How to Choose a Property Manager
Hiring a property management company is a major decision and you have to do a little 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. With the help of some handy tips, choosing need not be difficult.
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 it a point to ask what they like and dislike about the company. Referrals are sometimes biased, but hearing the same things about a property manager over and over probably indicates that they’re 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 Out Their Current Work
Look at the current rental ads of your prospective property manager. Are they professional as well as effective? Do they invest in various advertising channels or are they limited to free ones such as Craigslist or community bulletin boards? 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 you’re not impressed during the interview, that’s not a good sign.
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. Verify with your state’s Real Estate Commission to know whether your prospect’s brokerage license is active. Inquire about any certifications they may have with trade organizations like the National Association of Residential Property Managers(NARPM) and the Community Associations Institute (CAI). Certification is not everything, but it is something that shows the company’s level of commitment to the industry.
Scrutinizing 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 should be consistent with the terms you have agreed upon during previous meetings. Pay attention to each line, especially around the sections on services provided, cancellation clause, hold harmless clause, extra charges and fair housing law compliance.