Property Management Fees Explained

When you hire a property management company to serve as the liaison between yourself and your tenants, you want to be sure you’re getting the best possible property management services for the money. The services a property management company provides can range from ala carte to an all-in-one inclusive package. Along with that comes an array of fees for each. There is no set in stone fee structure we can provide you. But we can educate you on what common fees to expect and what each is commonly for. In the end it will be up to you to compare company fee structures and choose the best one that fits within your budget. Below are some of the most common fees and what service they provide.

Commission

This is an ongoing monthly fee charged to the owner to compensate the property manager for the responsibilities of overseeing the management of their property. This fee can vary from as little as 3% to over 15% of the monthly gross rent. In place of a percentage some managers may charge a flat monthly amount which again can vary from $50 to over $200 per month. All property management companies generally charge this fee.

Lease-Up or Setup Fee

This fee is charged to the owner to compensate the property manager for their initial time invested and resources used in setting up an owners account; showing property and/or other activities resulting in tenant placement. I guess you could look at it as a “finders fee” for placing a tenant in your property. Once a tenant has been placed and first rent income comes in, the property manager will deduct this fee from the rent proceeds. Some property managers have been known to require this fee upfront prior to tenant procurement. Usually this fee is non-refundable once the property manager has started the process of tenant procurement or any legwork has been initiated with the property. This fee can vary from none to as much as the first months rent, and usually is a one-time fee per tenant.

Lease Renewal Fee

This fee is charged to the owner when a property manager renews a current tenants lease and covers the costs of initiating paperwork or communication involved in implementing the new lease document. A property manager may also justify this fee if they perform a year end inspection of property. This fee can vary from none to $200 or higher, and may be charged every time a lease renewal is implemented.

Advertising Costs

Depending upon the property management company’s contract, either they will pay the advertising costs or the owner or they could split the costs. If the manager is willing to cover this cost, most likely they will charge the lease-up or setup fee as outline above. If the management company covers this cost make sure to find out what type advertising or marketing of your property is included. If it’s placing your listing on their own web site and other free online classified sites you may not be getting your monies worth. They are many good rental or tenant resource online web sites that bring in qualified tenants for a reasonable fee and you will want to consider these. And don’t forget about print media, yard signs, listing on the MLS or even an open house. Nothing is worst than having your property vacant, bringing in no money only because you or your property manager skimped on advertising.

Maintenance Mark-up Charges

This is one of those costs you may never really of known about or had it disclosed to you. A “Mark-up” is a charge over and beyond the final bill on maintenance and/or repair work done to your property initiated by your property management company when using their vendors or in-house maintenance staff. This should be disclosed in your Manager/Owner contract which usually will state the markup as a percentage above the final invoice from vendor. For example, your manager had to call a plumber to replace the dishwasher in your rental property. Total charges for completing the job: $400. If your property manager contract states you will incur a 10% markup on all maintenance work the actual cost to you will be $440. Just one of those things to be aware of as these all eat into your profits.

Early Cancellation Fee

The dreaded “3 months and no tenant”. Your property manager insist he or she’s doing everything they can to find you a tenant. But here it is 3 months and still no tenant; what do you do. Well, look at your Manager/Owner contract and that might be your deciding factor. I am not a fan of this fee, and believe it to be an unnecessary fee and for you manager out there this could be the deal breaker. I’ll tell you why; if a property manager is doing their due diligence and keeping the owners in the loop as far as decision making, market conditions and communication lines open an owner will not be second guessing his property managers abilities. The odds of this scenario happening is unlikely but you must be prepared for it. A cancellation fee can range from none to over $500. To be fair, some managers legitimately deserve this fee especially if they have pocketed advertising costs, incurred lots of legwork and time invested in your property.

“You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me” Fees – These are ones I have personally had the pleasure of running into.

Your property is vacant, but we still will charge our monthly commission or a small flat fee.
“A For-Rent Yard Sign Fee”. I believe this was $25/mo.
“Preventive Maintenance Fee”. This was to cover the “just in case” and changing out A/C filters. If “just in case” never happens they still pocket the money. I believe this was $20/mo and I still was charged for filters.
In Summary

Read your Manager/Owner contract, understand what you are signing, ask lots of questions and know what the fees will buy you in services. A good real estate lawyer can help in negotiating the terms in a contract that suit both parties. These contracts are not set in stone. If your property manager will not negotiate, there are other property management companies that are eager to earn your business.

Karen McDaniel

Principal

Property Management Profile LLC dba pmvnetwork.com

PMVnetwork offers the most up-to-date listing of full-service property management companies and property service pros nationwide. We have become a wealth of information and resource for the first-time landlord as well as the seasoned investors.

For any property management company or home repair professionals that is looking to gain national exposure by capturing the attention of out-of-state investors or be found by local clientele, [http://www.PMVnetwork.com/property-management-leads] is the place to showcase their business model and expertise to these prospective clients. We offer an opportunity for all property management companies and home repair service professionals to list their company on our website, whether you specialize in residential, commercial, vacation or community association management. We accept small to corporate size management co

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Apartment Property Management

Apartment property management is considered the managing of a multi-unit rental property and the residents or tenants that occupy it. These properties can range from small multi-unit buildings to very large complexes housing hundred of residents. Residential property management is a more industry used term and could include the managing of single-family homes as well as apartment complexes.

As you can imagine the managing of these types of properties can become quite complex and time consuming in comparison to managing a single-family house. Many owners of apartment buildings do not have the time, expertise or the desire to manage such on their own. In these cases, it is recommended to hire a qualified property management company that specializes in apartment property management.

Responsibilities of an Apartment Property Manager

Here are just a few apartment property management responsibilities that could be required of anyone managing an apartment building:

Rent collection
Showing available units to prospective tenants
Credit and background checks
Initiating lease contracts
Monitoring and processing lease renewals
Enforcing the rules of a lease contract
Dealing with violators of a lease contract
Handling an eviction from start to finish
Mediator when feuds between tenants occur
Utilities
Grounds keeping
Security and safety of premise
All types of maintenance issues or repairs you could think of
Knowledge of landlord/tenant law
Knowledge of fair housing laws
Not ready to manage your Apartment Buildings Yourself

The good news is you can enjoy all the financial benefits of owning these types of properties but not have to deal with the managerial responsibilities of managing them. Some apartment building investors though may decide to take on certain responsibilities themselves. This is a great way to educate yourself, learn from real life experience the in’s and out’s of the real estate investing business and of course save some money. That being said, we highly recommend acquiring legal advice or counsel if you are unfamiliar with landlord/tenant and fair housing laws in your state and at the federal level.

Hiring an Apartment Property Management company

There are many management companies in your area who are well-qualified, licensed, and well versed in city, state and federal laws regarding the responsibilities between landlord and tenant. If you’re ready to delegate the management of your apartment building today, we recommend interviewing several management companies. Having an apartment property manager on site at your apartment complexes is a good idea, especially when you cannot oversee the maintenance and renting business that comes with owning larger properties. Often, on-site apartment property managers that maintain apartments will be given their own apartment as part of their compensation.

Things to ask before hiring an apartment property management company

Experience – How long in business. Does the Management team have a proven system in place to streamline operations such as maintenance repair, timely statements, rental deposits, and communication channels? More companies are giving owners access to their property account information via a web site portal. Here you can view your statements, any repair items or rent deposits..etc.

Credentials – Does the Apartment Property Management team possess all licenses or certification required by state law? Unfortunately every state licensing requirement is different. We always recommend using a licensed Property Manager for all your rental property needs whether state required or not.

What percentage of their management portfolio are apartment complexes. If 90% of their portfolio is managing single-family homes, you may want to consider hiring one with more experience in managing larger multi-units.

Get references – Always ask for a current list of properties they manage (do some drive-by’s) and talk to other property owners who are their clients.

We suggest hiring a local real estate lawyer to review the Manager/Owner contract and the Landlord/Tenant contract. And don’t be afraid to request changes be made if necessary.

And go over all the fees involved in the management of your property. Set up fees, lease renewal fees, do they impose a mark up fee for service/repair calls etc. Find out what their cancellation policy is too. Once you think you’ve got all your questions answer, then ask this one “Are there any other fees I should know about that we have not discuss that may affect me?”

Investing in apartments for cash flow

Investing in apartment buildings is a great way to build your real estate wealth. Typically these types of properties do well for cash flow to the investor versus single-family houses where you may see appreciation in value more common. When qualifying these types of properties for your portfolio you will want to take into account the passive income that will be generated along with the expense ratio. It’s all about the numbers. A good apartment property management company should be able to help you in your decision-making.

Karen McDaniel

Principal

Property Management Profile LLC dba pmvnetwork.com

PMVnetwork offers the most up-to-date listing of full-service property management companies and property service pros nationwide. We have become a wealth of information and resource for the first-time landlord as well as the seasoned investors.

For any property management company or home repair professionals that is looking to gain national exposure by capturing the attention of out-of-state investors or be found by local clientele, [http://www.PMVnetwork.com/property-management-leads] is the place to showcase their business model and expertise to these prospective clients. We offer an opportunity for all property management companies and home repair service professionals to list their company on our website, whether you specialize in residential, commercial, vacation or community association management. We accept small to corporate size management compa

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