I can’t emphasis enough how important it is to choose the right property manager for your investment property. Not all property managers are created equal. There are property management divisions that is tagged on to a real estate business and then there are dedicated property managers. It’s over to you to do your homework and find out what works best for your situation.
You need to think about how many properties you have and where they are. Are they all in one town? Do you have 2 properties or 20? These questions are important because it will determine what property manager will best suit you.
If you have one property and it’s local to where you live and you’re handy, then a property manager may not be needed. But if you live out-of-town and have 3 properties and you don’t know a screw driver from a jack hammer then a property manager is the way to go.
As a property investor you need a property manager who not only collects the rent on time, but also is proactive. The property manager needs to not only collect the rent, but keep an eye on the maintenance of the property, look at ways to increase rental yield and keep you in the picture all at the same time.
So how do you find a property manager that is proactive, works for you and has your best interests at heart?
1. Ask around
Ask friends and family for referrals. Ideally ask those in a similar situation as your own. If you don’t have anyone you know that is a property investor similar to yourself, then ask your tax accountant, your Buyer’s Agent or other impartial people. Asking a real estate agent may not be the best option, as they will often recommend their own in-house services if they have them.
2. Be objective
Once you have found a few you would like to talk to, then you need to assess how they deal with you from day one. Did they answer the phone? Did they return messages promptly? Did they try to give you to another member of the team, or are they dealing with you directly? Would you be happy working with a group of people or do you want personal service only?
Do you like them as a person? Do they seem like they would be calm under pressure? Have you heard them interacting with other clients and tenants on the phone?
It is important to keep in mind that this person (or team) will be interacting with your tenants, are you happy they will be representing you and your needs?
Experience counts when it comes to property management. You want a property manager who has ‘seen it all before’, has heard all the excuses, and knows what to do. You do not want a new person handling your investments. On the other hand, just because they’ve been in the business for 15-years does not make them good property manager. Ask to speak with their other clients so you can get an idea of how experienced they really are.
4. Internal matters.
How does this property manager choose the ‘right’ tenant? What application forms do they use? How do they handle inspections? How do they handle maintenance calls?
Other things to consider while you are doing your homework: How do you know when it’s time to review the rents of your property? What is their process of informing you of expenses? Do you give them a limit that they can spend without consultation? How do you get paid? What software do they use? Do you have access at all times to what is going on with your property?
All these questions are important. You need to know how the operate internally, so you know how to access information when needed.
What is their fee structure? Are you comfortable with the fees? Do they work on a percentage or a flat rate? Do you feel you get value for money? Remember fees should NOT be the most important part of the decision. In fact it should be one of the factors that is lower down on the list. It is a consideration of course, but you do get what you pay for, and if you choose well your Property Manager well, they will help you MAKE money.
Once you have all this information then you are in a better position to make an informed choice. A property manager is a vital part of your property investing team, so choose wisely.
We are happy to speak with you about any and all of the above points, if you are curious about property management.