What makes a good property manager?
It can be hard to relinquish partial control of your investment property, especially if it is your first time. Using a property management company shouldn’t have to be scary, though. It is a good way of maintaining return on your investment without having to deal with the everyday hassles and headaches of the property. You just have to find the right fit for you, and remember that ultimately you as the property owner will always have the final say. Here are some tips on what to look for in a good property manager, to ensure you and your property are in good hands:
Location - It may sound obvious, but you need to make sure you hire a local company to manage your property/properties. Whether you live in town or out of town is irrelevant; your property manager should live in the same area as your rentals. This is mostly important in case of an emergency, but it is also important because you want someone handling your property that is familiar with the neighborhood and the market of your investment.
Reputation - Do some research, ask questions. Does this company have a good reputation within the community? Have you seen proof of results/success? Are they knowledgeable in the industry? Are they professional? Do they seem organized? Looking at reviews online will give you a brief idea of whether or not people have had a pleasant experience working with a certain company, but not all companies will have customer/client reviews. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and shop around and compare. A lot of companies will have you sign a year-long contract, so it is especially important to be sure you select the right one. It is always worth asking if they offer a trial period for you to test their services before committing to a long-term deal.
Communication - Communication with your property manager is essential. There must always be a smooth two-way road of communication to insure there are no misunderstandings or conflicts. Having a hard to reach property manager can not only be frustrating, but it can take its toll on the quality of service you’re receiving - timeliness and clarity are direct results of continuous contact.
Personal - When it comes to property management companies, bigger isn’t always better. You want to be able to have easy access to your contacts at the company, people you have met in person and who you know are familiar with your situation. You do not want to be just a number, you need to have the peace of mind of knowing you are working with someone you trust.
Trust - Trustworthiness is one of the most important qualities to look for in a property manager. However, it is one of the most difficult things to be sure about. It may take some time to develop a trusting relationship with your property management company, but the potential has to be there from the beginning. Be wary of things that seem a bit shady to you - hard to reach manager, informal/unprofessional, late, etc.
Competitive - When it comes to the terms of your contract or agreement, pricing is usually what most people look at first. It doesn’t make sense to pay significantly higher rates for just slightly better service. The company you choose should have competitive rates within the industry. Be careful of hidden fees and added expenses, which can significantly and sneakily add to your monthly bill.