How To Find A Great Property Manager

If you’re a real estate owner, you understand that rental property can be a rewarding investment. People will always need a place to stay, which means that your services will always be in demand. And as you maintain and improve your property, you can get some appreciation as well.

You also know how difficult and time-consuming it can be. If you own a lot of units – or, for that matter, several properties in general – you are looking at spending a lot of time maintaining them. On top of that, you may also have a lot of tenants to take care of.

So it makes perfect sense for you to consider bringing in a property manager. But you don’t want to find just anyone – you need to find the one that is best for you. How do you do that? Here is a list of tips you can use to find and hire a property manager that is right for the job.

  • Look for a license. This may seem to be common sense, but there are some property owners who avoid this in the hopes of saving money, usually by bringing in someone to just cut the grass or function as a general handyman. You need someone who knows their trade inside and out – and a valid state license is proof that they have the knowledge you need.
  • Look for their previous work. If a property management firm is worth their salt, they will have examples of their work that they will want you to see. Ask them for the addresses of other properties that they manage. If they take great care of other homes and properties, then they will very likely take good care of yours.
  • Look at how they advertise unit vacancies. A good property manager is pro-active. You want someone who is willing to work to bring people to you if there are any open units. As you know, empty units won’t generate income – so it is important that your management firm will work to make sure that is not an issue.
  • Find out how they handle repairs. Things break – this is a fact of life. How you deal with it for your tenants is a big factor as far as how long they will stay and rent for you. You need a property manager who will be prompt and efficient in handling any issues, as well as keeping you in the loop.
  • Check into how often they file evictions. If they file a high number of evictions on properties they already manage, this is a sign that their tenant screening process may need work or their tenant relations. Make sure that they have a solid screening process in place – high tenant turnover is bad for business.  With tenant relations, find out how they communicate with tenants and how often.  We’ve discussed the importance of this before many times.
  • Ask about how they handle after-hours emergencies. This is a big point to consider – after all, you want a property manager who will take care of these matters when you’re not available. Look for a team that has a solid system for addressing tenant issues at any possible time of day. In fact, talk to the people whom they already manage for about it as well. If they can confidently rely on your prospect, then chances are you can too.
  • Inquire into the specifics of how they’ll handle you finances.  Finances are a big one and there is an easy way to identify companies that are on top of their responsibilities with trust funds.  Find out when they issue owner distributions and owner statements.  In general, companies that are on top of things will issue these around the 15th of the month.  Also, find out about owner reserves and don’t shy away from this, it can be a good thing and shows responsibility on their part.  Just remember, there is more to property management than the monthly commission you’re paying.  If you’re basing your decision on this alone, you’re in for a disaster.
  • Talk to current owner clients.  Lastly, most obviously, and probably most importantly, speak with their current owner clients.  See if you can find someone that uses their property management services and speak with them about their experiences.  You can always ask them if they have a client you could speak with if you can’t find someone yourself, but if possible, you may get the best info from someone you know or with whom you can trust.

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James Burton

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