Now you have an investment property the next step is to find someone to take over its management. Do your research and list questions you want to ask when interviewing prospective property management companies. Short list a few companies that interest you.
Phone them to ask questions then, if you are still interested; make an appointment to visit in person. Visiting in person gives you an idea of how they conduct their business and you can meet the people who will represent your interests. Here are the top five questions to ask when you interview a property manager.
1. Does the Company have a Dedicated Management Arm?
You want to know whether the property management company offers a complete service or if it is just a side line for a real estate office. Who and how will your property be managed. How many staff are in the office? Who will deal with you and your tenants if staff leave or are sick?
2. Does the Company Owner/Director get Involved in the Business?
Most property management companies are divided in two – selling real estate and managing real estate. Usually the company director is involved with the sales side as it is the high profit area of the business and a property manager takes care of leasing. If the company director is involved with the property management arm of the business, you may find they take it more seriously than others.
3. How well do they know the Rental Business?
Check with the property manager how long they have personally been dealing with property management. Just because you are talking to a well known real estate company does not mean their staff have a lot of experience. It also does not mean they provide top quality customer service.
Some property managers start out working in a real estate office as the office person and work their way up. Some move into property management and the rest into sales. Other property managers have specifically chosen property management as their career.
4. How long has the Property Manager worked for the Company?
You want a property manager that is stable in their employment, and who takes looking after your interests seriously. There is a lot of stress involved in property management, with a high turnover of staff. In six months time, you want to be talking to the same person to build a business relationship that understands your needs and the property. This is a good reason to look for a property manager dedicated to it as a career.
5. What Area does the Company Service?
You are right to consider companies that have expert local knowledge but, if you intend buying more properties in the future, how far does their expertize reach?
You do have a choice – either hire a property management company in each geographic area or find one that covers a wider area to take on all your properties.
6. How do they Conduct Property Inspections?
This is really an important one – the last thing you want is for a property manager to just hand out your keys to prospective tenants. Too much can go wrong. You want to know that the property manager will give good customer service and personally take prospective tenants to inspect your property. Or, they may hold open houses at specific times. This gives them a chance to get to know a future tenant better.
7. How many Properties does the Company Manage?
You want to know how many properties the property manager manages personally. Some may have 200 or more. If they do, I wonder how they can give you and your tenants top customer service. Others may have only up to 150 but charge more for their service. This may be a better option to get peace of mind and, ultimately, make a good return on your investment property.
8. Does the Company’s Staff Work Six Days a Week?
You want a property management company that can show your properties when it is convenient for the tenant. After all, you want tenants that can pay the rent so that means that most will be at work during normal business hours; unless it is a commercial property for rent. In the world of internet advertising, enquiries come in 24 hours a day. This comes down to their availability and ability to deal with maintenance issues as well.
9. Does the Property Manager Check New Tenant’s Credentials?
It is important to ask how the property management company checks out the credentials of short listed prospects. You need to reassure yourself they check people’s credit and rental history, and their past and present employment.
All prospective tenants must be screened carefully. Does your property manager have adequate access to information for this purpose? Do they provide you with a written report that backs up their claims whe