It isn’t easy to own property, especially when the property you own is so far from where you live. Rental properties require constant care, from filling vacancies to making repairs, but many long-distance property owners don’t have the time or resources to make frequent visits to their buildings and land.
Enter: the property manager, the humble servant who oversees your properties to ensure satisfaction in landlord and tenant alike. Unfortunately, not all property managers are equal, and without proper examination, you might end up with the wrong one. Instead of hoping you choose the right manager for the job, you can ensure you hire a trustworthy, skilled manager by asking these questions.
How Many Years of Experience Do They Have?
Property management is not an entry-level field. Generally, property managers begin work in other positions within the real estate industry, so your candidate should have at least a decade or so under their belts. You might also inquire after their time in their current position. Stability is a crucial quality in a property manager. The best candidates are those you will be able to find easily for years to come.
Do They Own Rental Property Themselves?
Many people feel most comfortable hiring a manager who understands the trials and tribulations of renting property. You want a manager who won’t hesitate to give your properties the attention they need. Experienced property managers can use their own knowledge and relationships with the community to keep your property in top shape.
How Many Properties Do They Currently Manage?
One manager can only handle so much. Though you hope your properties aren’t going to require much service, in case a problem does arise, you want your property manager to be ready and able to address it. Most experts assume a single property manager can competently handle about 30 units, so if you interview a candidate who is already overseeing 10 properties each with five units, you probably don’t want to hand over the keys to yours. Instead work with a company like Brookhill Properties, which has the capacity to manage many properties.
Do They Employ Other Staff Who Will Supervise Your Property?
Though some small-time property managers work alone, the best usually employ a small staff. You want to make sure that you speak directly with the person who is going to look after your property to ensure you trust the whole company ― not just the person in charge of the business. Additionally, knowing the number of employees helps you understand each person’s workload; a staff of five can easily handle the above 50 units, whereas a single manager cannot.
How Large Is Their Service Area?
On one hand, having a property manager with excellent knowledge of the local area is a major boon. A local expert is better equipped at solving unique problems and has established connections with pertinent authorities.
On the other hand, in a few years’ time, you might expand your property portfolio to other neighborhoods. You should decide before you interview whether you would rather consult with several niche managers or a single business with a wide reach.
What Are Their Inspection Schedules?
Properties need constant TLC; you don’t want your property manager only showing up when things go wrong. Thus, you should only consider candidates who have a strict inspection schedule that targets crucial points around your properties. Even better, you should try to find a candidate who will accept a schedule you create.
How Do They Handle Property Showings?
Filling vacancies is one of the most labor-intensive parts of a property manager’s job. While a unit remains unleased, a manger might be working six days a week to find tenants. Your manager should always be available to tour the property with prospective renters, as handing out keys compromises property security and endangers your investment.
What Is Their Preferred Software?
The number of available property/tenant management tools on the market is absolutely staggering. The important thing is that your potential managers provide proof that they use software to track efficiency and explain example output reports during the interview. Big data is the only way to know for certain that your properties are worth the investment, and you should only rely on quality software to provide that information.
Will They Support You in Court?
No one likes to think about going to court, but the truth is renting out property can be a dangerous legal game. Managers aren’t lawyers, but they certainly can save you from hot water. A trustworthy property manager will never put you in jeopardy of a lawsuit, but just as importantly, your chosen property manager should always be willing to support you in legal battles.