4 Types of Interview Questions for Property Managers
Get Their Answers Before Hiring
Part of finding a great property manager involves asking the right questions. Four important areas to focus on are their experience as a property manager, their education in property management, their knowledge of landlord-tenant legal issues and their results as a property manager. The prospective manager’s answers to these questions will help you determine their strengths and weakness and ultimately help you decide if they are the right fit for you and your rental property.
Interview Questions About Property Manager's Experience:
The first thing you will want to know is if the prospective manager has ever actually managed rental property before. This area of questioning is meant to give you an understanding of the property manager's background. From their answers, you will decide if their experience is the right fit for your needs as an investor. Some examples of questions to ask are:
- How long have you been in property management?
- Is this your full-time job?
- Do you work for yourself or for a property manager/management company?
- What types of properties have you managed?
- Have you had experience dealing with *insert the type of property you own*?- If you own a 10 unit building and the manager has only had experience with single families, they may be too inexperienced for your specific needs.
- How many properties are you currently managing?- You don’t want your property to get lost in the shuffle.
- Do you have the time and resources to successfully add my property(ies) to your workload?
- Have you ever been fired as a property manager?
Interview Questions About Education:
The next area of questioning involves a prospective manager's education. Questions about college degrees and higher education learning are important, but your focus here is to learn about their education as a property manager. You want to know if they have acquired the knowledge and training necessary to obtain the proper certification. Examples of questions to ask are:
- What is the highest level of education you have achieved?
- Do you have your real estate broker’s or property management license?– Most states require property managers to have a license so they can show apartments.
- Do you have any type of certification?- Trade organizations such as IREM, NAA, NARPM and CAI offer education and training courses and provide certification after completion.
- Have you taken any steps to continue your property management education?
Interview Questions About Knowledge of Landlord-Tenant Law:
A property manager with an extensive knowledge of landlord-tenant law is non-negotiable. Since they are representing you, any missteps on their part could result in lawsuits against you and your property. Examples of questions to ask the prospective manager include:
- Do you understand the city, state and federal laws for property management and dealing with tenants?
- Do you understand a landlord's responsibilities under landlord tenant law?
- Do you have knowledge of the federal fair housing laws?
- Do you know the steps to properly evict a tenant?
- What are the safety codes for my type of property(ies)?- How many smoke detectors are needed? Do they have to be hard wired? Do you need window guards on second-floor windows?
- Do you know the rules for collecting and storing security deposits?
- Do you know what to include in a pet policy and the list of dangerous dog breeds?
- Do you know the reasons you can terminate a lease?
Interview Questions About Filling Vacancies/Retaining Tenants:
These questions will give you an idea if the prospective manager is any good at their job. If the property manager has a high tenant turnover rate or a tough time filling vacancies, they are probably not the right person for the job. Examples of questions to ask include:
- How long does it take you to fill a vacancy?- If it takes them longer than a month, what are you paying them for?
- Are you available to show apartments seven days a week?- At what times?
- Where do you advertise to find tenants?
- What is the average length of tenancy?- If they get tenants to sign long leases and actually stay for the duration of the lease, this will cut down on costs to fill vacancies -- including advertising costs, apartment turnover costs, and lost rent.
- How many tenants have you evicted over the past year?- This can help you determine if they are properly screening tenants.
- What is your process for screening tenants?
- How do you set the right rent for the property?– How many comparable properties do they look at? How often do they adjust the rent?
- How do you collect rent each month?- Do they allow tenants to use direct deposit? Do they only accept money orders or certified checks? Is there a set day each month? Is there a grace period? Do they enforce late fees?