You’ll probably have your preferred screening procedures in place before you begin your search for the perfect tenant. You need to be just as thorough when choosing a property manager to supervise the tenants. You will want to get someone with nice referrals, strong management contract and great experience.
Check out these 6 strategies that can be employed to find the perfect property management company for your property.
Get enough referrals
Getting referrals from people you trust is one of the most efficient ways to find a great property manager. Talk to some landlord property owners and real estate agents that know rental property, that are around you. Make a list of all the property management companies or property managers they’ve used in the past.
- What do they like about those property managers?
- Have they encountered any problem with the management company?
Remember there is always a risk that you might get biased referrals, which is why it makes sense to compare referrals from multiple sources.
If there’s a consensus about a property manager whether good or bad, odds are they’re probably telling the truth.
Carry out an independent search online for property managers
Though referrals are a great way to source for property managers, it is also important to do your own due diligence. You can search for property management companies online. Here in Philadelphia, for example, the better property managers all are connected to websites that allow landlords to upload the size of their rental property, and its location which is then used to generate information on all the property management companies in that area.
You can also check review sites like Google, Facebook or Yelp for the best property management company reviews. If you want to check the company’s ratings and whether or not there are any complaints against them, you can visit the Better Business Bureau for such information.
You’ll probably come across some of the property management companies on your referral list, this gives you the perfect opportunity to see additional reviews and learn more about those companies.
Inspect their current work
You can visit the source on your own rather than simply relying on online opinions or word of mouth. Check out the current rental ads handled by the property manager.
- Are there any discriminatory statements attributed to them? How compelling and professional are they?
- Do they diversify their ads or do they limit them to free ad sources like community bulletin boards or Craigslist?
Visit the properties managed by the property managers.
- Do the properties appear well cared for?
Speak to some of the tenants. Questions like this will let you know if the tenants are okay with the performance of the management.
- Are the tenants satisfied with the way their complaints are addressed?
- How long before maintenance or repair issues are handled?
- Is the property clean?
- Is the property quiet?
- Is the tenant intending to sign a new lease? If not why not?
These are some of the questions you need to ask to determine if the tenants are satisfied with the performance of the management.
Interview different property managers
There’s really nothing stopping you from interviewing several property managers. You don’t have to choose the first manager you come across. The same way you screen and interview your tenants before renting to them, is the same way you’ll interview prospective property managers in other to compare and see the one most suitable for you.
By interviewing different prospective managers, you’ll be able to know those with actual knowledge and separate them from the unqualified ones. From their response and track record, you can easily recognize those who’re good at screening tenants.
You can ask them questions about their experience and educational qualifications, fees charged, services provided and whether or not they understand the landlord-tenant law. How receptive is the candidate to your questions? If they’re not very straight-forward during the interview they’re not likely to get better when they start managing your property.
Inspect their certification and license
Property managers/management companies are required to have a property management license or real estate broker’s license before they can show apartments. Check your local real estate commission to confirm if they have an active brokerage license.
You should also find out if the manager or company is certified with any of the following trade organizations:
- Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM)
- National Apartment Association (NAA)
- National Association of Residential Property Managers(NARPM)
- Community Associations Institute (CAI).
These organizations issue certifications when you complete their intense training programs. Any property manager that is willing to dedicate time and resources to continuing education courses is probably very committed to the job.
Don’t forget to trust your instincts. The fact that a property manager has registered for class does not necessarily mean they’re practicing what they learn. A property manager may not have the funds to take expensive courses but may have a passion for property management. This is why you need to look at the full picture before you choose your property manager.
Check out their management agreement
The responsibilities of the property owner and property manager should be clearly stated in the property management agreement. Pay special attention to the sections that describe the responsibilities of the owner, extra fees, compliance with all the necessary fair housing laws, harmless clauses, reasons for cancellation and services provided.
Are the terms discussed in the interview part of the contract? You can also ask them to furnish you with a sample of the monthly report expected.