In addition to the 6 tips and comparisons below, if you’re looking for a manager in a specific area, try this approach:
- Search Craigslist and determine who either links to a nicely built website or has a clean post. Not necessarily the one with the most flare, but an information post.
- Contact the property manager directly.
- Interview them over the phone. Ask the following questions:
- Will you be the actual property manager? (sometimes they have secretaries and other officers do the work for $15 an hour (why would they care about your property.))
- How many properties do you manage (more is not necessarily better. Anything between 10-50 properties will mean that this manager has enough time to devote to your property. Hundreds will very likely mean you will find your property in the hands of a secretary.
- For how many years have you managed properties?
- Do you own rental properties yourself? (someone who is a landlord themselves will know what being a landlord is like).
- How do you determine fair market rent? (MLS comparables, Craigslist comparables, and the principal of substitution are important.)
- Do you have a vendor list of vendors that you trust to give me competitive pricing?
- What hours do you work? Do you work weekends and nights? (Properties will very often need to be shown outside of business hours).
- How do you screen tenants? (Credit check with a triple reporting agency, reference checks, previous rental history (not current), and unlawful detainers).
- Have you ever had to deal with an eviction and why?
- Is it better to rent for less to someone with better credit to rent for money money to someone with a lower credit score but a higher security deposit? (The answer should always be rent to someone for a slightly lower rent. A higher rent is what you will want to hear, but the truth is having the most qualified tenant for the highest possible price is what is extremely important.)
Property Management Daily published a great article discussing 6 secrets to property management. Hereare the 6 reasons and how the 6 reasons compare to the services we provide at The Experienced Realtors through our Ventura Property Management Services.
1. Customer Service
[. . .] you need a property management that is prompt, courteous, and eager to help prospective tenants through the rental process.
Expect to use a property manager who returns your calls and emails in a timely manner. There is no reason why you should be left wondering and uninformed. No matter how “in-the-loop” you would like to be, you deserve to be informed at the level you wish to be.
Here is an example of very little involvement because our services cover everything: Some of our clients live out of state and all they want to see is their rental income deposited into their bank accounts. Whenever a tenant’s lease has ended, we have fixed up the property and re-rented the property to a qualified tenant (it is very easy to rent to an unqualified tenant, but we go the extra mile to ensure that we only rent to extremely qualified tenants). Then, we would call the owner and let them know, “Your previous tenant’s lease expired and they moved out. We find a qualified tenant, fixed the unit up with some of the reserves, and signed a one year lease agreement.” “Thanks, bye” (was the response)
2. Quick Turn Around (Quick Re-rental)
Letting your building sit dormant is like flushing money down the toilet. Keep your space rented, and have new tenants lined up before the old ones are out.
Being proactive is a good sign from a property management company, and I’m not talking about the acne-clearing cream.
At The Experienced Realtors, we always get the job done. We do not charge our clients during periods of vacancy (other companies do) and stand to make no profit unless we are doing our job and ensuring that our client’s property is rented. We promise you that our family business will have your property rented in a timely manner. Given our availability to show property and quick response times, we tend to rent properties quicker than at the speed owners could rent the property themselves. And besides, how much do you value your own time?
3. Key Holding, Mortgage, Taxes, Bills, Licensing, Legal
Necessities to keep the rental property operating legally include key holding, insurance, property tax, levies, building permits or licensing, and bank account management. Bluntly put, one of things you are paying a property management company for is to take care of the busy work.
You don’t want to be mired in the dry details. One of the reasons you started purchasing additional properties is so you could start building equity while you are out on the scene, swingin’ and groovin’ (you hang out at a lot of ’60s retro joints in this scenario).
Our services cover everything related to the property including the following:
- Make Mortgage Payments
- Pay Property Taxes
- Pay the Utilities (Those offered to tenants as included in the rent)
- Pay HOA dues
- Rent Units Quickly
- Thoroughly qualify tenants by running credit and researching job and rental history
- Assist Owners with a Strong Vendor List (Accumulated over 28 years of business in Ventura)
- Monthly and Yearly Accounting Statements (mailed to the owners: simply hand it to your tax accountant)
- Quick Response Times
- Available to show property at all hours of the day
- Excellent Phone Customer Service
- Manage Repairs
- Assess and Collect Late Fees
4. Repairs and Maintenance
Ideally, your property management company will have their own repair and maintenance staff. This way, if something goes wrong, and something always goes wrong, you will have people working for you who you can call to get the job done quickly.
You don’t want to be in a position with your tenants in which they are waiting for a repair and your hands are tied because the plumber or electrician you hire might get to it this week. Having an in-house company assures repairs will go smoothly.
We have an incredible list of vendors that we have been collecting since 1984. We trust that the service companies we select are competitively priced and get the job done correctly in a timely and efficient manner. Of course, being landlords ourselves we know what it is like to be a landlord. We will not frivolously send service contractors to do work that could be remedied at a cheaper cost. We never want to make our client’s feel like they are being ripped off.
5. Who’s the Boss? You Are.
Great property managers will never lose sight of the fact that, at the end of the day, they are servicing the property owner. You, as the property owner, should never feel like an employee being forced to pay the boss for the privilege of working there.
This statement is completely accurate. We treat our client’s like family members and we treat their properties as if they were our own properties.
6. “Don’t Expect too Much”
[Here is where Property Management Daily and I Differ]
Don’t get an over-inflated sense of entitlement and expect too much from your property management company. Property managers aren’t making a lot of money and retiring in Monte Carlo from running your properties, and the little you can do assisting them getting your place rented out will help tremendously.
We enjoy making our client’s feel like we are doing “too much” for them. We always strive to under-promise and over-deliver. In today’s competitive real estate market and being a small family business, we make sure we treat our clients like royalty.
Have not invested in the real estate market yet? Well Stand Out, Buy a House! And educate yourself about the real estate cycle and realize that now is the time to buy. Property Management Daily thinks you should as well:
You may want to consider getting into the market now, too, because prices are low and interest rates are still far below where they used to be.
Other Notable Articles:
- How long do you need to wait after a short sale or foreclosure to buy?
- The Real Estate Cycle
- [Video] Buy vs Rent Comparison
- Reasons to Buy a House