When you are looking for a property manager to help you manage your investments, you want someone you can trust who is also an expert on everything in relation to maintaining healthy rentals. You have made the smart decision to obtain help with your properties, now make the smart decision to ask the right questions – and find the right company that can give you the best benefit overall.
So, what are these questions? Well, while there are many things you need to address, we’ve put together a list of the 8 most important.
1. How long have you been in business?
You want to know what their experience is like. If this company has not been in business very long, then they may be very good at what they do – they just won’t have a track record to show for it. A good indicator is if they have been in business for a long time, they likely know what they are doing. Still feel them out, ask around, do your due diligence.
2. How many rentals do you manage?
This should be a common question to which the company should be able to give a quick answer. You aren’t looking for a magic number, necessarily, but you will want to make sure the number of property rentals is a good ratio for the size of the company. For example, small companies should not be managing hundreds upon hundreds of properties. Likewise, larger companies should not be managing only 20. Make sense?
3. What is your vacancy rate like?
You want a number here. And, it should be very simple for the property manager to provide. Don’t settle for a vague answer – that either means they could be hiding something or don’t operate at the level of detailed expertise you are looking for.
Working with all sorts of metrics, the company should always be trying to lower this number. Get yourself acquainted with the average vacancy rate in your rental area so you have a good idea where this company stands.
4. What is your tenant screening procedure?
Tenants are going to have more contact with your investment than the property management team. So, you want to make sure they are trustworthy. With this question, you are looking for a detailed, in-depth screening process that is going to bring in good tenants and help you avoid the bad ones.
5. Tell me about the fair housing laws.
This is you testing the property manager. Are they well-versed in local, state, and federal housing laws? You don’t want to land yourself in hot water because of an illegal action by your property manager. Ask about the laws and which ones will apply to you – and make sure you are working with professionals.
6. Do you also invest in real estate?
Having a property manager that invests in real estate is not a necessary condition, but it could be a beneficial one. You are an investor. Wouldn’t it be helpful to have someone who knows both the investing and managing aspects of properties?
7. How will you keep me up-to-date about my properties?
A property manager should provide you a monthly update on your property. However, if you can find a great property manager that offers a portal that allows you access to know what is happening on each property - that’s even better.
8. What types of property do you manage?
Each type of property is handled in its own way. For instance, commercial property is going to be different than a single-family home. And, a multi-unit apartment building will be treated differently than both of these.
You want to make sure the property manager you hire is able to meet the needs of your property.
And, there you have it. Before you sign any contract or turn over your investments to a property management company, know the answers to these questions, and make sure they coincide with your needs.
Of course, if you are looking for property management in the Atlanta metro area, contact our office!
Marina Shlomov, a managing partner at ALH|Podland Rental Homes Property Management is the author of many articles on Landlording, Property Management, and Real Estate Investing. A residential builder in the state of Georgia since 1999, Marina is an investor herself. Her property management company is intended “For Investors” and “By Investors” for a simple reason – she knows what investors’ goals are and she works hard to reach their goals. In her spare time, Marina likes to spend time with her family, friends, garden, read and travel. Check her out atwww.alhpodland.com. You can find Marina’s articles and comments at @rentalhomesatl on Twitter, on Facebook, Google+, Blogger. and YouTube, Bigger Pockets and REI CLub and LinkedIn.