If you are in the position of needing to hire someone to look after a portfolio of rental properties or maybe you’re a board member of a homeowners’ association, you probably have a few questions about property management companies. Keeping this in mind, we put together a list of questions to ask a prospective property manager, so that you can make the best possible choice.
What Do Property Managers Do?
If you aren’t clear on exactly what property management companies do, this is the first question you need to ask. Generally, a property manager oversees the daily operations of a property or collection of properties. Property owners, or in many cases homeowners’ associations, hire property management companies when they are unable to manage the properties on their own.
On the other hand, many property managers are hired by investors who don’t live near their property or don’t want the hassle of dealing with tenant issues. This is typically the case for institutional real estate investors.
What Kind of Services Do You Offer?
A property manager may handle everything from coordinating building maintenance to resolving tenant complaints to showing and leasing units to collecting rent and keeping in touch with the owner regarding the property’s condition.
Essentially, a property manager is in charge of resolving issues quickly and maintaining the property in a professional manner.
How Many Properties Do You Manage?
When looking for someone to take care of your property, it helps to know how many properties that company manages because they may already have more clients than they can handle. You should also inquire about the size of their staff and their maintenance crew. This kind of information will help you decide if they can give your properties adequate attention.
Furthermore, you should also find out if they prepared to deal with your specific property obligations. Managing a smaller property is much different from taking care of a larger complex or a condo association because laws vary according to the number of units in a complex. Escrow accounts, for example, must be handled differently for a larger complex than for a duplex.
How Will Repairs and Maintenance Be Handled?
According to the size of your property, your upkeep may be performed by contractors, an in-house crew, or possibly even the manager themselves. Knowing who will be responsible for the work is crucial to keeping accurate records of who did the work and when. If your complex is sizable, it might require licensed contractors to do most of the work. For this reason, you may need to get permits and do inspections. A knowledgeable property manager would have a clear understanding of when this is necessary.
How Do You Communicate with Your Properties?
You want to feel comfortable with how communications between you and the property manager will occur. For instance, who should you contact in an emergency? You want to have a means of contacting your property manager whenever it’s important. For this reason, you could ask how other clients have communicated in the past.
While a software solution may work perfectly for most kinds of communication, phone calls or texts may be more effective for more immediate needs. The bottom line is that both parties should be in full agreement about the best ways to get in touch with each other.
Could You Show Me Your References?
If a property management company has been around long enough, they should be able to furnish more than enough references. In addition to clients, references can come from contractors, real estate agents, attorneys, or anyone with whom the company has an established relationship. An experienced property manager shouldn’t have a problem with supplying references before entering into a new agreement.
You can always check out testimonials of current or previous clients to get a more complete picture of how they treat their people.
Choosing the right property manager can be tricky. By asking these questions and collecting the right information, however, you will be in a much better position to make the decision that best suits the needs of your property.