Hiring a property manager is a huge decision that needs some research. On top of the variety of factors that should be considered, there are a lot of property managers you can pick from as well. Through some handy pointers, it should be easier to make that choice.
Asking for Referrals
Most certainly, there is nothing better than word of mouth when it comes to finding the right property manager for you. Ask real estate agents and other local property owners for a list of property managers they have hired before or are still working with now. Be sure to ask what they think are the strong points and the weak points of the company. Referrals can be biased, but if you hear the same things about a property manager from different sources, they’re most probably true. Online reviews are also helpful as long as you read them from independent and reputable consumer watchdog websites, where reviews are more likely to be credible and authentic.
Checking Out Their Current Work
Look at the current rental ads of your prospective property manager. Are they professional as well as effective? Do they use a variety of advertising channels or just free ones, like community bulletin boards or sites like Craigslist? Can they give a sample report of their monthly reports? And as good property management also means happy tenants, you should go out of your way to talk to the tenants too.
Interviewing Different Property Managers
It’s always wise to interview different property managers before hiring one, if only to compare them and see who’s best. Do they listen to your questions and give satisfying answers, or do you feel dismissed? If you’re not impressed during the interview, that’s not a good sign.
Licensing and Certification
In most states, property managers need a real estate broker’s license or a property management license. You will know whether your prospect’s brokerage license is active by checking with the Real Estate Commission. Inquire about any certifications they may have with trade organizations like the National Association of Residential Property Managers(NARPM) and the Community Associations Institute (CAI). Certification won’t make them right for you, but it shows that they are committed to their business.
Reviewing the Management Agreement
Lastly, make sure the property manager’s responsibilities as well as your responsibilities are clearly expressed in the management agreement. Needless to say, the contract should be consistent with the terms you have agreed upon during previous meetings. Pay attention to the details, especially on services, extra fees, compliance with fair housing laws, reasons for cancellation and the hold harmless clause.