10 Tips For Selecting the Best Property Manager
10 Tips For Selecting the Best Property Manager
Owning rental property can be a pretty cool opportunity for savvy investors, but it also means taking on the landlord gig. Some folks love the challenge, but let’s be real, managing tenants isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re not up for it, no worries! You can always think about hiring a property manager to handle the nitty-gritty. A good one will keep your tenants happy, handle the cash flow like a pro, and make sure your property stays in top-notch condition. But beware, a bad property manager can really mess things up, wasting your time and money. They might bungle inspections, let rent go unpaid, and tank your retention rates.
So, how do you find the right manager for your properties? No worries, we got you covered with our top 10 tips to score the best property manager around. Keep reading and take the stress out of managing your rental business!
What is a Property Manager?
Before you make your choice, it’s essential to know what a property manager actually does. These guys can be either individuals or firms who handle the day-to-day rental stuff for a fee. Basically, they step in when the owner can’t or just doesn’t want to deal with landlord duties. Some of their responsibilities include:
- Targeted Marketing
- Applicant Screening
- Legal Leasing Documents
- Property Inspections
- Rent Collection
- Basic Accounting and Reports
- Maintenance Coordination
- Tenant Communications
- Fair Housing and Legal Compliance
10 Tips for Selecting the Best Property Manager
Getting the right property manager on board can really elevate your investment game. But let’s face it, rental management is no walk in the park. Dealing with legal stuff, communicating with tenants, and safeguarding your property takes serious effort. The rental industry is booming, and with that, property management firms are cropping up left and right. But hold up, not all of them are top-notch. To discover the perfect fit for your needs, take a look at these tips on finding the best property manager below. Happy hunting!
- Do Your Research
- Stick with Local Expertise
- Prioritize Organization and Technology
- Interview Multiple Candidates
- Test Candidates with Very Specific Questions
- Get Referrals from Other Investors
- Review Local Ads
- Look for a Proven Track Record
- Only Entertain Licensed Property Managers
- Personal Impressions Matter
Do Your Research to Select the Best Property Manager
Thanks to modern technology, owners seeking professional property management now have a wealth of information at their fingertips. The easiest way to kick off your search is with a simple Google query. It will help you filter through the options and zero in on the property management companies that might suit your needs. Once you’ve got your shortlist, dive into each company’s website for these crucial pieces of information:
- List of Services (tenant screening, rent collection, etc.)
- Management Fees, Fee Schedule, and any Ala Carte Services/Fees
- Staff and Leadership Information
- Special Features for Owners and Tenants
- Contact Information
- Client Testimonials
- Tenant Reviews
Stick with Local Expertise
When it comes to nailing property management, having a solid grasp of the local market is crucial. But we’re not just talking about checking out the competition and setting prices. The top-notch property managers boast proven local experience, which includes:
- Applicable Laws and Licensing Requirements – In every jurisdiction, there are specific laws that oversee rental properties. These might cover things like rental licensing, inspections, or lead certification, among other requirements.
- Market Demographics –To efficiently fill vacancies, it’s essential to know your tenant pool inside out. Are you in an area popular among students, or is it more likely to attract families? Understanding the demographics of potential tenants allows managers to target their marketing efforts strategically, ensuring maximum exposure for the property.
- Vendor Relationships – In the world of rentals, repairs and maintenance are inevitable at some point. That’s why it’s crucial to team up with a property manager who has solid vendor relationships in place. This ensures that your property gets the attention it needs promptly, without any unnecessary delays.
Prioritize Organization and Technology
Being a property manager means handling a ton of communication and record-keeping. That’s why it’s crucial to pick a property manager who’s equipped with the right processes and technology to handle the administrative demands smoothly. The best ones are super organized, efficient, and prefer using electronic or “paperless” systems. It’s not just about being tech-savvy, but also about ensuring security and accuracy. So, owners can breathe easy when they find a company that stays up-to-date with technology. It’s a massive plus!
Interview Multiple Candidates
Aside from reviewing their website, asking some questions is equally important. When searching for the best property manager, gathering as much information as possible is the key. After all, you want to find a property manager you feel comfortable entrusting your business with. Take the initiative to reach out to the companies you consider as potential contenders and ask them the following questions:
- How long have you been in business?
- Will the company allow you to review key documents such as the Property Management Agreement and lease?
- How many employees does the company have?
- What is or is not included in the monthly management fee?
- Is the management fee based on rent collected or rent due?
- How many properties does each manager typically oversee at a time?
- What are the standard applicant requirements and basic screening process?
- How do you perform property inspections?
- What are your practices for returning security deposits?
- Do you have an online portal for tenants and owners?
- Do I receive monthly and annual financial statements?
Asking these questions to a few different candidates will give you a better sense of who would be the ideal property manager for you. Keep an eye on how responsive they are to your inquiries during this process. If they don’t prioritize your questions as a prospective client, chances are their service might not be the best if you become their client. Responsiveness is a good indicator of how they value their customers, so pay attention to it while making your decision.
Test Candidates with Very Specific Questions
The perfect property manager is someone with the right balance of flexibility and experience to handle a wide array of property issues. To evaluate candidates, ask them specific questions that gauge their skill set. Some talking points to consider may include:
- The process for after-hours emergencies
- Marketing strategies to limit vacancy
- How they would deal with sudden or severe property damage
- What would happen if a tenant needs to be evicted
Get Referrals from Other Investors
The best property managers are often those referred by friends and colleagues. Don’t hesitate to ask anyone you know in the real estate or property management industry if they can recommend a good fit for you. Word of mouth remains a powerful way to find a quality management company. If a property management company has a bad reputation, chances are it will spread among industry professionals.
In addition to seeking referrals, it’s essential to do your homework. Check with your state’s Real Estate Commission and the Better Business Bureau to ensure that the prospective property manager is licensed and has no complaints against them. This way, you can make a well-informed decision and find a reliable manager for your property.
Review Local Ads
A lot of local property managers rely on local advertisements to promote their vacancies. To find sample rental ads, you can explore newspapers, online classifieds, and websites like Craigslist. Reputable companies usually have a website that lists their available properties, which offers an excellent chance to assess the quality of their rental ads.
The top-notch rental ads are featured on various platforms to get maximum exposure and often include:
- A Dynamic Unit Description – The perfect unit descriptions strike a balance between accurate representation and captivating details that catch the reader’s eye. Be cautious of any descriptions with grammatical errors or excessive exaggeration that seems unrealistic, as these could be red flags to watch out for.
- Professional Quality Photos –In the world of property listings, pictures are worth a thousand words. As prospective tenants scroll through various listings, grabbing their attention becomes crucial. High-quality pictures have the power to entice viewers to click on the listing and spark their curiosity to learn more.
- The Option for Virtual Tours – Virtual tours have become increasingly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, but their benefits go way beyond just coping with lockdown restrictions. These tours offer applicants the opportunity to explore the property’s full potential from anywhere and at any time, all conveniently online. It’s a game-changer that allows for a seamless and flexible viewing experience.
Look for a Proven Track Record
Empty units can seriously dent owners’ profits and miss out on potential opportunities. To avoid this, seek a property management firm with a solid track record. While it’s essential to consider the average time it takes for a company to fill a unit, remember that speedy filling is only beneficial if the tenants are well-qualified and stable. To get a clearer picture, don’t hesitate to inquire about the company’s eviction rate in addition to their vacancy-filling speed. This will help you make a more informed decision about the reliability of their tenant selection process.
Only Entertain Licensed Property Managers
In the majority of states, property management companies are required to hold a real estate broker’s license or management license. Licensed property managers have completed an approved property management course and successfully passed a state licensing exam. This extra layer of knowledge equips them to assist owners in navigating their business needs more effectively. It’s a reassuring factor for owners to know they’re working with professionals who have met the necessary qualifications.
Personal Impressions Matter
In addition to experience and management approach, establishing a strong professional rapport is crucial for a successful partnership. Take the time to get to know potential managers on a personal level by asking about their lives, interests, and any other details that may influence how they approach their job. Since owners and managers work closely together, effective communication and collaboration are essential. If your communication styles don’t align, there’s a risk of not being on the same page when it comes to important matters. Building a good working relationship ensures smoother interactions and a more harmonious management experience.
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By doing our due diligence with our clients, tenants, and vendors we create a service that exceeds expectations and generates positive referrals. Click HERE to learn more and how one of our property management professionals can help you!
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