Hiring a property management company is a major decision and you have to do a little research Not only are there so many factors to take into account, but there are also several property managers you can select from. Through some handy pointers, it should be easier to make that choice.
Most certainly, there is nothing better than word of mouth when it comes to finding the right property manager for you. Speak to real estate professionals and other property owners in your location and ask which property management companies they have used before or are using now. 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.
Looking at Their Current Work
Look at the current rental ads of your prospective property manager. 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, since good property management means happy tenants, you should spend time talking to the tenants as well.
Interviewing Different Property Managers
It’s always wise to interview different property managers before hiring one, if only to compare them and see who’s best. 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
In most states, property managers need a real estate broker’s license or a property management license. You will know whether your prospect’s brokerage license is active by checking with the Real Estate Commission. 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 may not be everything, but it sure shows how committed a company is to the industry.
Examining the Management Agreement
Lastly, make sure the property manager’s responsibilities as well as your responsibilities are clearly expressed in the management agreement. Needless to say, all provisions in the contract should be consistent with your previous discussions. Pay attention to every single detail, especially on compliance with fair housing laws, extra charges, services provided, hold harmless clause and the cancellation clause.