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It takes a lot of unique talent and skills to be a quality, professional property manager. Finding these top notch property managers can be difficult and not everyone is cut out for it. The best property manager will always have certain traits including being organised, communicative, calm, pleasant and being transparent.
Obviously there’s more to being a successful property manager, but those who push themselves professionally towards these traits are the ones that will be able to keep your rental property efficiently maintained and your tenants happy.
So, how exactly do you find a quality, property manager?
Here is a list of questions to ask to help you separate the pros from the amateurs.
1) What are the types of services do they offer?
You want to make sure that you find a property management company that can manage, lease, market and sell your property. Also make sure that the management company can provide top-notch manintenance services including inspections and in-depth backgorund checks.
2) How many rental units do they manage?
This will help you understand their size. Too few rental units and they are either inexperienced or have lost clients due to poor service. Too many rental units and you will get lost in the shuffle resulting in poor service.
3) What experience does the property management company owner have in managing rentals?
Some company owners have never even managed a property. If the company owner has never managed a rental, what is the chance that he or she runs a company that can effectively help you with your investment property?
4) Do they embrace Technology?
You should ask your property manager if they use technology to manage properties. In today’s age, technology has become integrated into everything and property management is no exception.
Not only should you as the property owner expect this, but most of your tenants will as well since the largest group of renters today are part of the millennial generation. There are many routine interactions that take place every month between both the owner and the management company, and the tenant and the management company.
Use Kitt to start managing properties online. Many of these interactions can be conducted on a self-service basis through an online portal for expediency and efficiency. This means that you don't even need to get a property manager if you don't want to. You can use Kitt to self-manage your properties online, saving you both time and money.
5) Are they currently an active real estate investor in your market?
The company’s leadership should be investing in the real estate market themselves. Period. If they don’t invest in your market then they lack the understanding they need to help you excel.
6) Under what conditions can I cancel my management contract?
Be careful what you sign. Never get locked into a contract you can’t escape. Some companies will try to hold you captive with a contract and others will keep your business with great service. If a company is offering you an inescapable contract, it’s time to look elsewhere.
7) What are the management fees and/or pricing options when the property is being rented?
This question will help you understand your average monthly fee, if any. Some companies will offer a flat rate and others will offer a rate based on the rent amount.
Depending on what your financial goals are and what your weekly rent is, choosing the right type of fees can save you a lot of money. If you have a high end property for example, picking a property management company with a flat fee rate might be a more attractive option for you.
Let say your property is rented out at $600 per week. This would cost approx. $193.50 per month if it was commission based (with the average 7.5% fee). With a flat fee of $99 per month you would be saving The flat fee would save $1,134.00 per year.
However, make note that flat rate companies will get the same pay no matter what, so would they be motivated to get you a higher rent?
8) What hidden/miscellaneous fees could I be charged for the management of my property?
As the saying goes, if it is too good to be true, it probably is. Once you’ve signed, a company that seemed inexpensive may now charge you lots of extra fees. Some property management companies will charge you with almost anything including water bill fees and fees to change your properties light-bulbs! So remember to ask and find out all the possible cost that may go into hiring a management company.
9) Are there fees when the property is unoccupied?
This is a very important question to ask for two reasons. One, many companies will offer a “flat-rate” which sounds great until your property is empty- and they still continue to charge you. If a company is taking money with the property empty, how motivated do you think they are to fill the vacancy?
10) What steps do you take to market properties?
The property manager should be able to market properties through a variety of channels. If they are still just placing newspaper ads and hoping for the best then you should look else where.
11) What are your screening requirements for applicants?
If they don’t set a standard then how can they be sure this tenant will make rent? It should go without saying that a tenant needs to have enough income to pay the rent.
12) How long are your properties typically vacant?
The average vacancy time after a property is ready should be about 2-4 weeks. Any longer than this suggests the property manager is struggling to find tenants, any shorter than this suggests that your asking rent amount is too low and you might be leaving money on the table. Either of these scenarios is bad for you and your rental property.
13) What control do I have over the tenant lease agreement?
Your property manager should give you some input into the lease agreement if there are one or two issues that are important to you. Make sure your prospective property manager is confident in the leases that they have written for tenants by asking this question.
14) How often will I get updates on my portfolio?
Just like payment statements, you should be able to get updates on your portfolio as often as you need them. Your properties are your business and to not offer updates as often as you want would be the equivalent of telling your property manager that they can’t check their email for a week.
15) Where are you located and what geographic area do you cover?
This will help you answer two important questions. One, do they understand the area with your rental property? Two, is their office close enough to your property to allow for ease and convenience for property showings, tenants paying rent, and vendors servicing your property.
SUMMARY: BLESSING OR A CURSE?
Hiring a property manager can be a double edged sword. On one hand, having the right property manager overseeing your rental property can be a huge blessing and give you peace of mind knowing that all of the common headaches and hassles of landlording are being handled by a competent professional.
On the other, hiring the wrong property manager can be a curse that results in a nightmare you just can’t seem to wake up from. Don’t let this happen to you. Take your time when researching companies and, armed with these questions, be confident that you’ve partnered with the right company to help you achieve your rental financial goals.
If you want to play it safe and like to handle things in your own hands, being a self-managing, private landlord may even be more effective than using a property management company. But becoming an effective self-managing landlord is difficult and requires a lot of time, energy and knowledge. This is where Kitt comes in. Kitt simplifies portfolio management so that anyone with an internet connection can become their own property manager.
Kitt is a platform for self-managing landlords and investors.
Covering EVERYTHING from communication, rent checking, bookkeeping, online documentation as well as property finances and more. Have full control using Kitt to help manage your properties through technology.
Purchasing rental property is a great way to build equity and diversify your portfolio. If you find yourself having to choose between investing your time by self-managing, or your money by using a property manager, come and check out what Kitt’s all about.