coast and Southeast. The company’s dedicated training and support for on-site staff from experienced executives make it our top pick as the best for on-site management.
Despite its smaller size, Franklin Street offers a full range of real estate services including investment sales, insurance services, landlord and tenant representation, property and facilities management, and project management. The company also services multiple real estate types including retail, office, multi-family, industrial, mixed-use, and more.
Franklin Street’s comprehensive property management solutions offer optimized property performance, due diligence assistance, operating assumptions validation, strategic market insight and advice, finances and accounting, tailored performance metrics, and more.
Franklin Street also puts a strong emphasis on on-site property management, offering on-site staff training and career path planning from its team of experienced real estate professionals as well as senior support for on-site staff from the company’s executive team.
Best for Large Market Properties : Equity Residential
Why We Chose It: Equity Residential focuses on managing urban and high-density suburban residential properties in major U.S. cities.
Focuses on the largest U.S. markets
10th-largest apartment property manager in the U.S.
Over 50 years of experience
No commercial management services
Tenant complaints of unexpected rental fees
Founded in 1967 to manage student apartment buildings, Equity Residential has grown to become the 10th-largest apartment property management provider in the U.S. The company manages 310 properties consisting of over 80,000 apartment units in major cities like Boston, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, and Washington, D.C., making it our top choice as the best for large market properties.
Equity Residential combines the resources of a large company with local management expertise to provide custom property management solutions for owners. The company invests heavily in training its employees in project management and was one of the top 100 U.S. companies to work for in 2019 according to Glassdoor.
As part of its commitment to providing clients with top-of-the-line property management, Equity Residential offers several leadership development and education programs. The company also offers a 14-week maintenance apprenticeship program that introduces Equity Residential employees to the company’s concepts and practices through on-the-job training and classroom courses. Employees also get rent discounts on Equity Residential apartment homes, helping them experience the company’s property management process firsthand.
Best for Specialty Properties : JLL
Why We Chose It: JLL manages over 4.6 billion square feet of commercial real estate worldwide including amusement parks, self-storage facilities, marinas, sports stadiums, and more.
Manages a wide variety of specialty properties
Scalable property management services
Uses smart technology for property management
Tenant complaints about bad service
Doesn’t manage residential properties
Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated (JLL) was founded in 1999 and uses advanced technology and processes to track and assess every facet of building management. The company was also one of only four real estate service providers in 2020 to be recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. JLL is our choice as the best for specialty properties due to the wide variety of commercial properties it manages, including sports and entertainment venues, research and development facilities, student and senior housing, and more.
JLL uses a proprietary, end-to-end facilities management platform called Corrigo to automate many property and facility management tasks. Corrigo allows property owners to automatically route service requests to the right technicians and vendors. Users also get real-time data that lets them review other available vendors, compare how much they're spending to other property managers, and find ways to save on operating costs.
JLL also allows its clients to choose specific property management services based on their needs. These include access to a digital marketplace of repair and maintenance vendors offering negotiated rates; green building services; and shared or dedicated mobile resources to help manage plumbing, lighting, electrical services, and more.
Property management companies can help alleviate the responsibility of day-to-day management of residential or commercial properties, and it can often be difficult to choose the best one for your needs. You might consider starting with one of the world’s largest real estate service providers, Cushman & Wakefield, our choice for the best property management company overall due to its deep industry expertise and holistic approach to property management.
CBRE is our pick as the best for commercial properties due to its recognition for excellence in commercial building management and wide range of management services, while Greystar Real Estate Partners is the best for residential properties because of its holistic business model and investment in many of its managed properties.
Franklin Street’s commitment to training on-site staff including senior support from the company’s executive team makes it our choice as the best for on-site management.
Those who manage properties in large metropolitan areas like Boston and New York City will want to look at Equity Residential, our pick as the best for large market properties because of its custom property management solutions for owners in those markets.
Finally, JLL wins the best for specialty properties spot due to its experience in managing a diversity of commercial properties, including sports venues, amusement parks, and marinas, using cutting-edge technology solutions.
|Company||Why We Picked It||Notable Features|
|Cushman & Wakefield||Best Overall||Fully integrated commercial and residential property management|
|CBRE||Best for Commercial Properties||Offers 20 separate commercial property services|
|Greystar Real Estate Partners||Best for Residential Properties||Invests in many of the properties it manages|
|Franklin Street||Best for On-Site Management||Offers on-site staff training and support|
|Equity Residential||Best for Large Market Properties||Focuses on the largest U.S. urban markets|
|JLL||Best for Specialty Properties||Scalable services for a variety of specialty properties|
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Choose a Property Management Company?
The first step to choosing a property management company is seeing how much experience they have with your type of property. A company with extensive commercial management experience, for instance, may not be a good choice if you own an apartment building.
Next, you’ll want to ask specific questions about how they handle certain services, such as collecting rent, completing repairs and maintenance, screening tenants, and marketing your property.
Finally, you’ll want to consider cost. A property management company that’s too expensive or that offers more services than you need can significantly cut into your profit before you see any returns.
What Does a Property Management Company Do?
Property management companies can handle as many or as few aspects of running your residential or commercial property as you want. This can be anything from collecting rent and handling tenant maintenance requests to helping you manage your accounting and increase your occupancy.
Many property management companies also offer consulting services that can help you make your properties more energy efficient, improve and upgrade your properties, invest and insure new properties, and more.
Is Hiring a Property Management Company Worth It?
If you’re having trouble filling vacancies in your property or retaining tenants, you may want to consider hiring a property management company. Not only can they help you market your property, but they can also help you find reliable vendors and maintenance processes that will keep your tenants renewing their leases year after year.
How Much Does a Property Management Company Cost?
Because the needs of each property owner are unique, we were unable to get quotes from any of the property management companies we reviewed.
Third-party research, however, shows that you can expect to pay 4% to 12% of the collective monthly rent of your properties in management fees with prices varying based on the local real estate market as well. Some companies also charge a setup fee of up to $300, a $50 monthly vacancy fee, and a leasing fee between 25% and 50% of the first month’s rent.
How We Chose the Best Property Management Companies
We looked at nearly two dozen property management companies for this review. Our first task was to find companies with a strong reputation and deep expertise in the types of properties they manage.
Because commercial and residential properties have differing management needs, we also wanted to find companies that specialized in each real estate sector. We then drilled down into each company to see which services they excelled in, as in the case of on-site management, large market properties, and specialty properties.
All of the companies we selected had deep industry expertise, high industry ratings, offered a full range of property management services, and provide unique features suited to the needs of specific property owners.