Hiring a property management company is a major decision and you have to do a little research Not only are there so many factors to take into account, but there are also several property managers you can select from. With the help of some handy tips, choosing need not be difficult.
There is no doubt in the world that word of mouth is still the best way to find a good property manager. Speak to real estate professionals and other property owners in your location and ask which property management companies they have used before or are using now. Make sure to ask what it is about the company that they like or not. Referrals are sometimes biased, but hearing the same things about a property manager over and over probably indicates that they’re true. Also useful are online reviews, provided they are features on independent consumer websites, which feature authentic and credible testimonials.
Checking Out Their Current Work
Look at the current rental ads of your prospective property manager. Are they professional and effective? Do they use a variety of advertising channels or just free ones, like community bulletin boards or sites like Craigslist? Can they show you a sample report that you should receive on a monthly basis? Of course, since good property management means happy tenants, you should spend time talking to the tenants as well.
Interviewing Different Property Managers
It’s always wise to interview different property managers before hiring one, if only to compare them and see who’s best. Do they listen to your questions and give satisfying answers, or do you feel dismissed? If you’re hardly impressed during the interview, think twice before hiring the company.
Licensing and Certification
In most states, a real estate broker’s license or a property management license is required before a property manager can operate legally. Verify with your state’s Real Estate Commission to know whether your prospect’s brokerage license is active. Inquire about any certifications they may have with trade organizations like the National Association of Residential Property Managers(NARPM) and the Community Associations Institute (CAI). Certification is not everything, but it is something that shows the company’s level of commitment to the industry.
Examining the Management Agreement
Finally, make sure that all responsibilities of the property manager and all your responsibilities as the property owner are clearly indicated in the management agreement. Needless to say, the contract must be totally consistent with all the terms discussed in previous meetings. Pay attention to each line, especially around the sections on services provided, cancellation clause, hold harmless clause, extra charges and fair housing law compliance.