Top 9 Questions to Ask a Property Management Company

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

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Property Management on the Rise

for property managers.

Motivation

Whether we embrace it with open arms or resist it every step of the way, we live in an era of rapid technological advancement and lifestyle transformation. Whereas previous generations could rely on similar patterns of work and personal life for decades at a time, we are faced with the need to adapt to significant changes occurring every few years. This rapid pace of change places unprecedented importance on forecasting and preparation. For those of us interested in growing our careers or businesses it is now a requirement to stay ahead of the curve. This paper aims to describe patterns that are deemed significant to real estate property management in the next two decades.

Property Management: A Robust and Growing Industry

According to the latest U.S. Census data the real estate property management industry experienced an average growth rate of 7-8% at the beginning of this decade. The data portrays a substantial and robust industry with over 140,000 active firms generating nearly $36 billion in revenues. By virtually all expert accounts the industry is expected to continue to grow at an accelerated pace in the next two decades as the urban landscape of America undergoes a major transformation. The following four factors are considered amongst the most important demographic and economic forces behind this transformation:

1. The Baby Boomer Effect

2. The Generation Y Factor

3. Municipalities and the Planned Community Concept

4. The Local Living Movement

In this paper we discuss each of these factors and try to understand their main implications for property managers. At the end, we provide a series of conclusions and recommendations for further action.

1. The Baby-boomer Effect

Perhaps the most significant and most frequently discussed demographic topic of the past two decades has been that of the baby boomer generation nearing and entering the retirement age at an accelerating pace. This generation which has arguably had the loudest say in forming many contemporary trends, stands to have an even bigger influence given the degree of wealth amassed.

Who Are They? Numbering around seventy-six million, the American baby boomer was born between 1946 and 1964. A demographic that would be significant on account of its size alone, this group’s characteristics include a higher level of education than previous generations and assumptions of lifelong prosperity and entitlement developed during their childhood in the 1950s. Aided by modern medicine and a better diet and exercise regime, the baby boomer generation refuses to get ‘old’ and continues to push the traditional age envelop by partaking in an active home, travel and work lifestyle.

Money Flows. After decades of gainful employment, running businesses and investing the proceeds, the typical baby boomer is looking forward to a prosperous and indulgent retirement. Multiple factors are at play that could make this dream a reality for many. For starters, baby boomers happen to be closing in on their peak earning years and by virtue of their higher levels of education enjoy healthy annual incomes. As another factor, consider that most baby boomers purchased their homes when home prices were substantially lower (as compared to household income) allowing most to pay off their principal residence mortgages early on. Most boomers offspring are also finishing college and forming their own families, further reducing expenses. Add to this mix the fact that this generation is increasingly in line to receive inheritance windfalls from aging parents and you have the recipe for a significant and unprecedented degree of liquidity in the next 20 years. In fact it is estimated that 10 to 30 trillion dollars will be spent by baby boomers on a variety of small and large ticket discretionary items in the next two decades.

New Digs. As baby boomers retire and are faced with an empty nest, they generally tend to downsize and move from larger single family homes to town homes or condominiums. In addition, given the ample funds at their disposal and the added free time to travel, they are increasingly purchasing second homes and vacation properties. It is quite imaginable to predict that the real estate picture in the next decade will be very different from what we have grown accustomed to in the past 30 years i.e., one that has been focused on owning a large plot of land in suburbia with a single family home built upon it.

What it means to property managers. Both types of transitions i.e., the move to smaller homes (typically condominiums or townhome complexes) and the trend towards vacation home ownership (especially resort properties) are foreseen as major drivers of demand for property management services as both of these trends happen to be away from unmanaged to managed or planned communities.

Not A Landlord, Will Invest. Real estate is a cyclical market with corrections taking place on average every ten to fifteen years. However history shows that well selected and professionally managed, real estate is a secure and stable investment vehicle with solid income generation and capital preservation characteristics. Whether you chalk it up to human nature, common sense or both, as we retire, we tend to want more stability and security in our lives and this is especially true when it comes to our nest egg. We tend to move our investments away from growth oriented, higher volatility assets such as stocks to more stable ones such as bonds. Today, despite the availability of many innovative financial products, real estate investment for the most part requires individuals to become landlords or take part in limited partnerships. While this is certainly possible and practiced gainfully by many, it is not for everyone. This requirement inherently limits real estate’s exposure as a mainstream investment class. It is foreseen that in the next 25 years, real estate will become increasingly productized (from current 2-3% to above 50% securitization) and made available as an array of mainstream investment funds by major brand name investment firms.

What it means to property managers.This phenomenon will see the

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