Hiring a property management company is a major decision and you have to do a little research Aside from the various factors that must be considered, there are also many property managers you can pick from. With the help of some handy tips, choosing need not be difficult.
Most certainly, there is nothing better than word of mouth when it comes to finding the right property manager for you. 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. 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 and 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
Interview several property managers before you hire one, if only to see who will be the best for you. Do they hear you out with your questions and give satisfying answers, or are they dismissive? If you’re hardly impressed during the interview, think twice before hiring the company.
Licensing and Certification
In most states, a real estate broker’s license or a property management license is required before a property manager can 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 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, the contract must be totally consistent with all the terms discussed in 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.