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. Through some handy pointers, it should be easier to make that choice.
Without a doubt, word of mouth is still your best route to a good property manager. Ask real estate agents and other local property owners for a list of property managers they have hired before or are still working with now. Make sure to ask what it is about the company that they like or not. Referrals are biased at times, but if the same things are said about a property manager by different sources, then they must be true. You can also read online reviews, but stick to independent and reputable consumer protection websites, where you are likely to find authentic and credible testimonies from real consumers.
Checking Their Present Work
Take a look at some of your prospect’s current rental ads. Are they professional and effective? Do they invest in various advertising channels or are they limited to free ones such as Craigslist or community bulletin boards? Can they show you a sample report that you should receive on a monthly basis? Of course, since good property management means happy tenants, you should spend time talking to the tenants as well.
Interviewing Different Property Managers
Interview several property managers before you hire one, if only to see who will be the best for you. Do they listen to your questions and give satisfying answers, or do you feel dismissed? If you’re hardly impressed during the interview, think twice before hiring the company.
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. You will know whether your prospect’s brokerage license is active by checking with the Real Estate Commission. Also inquire if they are certified with a trade organization like the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) and the National Apartment Association (NAA). Certification is not everything, but it is something that shows the company’s level of commitment to the industry.
Examining the Management Agreement
Finally, make sure the management agreement clearly defines their responsibilities as well as yours. Needless to say, the contract should be consistent with the terms you have agreed upon during previous meetings. Pay attention to every single detail, especially on compliance with fair housing laws, extra charges, services provided, hold harmless clause and the cancellation clause.