Searching For A Great Property Manager? Follow These Tips!
When you have a vacancy at your property, you naturally have a screening process in place to find the right tenant. However, when it comes to finding a great property manager, many people fail to be thorough in their search process, and that is one mistake you definitely don’t want to make.
Whether it’s making sure they have the proper background in terms of experience, solid references, or the necessary licensing and certification, these and other factors play a big part in making sure the firm you select to manage your rental properties will be the best of the best. Therefore, if you’re in the market for a great manager for your property, here are some of the best tips we recommend you use during your search.
Seek Referrals from Various Sources
When we are on the hunt for that elusive perfect management firm for our properties, one of the first things we do is get referrals from as many different sources as possible. In our case, that means placing some calls to a few local real estate agents we trust, as well as fellow property owners in the area. By taking these steps, we can compile a list of those firms with which we might be interested in speaking with.
When we are in the process of getting these referrals, the areas we focus on most are any problems that have been associated with these companies, which can include building maintenance issues, tenant relations, and so forth. However, remember that even when a referral comes from someone you trust, it may still be biased. Therefore, do like us and always get several referrals before setting up any interviews.
Online Research and Reviews
While we always like talking with agents and property owners about various property management companies, we often find doing our own online research and reading online reviews is where you really find out the real story. For us, this usually starts with visiting such websites as www.allpropertymanagement.com and www.simplifyem.com/property-management, both of which allow us to enter the sizes and locations of our properties, which in turn generates a list of various property management companies in the Redding area.
Once we pick out a few candidates we like, it is on to Yelp, Facebook and a Google search, where we can check out the company’s reviews from tenants and others. And as anyone who uses social media knows all too well, it is here where you often have person after person giving their opinion on anything and everything associated with their building. Finally, we also make it a point to contact the Better Business Bureau which will let us find out if any formal complaints have been lodged against any of the property management companies.
Make an In-Person Visit
In our experiences over the years, we’ve found if you rely solely on online reviews and information, sooner or later you’re going to make a choice or two along the way you will come to regret. Because of this, we now always make an in-person visit to some of the properties a potential company is currently managing. While there, we look to see if the building looks clean and in good shape, and we also ask to speak to a few tenants. If this request is denied, we suggest you run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. Fortunately, most of our requests have been granted. When speaking with a tenant, we ask such things as if maintenance issues get fixed in a timely manner, if the building is generally quiet and calm, and if the tenant is planning on signing a new lease. If they are not, we ask them to explain their decision. Based on the answers you get to these questions, you’ll come away with a pretty good idea of how well the property is being managed.
Conduct Several Interviews
Even if you have one property management firm you believe will help your rental properties in your area become the very best in the area, still be willing to conduct interviews with several other companies. By doing so, this will keep you from falling in love with your first choice and offering them the job before you get a chance to speak with anyone else. Remember, as we discovered from time to time early on when we started obtaining properties, a firm you think is a perfect “10” sometimes turns out to be a less-than-perfect “2” once they’re on the job. To avoid this scenario, find out about their experience, their understanding of tenant-landlord law, their fees and the services they provide, and anything else you think is essential. Also, pay close attention to the answers you receive. If the company gives answers that are vague or don’t measure up to your expectations, it’s probably best to end this interview as fast as possible and bring on the next firm.
Licensing and Certification
Before we ever offer a property management position to a company, we always make sure they have the proper licensing and certification required by the state of California. To do this, we check with California’s Department of Real Estate. Since a company needs a Real Estate license to manage homes or apartments, we need to be sure their license is up-to-date and active. In addition to this, we always want to make sure any company we have managing our properties is certified through a reputable trade organization. Some of the most common and best-known organizations include the Institute of Real Estate Management, National Apartment Association, Community Associations Institute, and National Association of Residential Property Managers. Since it takes a large investment in time and money to complete the classes required for these certifications, we figure companies meeting these requirements are likely very professional in their approach to property management.
Review the Management Agreement
As in any type of business agreement, closely review all documents before signing on the dotted line for a new management company. In these cases, this means reviewing the management agreement, which defines the role of the property manager and the property owner. To avoid any misunderstandings and potential legal hassles, make sure it clearly spells out such things as services to be provided, fees, fair housing laws, hold harmless clause, and reasons for cancellation. When reviewing this document, make sure its terms match those discussed in the interview. If they don’t, get these details worked out before agreeing to and signing anything.
Trust Your Instincts
Perhaps more than anything else when conducting your search for a new property manager, trust your instincts. As you know, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Therefore, if you feel uncomfortable with a company or have questions about their qualifications you just can’t shake, don’t make the mistake of hiring them. Chances are, there were other companies that would be great at the job, so go back and take a second look if necessary. As we have learned through the years, owning and managing rental properties in Redding is an adventure full of surprises both good and challenging. However, by taking the time to select the best manager for your properties, the good far outweighs the bad day after day.
If you are in need of a Property Management form to look after your properties we would love to talk to you. Feel free to give us a call at 530-410-6085