Attention landlords and property investors.
Not all property managers are created equal. As with every industry, when it comes to rental management, you have the good –and the bad, as well as everything in between.
But for landlords who are contemplating bringing in some outside help, the last thing you’d want to do is entrust your valuable asset to just anyone. Instead, you’ll want to ensure that the property management team that you hire is experienced, reputable, professional, and above all –able to help you manage your rental in a way that will help you to get the highest returns on your investment.
Sounds too good to be true? It’s not. Excellent property managers are out there –you just have to find them. The good news is that vetting property management companies isn’t hard, and it doesn’t have to be time-consuming either. As long as you know what to look for, you’ll be well on your way toward finding a fully qualified team that will be able to help you manage –and maximize your investment with as much care, and attention to detail as you provide yourself.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at five of the most important things that you should look for when searching for a property management team. See how you can find a property manager that’s a great fit for you.
Exceptional Customer Service
The first thing that you’ll want to look for when vetting property management companies is outstanding customer service. While it may seem trite, the fact is that how a company treats their customers can give you a great idea about the type of people that you’re dealing with, and let’s face it: you wouldn’t want is to end up with a company that you find difficult to work with. After all, one important key to a good working relationship is ensuring that both parties get along.
You’ll be able to get a pretty good idea about a company’s level of customer service simply by picking up the phone and giving them a call. Are the reception staff polite and friendly? Is the property management professional that you speak to happy to answer your questions? Do they listen –really listen, to what you’re saying? How the team treats you as a prospective customer will most likely be how they treat you down the road, and you’ll want to ensure that you find a company that you will enjoy working with both now, and into the future –one that you can count on to take your concerns seriously, and keep you updated on important happenings with your rental property.
Project Management Expertise
Next, make sure you find a company that’s experienced. Entrusting your rental to a novice property manager is a risky move and one that’s just not worth making –no matter how low their rates may be. Not only is an inexperienced property manager more likely to overlook important details, they could even inadvertently make inappropriate decisions on your behalf, which could have serious implications –especially from a legal standpoint. In many cases, you –the property owner; would be held responsible for these actions.
When vetting property management companies, a key indicator of experience is a business that has standard operating procedures in place. A legitimate company will have solid protocols that they have developed over time. Look for a company that’s created airtight policies that they uphold consistently. Make sure you check their website to see if they detail any specific procedures and policies –paying special attention to systems that are designed to protect you as a landlord. What’s their policy for screening tenants? Do they have a system for collecting past-due rent? What about emergencies –do they have a contingency plan in place for almost any scenario that you can think of? A legitimate company will not only have these policies in place, but they will also be more than happy to share them with you.
Value-Added Real Estate Services
The very best property management companies won’t just deal with tenant placement and try to collect the rent on time. Exceptional property managers will also offer additional services that will help to add value to your investment.
When screening property management companies, look for one that specializes in solutions that will help to enhance the value of your property. These value-enhancing services include things like providing regular inspections of the rental, insurance programs, and performing routine maintenance. Asking prospective companies about any services that they offer to help enhance the value of your income property will give you some great insight into whether they’re a good fit for you and your investment.
A Profitable Property Management Plan
Before you hire a property manager, you’ll want to ensure that doing so is a financially viable plan. There’s no point in enlisting outside services if it’s not going to help your investment to be more profitable.
Before you bring on a property manager, ask them if they can provide you with a detailed contract, outlining their property management plan for your rental. Have a look at it to ensure that hiring them will be not only cost effective –but also a profitable move. You’ll also want to ask them about their vacancy rates –and how they keep them low. Finally, while renting often makes more sense than selling, especially in a down market, you’ll also want to run the numbers yourself, or use a calculator to see whether it’s more financially viable for you to rent or to sell your property.
Finally, arguably the most important trait that you’ll want to have in a property management team is reliability. You need to be able to depend on them to provide great service, as well as to rise to the occasion, should something happen at the property. What happens if you’re out of town, or if there’s an after-hours emergency at the rental?
Finding a team that has a proven track record of rental property management, has an after hours line and is responsive when you call it, as well as great reviews from satisfied customers indicates that they’re reliable –and a company that you can confidently entrust your rental property to.
At Renters Warehouse, we’ve seen our share of damaged –and mismanaged properties. Many of our clients come to us out of frustration –looking for help in managing their properties –and getting them back on track.
This is one of the reasons that we’re passionate about stressing the importance of finding a qualified team –not a company that’s interested in making a profit at your expense, but a team that’s on your side, interested in a long-term working relationship with you; and committed to the long-term viability of your rental investment.
Remember: finding a property manager isn’t just about enlisting someone to take over the work for you. Instead, it’s about finding someone who will help you to maximize your rental’s performance, allowing you to get the most out of your income property. After all, you’re in the rental business to turn a profit –so don’t sell yourself short, or incur unnecessary risk by hiring an inexperienced or unqualified property manager who could end up costing you significantly in the long run.
Instead, look for an experienced and reputable property manager who will be able to help you to get the best returns possible. If you find a team that exhibits the above five property management traits, hang onto them –it’s almost certain that you’ve found yourself a winner.
If you’re curious about property management services for your rental, don’t hesitate to reach out to Renters Warehouse –and speak to one of our Rent Estate™ professionals today.
Written by: Kevin Ortner