Managing a rental property is a demanding task. You have to know how to market your property, screen potential tenants, and carry out property repairs and maintenance among other things.
At the same time, you have to have a good understanding of the many laws that govern the tenant-landlord relationship. Without prior experience, this does not only take a huge chunk of your time but can also prove risky.
It’s because of these and many other reasons that make many property owners turn to property managers for help.
A property manager has the experience, training, skills, and resources when it comes to property management. That said, just like no two people are created equal, no two property managers are created the same.
As such, as the savvy property owner that you are, you want to be thorough when screening a potential property manager. Ideally, choose one with good referrals, strong experience, and solid management contract.
So, how do you choose the right one from the dozens of applicants you’ll receive? Since they’re working with property managers all the time, the Upkeep Media team suggests you start by asking some essential questions. Having some few good questions ready can help you make sure that you are choosing the right person for the job.
Remember, hiring someone else to manage your investment property is a huge decision and you want to make sure that you are making the right one.
Question #1: What services do you offer?
Ideally, look for a property manager that can handle a variety of management services. For example, look for one that can market your property, lease it, manage it, and even sell your property should you need to.
Moreover, ensure that the property manager that you hire can also administer in-depth background checks, conduct inspections, and provide top-notch and regular maintenance.
Question #2: How many rental units do you manage?
You want to hire a property manager or property management company that has the Goldilocks level of “just right.” If the property manager is managing too many rentals, you may get lost in the shuffle.
If he or she is managing too few rentals, then it could point to inexperience on the part of the property manager. It could also point to poor client retention as a result of poor service.
So, what number is “just right”? Look for a property management company handling no less than 200 units and no more than 600.
Question #3: What experience do you have?
Experience is key when it comes to property management. The last thing you want is to allow a property manager to use your property as a lab rat.
Look for a property manager that has experience managing other rental properties in your area. You could even go a step further and ask them for some referrals.
Question #4: How do you determine the rent amount?
The amount of rent you charge for your rentals can either make or break your rental business. Undercharging may mean receiving fewer profits, while overcharging may lead to a difficult time finding tenants.
So, choose a property manager that can determine the right rent amount. One that will ensure you earn as much income while ensuring you are competitive in the business.
Does the property know how to conduct a comparative market analysis for instance? Does he or she have the expertise and experience to factor in the unique aspects of your rental property?
Question #5: Are you a property investor yourself?
You want to work with someone or a company that has a first-hand feel of the rental business in your market and area. If the company’s leadership hasn’t invested in the real estate market themselves, then they lack the understanding to help you excel.
Question #6: Do you conduct property maintenance?
You want to hire someone or a company that will keep your property in top-notch condition at all times. Do they conduct preventative maintenance visits to the property?
What is their standard practice for dealing with maintenance issues? How long do they take to respond to tenants’ maintenance requests?
Question #7: How long do your properties typically stay vacant?
Look for a property manager who is able to find tenants reasonably quickly. 2-4 weeks is the average vacancy time for many properties.
A period that is longer than four weeks may suggest that the property manager is struggling to get renters. A period shorter than two weeks, on the other hand, may mean that the asking rent is low and you risk receiving less income.
Question #8: How much fees do you charge?
Different companies will usually charge different types of fees. Generally speaking, though, most typically charge a management fee of between 4 and 10% of the gross monthly income.
Make sure that the fee is based on the rent collected rather than the rent due. Essentially, this will mean that you’ll only pay when there is a tenant.
You also want to ask if there will be extra fees for services such as evictions, advertising, maintenance, and tenant placement.
Question #9: How do you collect rent from tenants?
Is the property manager still requiring tenants to bring checks to their office? If they are, then that is a red flag. It might have been okay in the 80s, but times have certainly changed.
Ideally, look for a property manager that offers a convenient solution like online payments. This is beneficial in two ways. One, it makes it difficult for tenants to miss making a payment.
And two, it quickens the rate at which you get paid.
Question #10: How do you market clients’ properties?
Is the property manager advertising clients’ properties via a variety of methods? Or are they still placing “For Rent” signs and hoping for the best?
An experienced property manager will use a variety of advertising methods. For example, rental listing sites, own website, newspaper ads, and incentivizing existing tenants.
It takes talent and a unique skill set to be a professional property manager. Luckily, with this information, you’ll be able to get the right person for the job.
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