How to Choose a Property Manager
Hiring a property manager is a huge decision that needs some research. On top of the variety of factors that should be considered, there are a lot of property managers you can pick from as well. With a few handy tips, choosing can be easier.
Most certainly, there is nothing better than word of mouth when it comes to finding the right property manager for you. Talk to other property owners and real estate agents in your area and ask which property managers they’re using or have used before. Make sure to ask what it is about the company that they like or not. Referrals are sometimes biased, but hearing the same things about a property manager over and over probably indicates that they’re true. Online reviews are also helpful as long as you read them from independent and reputable consumer watchdog websites, where reviews are more likely to be credible and authentic.
Checking Their Present Work
Check out some of your prospect’s running rental ads. Are they professional as well as effective? Do they use a variety of advertising channels or just free ones, like community bulletin boards or sites like Craigslist? Can they give a sample report of their monthly reports? Of course, because good property management involves keeping your tenants happy, you should talk to the tenants too.
Interviewing Several Companies
Interview several property managers before you hire one, if only to see who will be the best for you. Do they look interested when you ask questions, and do they take time to provide satisfying answers? If you’re not impressed during the interview, that’s not a good sign.
Licensing and Certification
Usually, property management companies need a real estate broker’s license or a property management license to be able to operate legally. The Real Estate Commission is where you can verify if your prospect’s brokerage license is valid. You’d also like to know if they are certified with any industry association such as the Community Associations Institute and the National Apartment Association. Certification is not everything, but it is something that shows the company’s level of commitment to the industry.
Reviewing the Management Agreement
Finally, make sure that all responsibilities of the property manager and all your responsibilities as the property owner are clearly indicated in the management agreement. Needless to say, the contract should be consistent with the terms you have agreed upon during previous meetings. Pay attention to each line, especially around the sections on services provided, cancellation clause, hold harmless clause, extra charges and fair housing law compliance.