Tips for Finding the Best Property Manager
Strategies for Finding the Right Person to Manage Your Property
Hiring someone to manage your investment is a big decision, so you need to do your research before choosing one. Important qualities to look for include organization, honesty and actual experience. Here are six tips to help you find the best fit for your property.
Get Referrals From Different Sources
The first tip for finding a property manager is through word of mouth. By talking to real estate agents and other property owners in your area you may be able to find some great options. You should get a list of the property managers or property management companies they have used or are currently using. It is important to ask what they have been happy with and what problems they have had.
A referral can be biased. This is why it is important to get referrals from different sources. If you hear the same thing about a property manager or company multiple times, whether it is good or bad, there is a greater chance that it is true.
Do an Online Search for Property Managers
The next tip is to do your own research. You can also do an online search for property management companies. Websites like T-Rex Global and AllPropertyManagement allow you to plug in the size of your property and your location and they will generate a list of property management companies in your area.
Before wasting time interviewing a property manager, you should check out the company’s reviews on sites like https://www.yelp.com/about or even Facebook. It’s not a bad idea to check with the Better Business Bureau as well to see what kind of rating the company has and if any complaints have been filed against them.
In your research, you may come across some of the same companies that you got through referrals. This will allow you to learn more about the company and see additional reviews.
Check Out Their Current Work
Look at some of the property manager's current rental ads. Are they professional, compelling and free of discriminatory statements? Do they advertise in a variety of places, or are their ads limited to free sources like Craigslist or community bulletin boards?
Check out the actual properties they manage. Are the properties clean and well cared for?
You can get some great information by speaking to the tenants they currently manage. Because property management is about keeping you and your tenants happy, it is important to get the tenants opinion as well.
Do the tenants feel like their complaints are addressed? How long does it take for a repair or maintenance issue to be fixed? Is the building clean? Is the building quiet? Does the tenant plan on signing a new lease? Why or why not? These questions will help you decide if the current tenants are happy with management’s performance.
You should also ask the management company for an example of the monthly report you would receive.
Interview Several Property Managers
The fourth tip is to interview several prospective property managers. Just as you will interview and screen several tenants before you rent out your property, you will want to interview several property managers/management companies so you can compare them to find the one you are most comfortable trusting your property with
Interviewing several prospective managers will allow you to separate the good from the bad. You will be able to tell those with real knowledge and a proven plan, from those without. A property manager who has placed 10 tenants in the last two months and is currently evicting five of them, either has the worst luck in the world or, more likely, does not know how to properly screen tenants.
Is the candidate receptive to your questions or are they dismissive? If they aren’t putting their best foot forward during the interview, things will most likely get worse if you allow them to manage your property.
You should ask questions about their education and experience, services provided, fees charged and if they have an understanding of landlord-tenant law.
Check Their License and Certification
Most states require that a property manager/management company have a real estate broker’s license or a property management license in order to show vacant apartments. You should check with your state's Real Estate Commission to see if their brokerage license is active.
You will also want to know if the company or manager has been certified with a trade organization such as the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), National Apartment Association (NAA), National Association of Residential Property Managers(NARPM) and the Community Associations Institute (CAI). These organizations offer certification after completion of a tough training program. If the property manager is willing to spend the time and money to go through continuing education courses, it can tell you that they are committed to their job.
Of course, you should also trust your instincts. Just because a property manager has paid money to take a class doesn’t mean they are putting into practice what they were taught. A property manager who doesn’t have the money for expensive classes may have more passion for managing your property. Therefore, you will need to look at the whole picture before selecting a property manager.
Examine Their Management Agreement
The management agreement should clearly define the responsibilities of the property manager and that of the property owner.
Are the same terms you discussed during the interview included in the contract? Pay close attention to the sections on services provided, extra fees charged, responsibilities of the owner, compliance with fair housing laws, hold harmless clause and reasons for cancellation.