Almost every landlord’s most-asked question is: do I need a property manager? This question may arise when you are considering hiring out your first property or as your portfolio grows and you are finding it harder to manage all your properties on your own.
According to statistics, most landlords prefer delegating their duties to property managers. However, there are factors to consider before settling on one. If you are wondering how to hire a property manager, use the following five tips to help you find the best property manager in your area:
1. List Down All Your Expectations and Ask Many Questions
Create a list of what you expect from your prospective rental company. This will make it easier for you when you’re conducting interviews. During the interview, ask as many questions as possible to avoid any future unwelcome surprises.
Below are some of the most important questions to ask a prospective rental management company:
- How do you market, advertise, and find tenants to fill a rental vacancy
- Do you expect me to pay for rental management if my property is vacant
- What methods do you use to screen any new tenants
- How do you decide the fair market rental rate
- What’s the average time you take to fill a vacant property
- Will I be involved in the selection process of tenants
- What method do you use to handle delinquent rents
- How do you handle tenant emergencies and maintenance requests
- Do you handle evictions if needed
Finding the best tenants is the key to succeeding as a landlord. One of the main benefits of a property manager is that they will help you screen and find the best individuals to rent your property.
However, ensure that the property manager you choose has the means to guarantee your property is filled. The way they determine the market rental rate will make or break your investment.
Setting the rent too high means your property may remain vacant for more extended periods. While setting it too low means you may not maximize your profits.
2. Check Their Tenant Retention Rate and Property Marketing
Property management’s primary goal is to attract the right tenants and retain them. This is the most outstanding service your future management firm should provide. Ensure you examine their marketing process and what they do to retain tenants.
Before hiring a company, inquire about where they advertise and market their vacant properties. The more exposure a property has, the faster it can get tenants. However, if the agency is marketing the property on the wrong platform, you may not get your money’s worth.
Make sure that the company uses both online and offline advertising channels for maximum exposure. The best way to do this is by trying to find the adverts on your own. Go through their website and examine how they have placed their adverts; have they optimized their content for maximum impact?
The website will also help you uncover other things about the property manager. Some of these include their current vacancy rate, how fast they serve potential tenants, and how they conduct home showings.
The best tenant retention strategy incorporates quick responses, giving ample notice for any rent increments, and providing the appropriate financial incentives. A tenant is like a customer; if their needs are not met, they may prefer renting elsewhere. Thus, ensure that your property manager has the right program in place to facilitate tenant retention.
3. Property Inspections
Rental properties are an investment to landlords. Thus, you will want to make sure your property is well protected. When hiring a property manager, you are giving them the responsibility to be your eyes and ears.
Ensure you ask about their property inspection scheduling. Most people don’t know the magnitude of damage a bad tenant can cause in just a few months. Some management companies assume that as long as the tenant is paying rent on time, there is no need for an inspection, and the house is intact.
Don’t assume anything. Regular inspections can help you catch any problems early and avoid future expensive repairs. It also discourages undesired tenant behavior.
Below are some of the questions you should ask the property management company about inspections:
Do You Perform Move-in Inspections?
Most managers conduct tenant-completed inspections for single-family units and apartments. Make sure you settle for a company that performs detailed inspections of your property and includes digital photos and videos in their reports.
The tenant should also be present throughout the inspection process and sign off on the report. Documentation is essential to help you resolve any disputes that may arise over the kind of damage the tenant caused during their stay.
How Often Do You Perform Inside Inspections, and Are the Tenants Informed About It Beforehand?
It’s recommended that a property manager conduct annual inspections. During the inspection, the manager should look at tools such as the HVAC unit, locks, electronic devices, electrical wiring, and plumbing for any issues.
Remember that the tenant must be given notice of any inspectors 24-48 hours before it happens, depending on your state laws. Don’t settle for a company that conducts surprise inspections, as this could open you up for lawsuits.
Don’t hire a company that only performs inspections between vacancies. Some tenants may rent your property for years, and without inspection, you may not know the extent of damage they may have caused until they vacate the property.
How Often Do You Inspect the Exterior of the Building?
The property manager should conduct exterior inspections as frequently as possible. The manager should conduct checks at least every quarterly. Unfortunately, most inspectors do a drive-through review, which may be acceptable but could cost you dearly.
Conducting a more close-up inspection could help you see issues that you would otherwise miss during a drive-through. A full-scale exterior inspection is a must to maintain the property and protect its aesthetic character.
How Often Will You Be Sending Me Building Inspection Reports?
Remember to ask for a sample copy of the property inspection reports they send to other landlords. This will help you know the kind of inspections they perform and what they look for. Building inspections are essential for guaranteeing that the premises are ideal for living.
4. Property Maintenance and Repairs
Property maintenance will help you preserve and increase the value of your rentals. This is one of the primary roles of property management companies.
The manager should handle any repair requests from the tenants as soon as possible. They should also notify you about the repairs and give you an honest report of how your money is spent.
Qualified property managers will accomplish all these with help from a well-vetted, talented, and licensed network of professionals, as well as their internal employees. When vetting the right property manager, ensure you ask the below questions:
- How do you manage and track residents’ maintenance and repair requests and work orders
- How are emergencies and after-hours repair or maintenance requests handled
- Do you have a system in place to practice preventative maintenance
- What type of contractors do you work with
- Do you have an in-house maintenance crew
- Are there any vendors you share a common interest with
Ensure you choose a management company with a well-defined process of handling and tracking tenants’ maintenance requests. This way, your tenants will not be frustrated by submitting multiple requests before the problem is dealt with.
5. Ask for References
When vetting companies to work with, it’s your job to ask for references. Request a list of current and past landlords the company has worked with and their contact information. Don’t be scared to call the landlords and inquire about their experience with the specific management company.
When talking to the landlord, ask them the below questions:
- How frequently was the property manager communicating with you about the state of your property
- Would you recommend someone to work with agent X
- How often did they conduct property inspections
- Did they do everything to ensure tenant comfort
Asking the above questions will help you better understand the property manager and the services they offer. You don’t want an incompetent property manager to handle your properties. This could lead to the loss of tenants, which translates to a loss of income for you.
Check out this top rated property management company for professional property management in Phoenix.
Now You Know How to Hire a Property Manager
An excellent property manager is a valuable asset for any landlord. Most people are not interested in the day-to-day processes of managing a property. Landlord responsibilities are tasking, stressful, and time-consuming.
Are you wondering how to hire a property manager? Follow the above five tips to help you know what to look for before hiring a property manager.
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