Hiring a property manager is a huge decision that needs some research. Not only are there so many factors to take into account, but there are also several property managers you can select from. With a few handy tips, choosing can be easier.
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 biased at times, but if the same things are said about a property manager by different sources, then they must be true. Also useful are online reviews, provided they are features on independent consumer websites, which feature authentic and credible testimonials.
Looking at Their Current Work
Take a look at some of your prospect’s current rental ads. Are they professional as well as effective? Do they place ads in many different places or are they confined to community bulletin boards, websites like Craiglist and other free channels? Can they give a sample report of their monthly reports? Of course, because good property management involves keeping your tenants happy, you should talk to the tenants too.
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 look interested when you ask questions, and do they take time to provide satisfying answers? If they weren’t impressive during the interview, you probably shouldn’t take it further.
Licensing and Certification
In most states, property managers need a real estate broker’s license or a property management license. Verify with your state’s Real Estate Commission to know whether your prospect’s brokerage license is active. 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 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 the details, especially on services, extra fees, compliance with fair housing laws, reasons for cancellation and the hold harmless clause.