Choosing the Right Property Management Company
Hiring a property management company is a major decision and you have to do a little research Aside from the various factors that must be considered, there are also many property managers you can pick 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. Ask real estate agents and other local property owners for a list of property managers they have hired before or are still working with now. Be sure to ask what they think are the strong points and the weak points of the company. Referrals are biased at times, but if the same things are said about a property manager by different sources, then they must be true. Also useful are online reviews, provided they are features on independent consumer websites, which feature authentic and credible testimonials.
Looking at Their Current Work
Take a look at some of your prospect’s current rental ads. Do they look professional and effective? Do they invest in various advertising channels or are they limited to free ones such as Craigslist or community bulletin boards? Can they provide you a copy of their reports which they should submit at the end of each month? 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 good to interview different property management companies before deciding to hire one, if only to find out who will actually be the best for you. Do they listen to your questions and give satisfying answers, or do you feel dismissed? If they weren’t impressive during the interview, you probably shouldn’t take it further.
Licensing and Certification
Usually, property management companies need a real estate broker’s license or a property management license to be able to operate legally. The Real Estate Commission is where you can verify if your prospect’s brokerage license is valid. 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.
Scrutinizing the Management Agreement
Finally, make sure the management agreement clearly defines their responsibilities as well as yours. Needless to say, all provisions in the contract should be consistent with your previous discussions. Pay attention to each line, especially around the sections on services provided, cancellation clause, hold harmless clause, extra charges and fair housing law compliance.