Are you looking for apartment management companies to help take a load off your shoulders? Being a landlord is tough enough as it is, but if you’re also taking care of everything yourself, you’re adding more stress to yourself than you need to.
For those on the hunt, I have good news and bad news. The good news is there are a lot of great, reputable companies out there that will gladly manage your apartments for yo.
The bad news is that it can be difficult to select the right one for you. There are a number of factors to consider, from cost and the services provided to experience.
Here are a few tips to help you find the best company for you.
Comparing Apples to Apples with Apartment Management Companies
The first thing to keep in mind is to make sure you’re not comparing apples to oranges. Because there are so many complexities in this industry, this is an easy trap to fall into if you don’t pay close attention to the contracts and proposals.
For example, one company pay offer a much lower management fee than their main competitor, but you’ll likely make up that cost somewhere else. Maybe their leasing fees are higher. Or it could be they’re new to your market and still getting a feel for the area.
While you probably won’t be able to line up everything, just weigh the pros and cons as you examine each company’s strengths and weaknesses.
For Apartment Management Companies, Experience is Everything
Let’s face it- this isn’t the most innovative industry in the world. So while it’s nice to see a few young faces on a team of property managers, the main thing you should look for is experience.
- Experience and knowledge of your local area, including its laws
- An extensive background of managing apartments- not detached single-family homes
- A history with their company, so they understand its culture and won’t leave
- The ability to build rapport and relationships with tenants (because they’ve done it hundreds of times)
This does not mean you want someone who doesn’t use their brain. When a new type of situation comes up, such as an emergency in the complex, you want someone who is flexible enough to deal with it well.
But in general, you’re looking for a team that knows the business like the back of their hand!
Great Apartment Management Companies Aren’t Cheap
Obviously cost is an important factor of doing business. A property manager only charging $50 per unit may appear to save you a lot of money over that one charging $150/unit.
But there’s a reason why that second company can charge higher prices. It may be difficult to see at first, but that premium is likely justified somehow. Maybe it’s their more extensive experience, or ability to retain tenants longer than the industry average.
Even though it will hurt your pocketbook a little more in the beginning, it’s probably worth it in the long run to avoid a “budget” property manager.
Visit their Properties
You probably already know this, but it’s still worth saying. If you really want to know how an apartment management company operates, visit a complex they’re already managing. Try to get a tour, and see how well the company takes care of you as a potential tenant.
You can also ask for references to speak with existing tenants. Hopefully these tenants will be honest with you and can help you make your decision.
The last place to look is online. Most of the big companies out there will have reviews online. Even if there aren’t very many, every little bit helps. These reviews may also help reinforce (or contrast with) the observations you had while visiting the property.
Just keep in mind that unhappy tenants/customers are more likely to write a review than someone who was satisfied with the service.
Digging through the local apartment management companies isn’t fun, but a little due diligence goes a long way. Good luck!