Whether you’re frustrated with your current property management company or looking for your first one, it’s important to get property service that you trust.
A good property management company is the ultimate luxury, allowing for peace of mind. A bad one can affect the value of your investments and ultimately your bank account.
So how do you identify who to trust?
Below we’ve outlined a few of the most important attributes that go into a dependable property management company and most importantly, a clear conscience.
Key Identifiers of A Good Property Management Company
1) Transparency and Reliable Communication.
Trust is the foundation on which the relationship between owner and property manager is built. Once the owner coordinates with the company on the property management duties and responsibilities, the owner relies on the company for almost all information regarding the property. If communication is lacking, the only way to know the status of the property is when the owner receives a notification that something went wrong. This usually comes in the form of fees and other expenses.
The best way to prevent this is Transparency. How can you tell if a company is transparent? Look to see if the information about the company is clear and accessible. A good place to start is a company’s website for their rates & fees. Trustworthy companies have simple rates with no hidden fees.
Some companies like to lay it all out on the table by offering free market analysis and management proposals. These services allow you to get in-depth information on the value of your property and ensure that you know what you’re signing up for and agreeing to.
Finally, if you have a question, you shouldn’t have to wait a week for an email response. A good property management team can be reached directly by phone or email. If you can’t find the contact information to get in direct contact with a person in the company, that’s a bad sign.
Murphy’s Law states if something can go wrong, it will. Protect yourself, so when something goes awry, you have a property manager that communicates with you effectively and is always just a phone call away.
2) Their Track Record
Every Property Management Company will sell themselves as the best around. Once you hear their pitch, you can do one of two things. You can hire them and risk them mishandling your property. Or, you can verify their claims and peruse the internet in search of owner testimonials backing up what they said. We highly recommend the latter.
If you’re lucky, the company will provide owner testimonials on their website, making your life just a little bit easier.
Check to see how large the list of testimonials is and read some of the comments. A page with just a couple of reviews may indicate the company hasn’t received many positive reviews or lacks the track record desirable for a dependable company.
In addition, also check tenant reviews because while the priority is to look out for the owners, happy tenants are a critical part of the equation. The last thing you want is a property management company that scares potential tenants away. It is important that the management company you choose establishes good a rapport with all people involved in its properties.
As Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” While the property manager’s most important job is to maximize the owner’s return on their investments, the best way to do that is to assure that everyone gets along.
3) Tech and Internet Savvy
Don’t worry if you aren’t technology or internet savvy. It is probably inconsequential for you to have knowledge of social media or the newest software. However, when looking for a property management company, this knowledge is a major plus and here’s why:
Technology makes complicated, tedious processes more efficient. So if you have the option, you should work with someone that is ahead of curve and tries to make your life as simple as possible.
There is a lot of paperwork involved in owning property and there are plenty of new sites and software that allow you to store it all in one place. Whether it is reviewing updated regulations or trying to check your bill history, try to look for a company that makes it easy.
Ideally, you want a management company that keeps you as informed as possible. A great way a company can do this is by being active on social media. Social media platforms are great tools for information gathering and are regularly accessed by a large segment of the population. Social Media, in particular, allows for owners to stay up-to-date on the ever-evolving real estate climate.
These sites are not only resourceful for owners, they also serve a major function of keeping property management companies informed of new laws and regulations regarding real estate. Failure to keep up with these regulations can lead to hefty fines, so it is important that you are aware of these changes. Look for companies that have an internet presence on social media sites like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Linkedin.
Social media allows these companies to talk directly to owners, tenants and even lawmakers.. In 2018, a lack of online presence not only squanders a great opportunity for companies to connect with clients, but it also limits the ability of a company to receive the most up-to-date information.
Other useful ways a property management company can use the internet is to look at the competition within the industry, to compare rental rates and to explore ways to optimize life for tenants. It is essential that property management companies are knowledgeable of what’s out there in order to ensure that your property’s value is maximized. Failing to take advantage of technology and what’s available on the internet is a waste of valuable resources.
4) Values to Look For in Your Property Manager
So the property management company checks off on all the criteria listed above and seems legitimate. The company looks well run, but what about the property managers that will overlook your property/properties day-to-day?
Searching for the right property manager can be exhausting. Before you start interrogating individual prospects, defer to the referral system. Do you have any friends with real estate investments in your area? Does your realtor have any recommendations? Word of mouth is the most trustful way find anyone good, so exhaust your resources. However, with any recommendation, check online for the state’s Real Estate Commission and the Better Business Bureau to see if the proposed property manager is licensed and in good standing with past clients.
Now that you narrowed it down to a couple promising candidates, it’s time to start the interview process. In the interview, look for property managers that exhibit the following essential qualities referred to as the “Three P’s.”
Proper Of course, they have to be proper, it’s in the word “property!” “Proper” is a broad term, but let me tell you what I mean on why it is important for property managers to be proper.
Property managers have a lot of duties and responsibilities, all which must be accomplished without error. A proper property manager is one that is well organized and uses well-defined processes to minimize mistakes. There are no cutting corners when managing a person’s property because as mentioned earlier, Murphy’s law predicts that things WILL go wrong. Property Managers are the head of your property’s maintenance, finance, and insurance departments. They have their hands on everything, meaning they have to be under complete control at all times. Any disorganization or confusion will be exposed and will certainly cause everyone involved more stress than what’s necessary.
In all, to be proper is to do things the correct way, which is in a consistently organized and timely fashion.
Personable Besides dealing with the day-to-day logistics, a property manager’s job is to deal with people. They must be sensitive to the needs of individuals but also be able to articulately communicate an important message when needed.
From tenants to hired staff to the owners, property managers must be able to handle any type of personality. A stone-faced, cold-hearted rent collector is not the reputation of a good property manager. It’s important to gauge the person’s personality and how they carry themselves. If their attitude on a good day leaves something to be desired, imagine them on a bad day! Regardless what side of the bed they wake up on, the manager’s job is to put on the appropriate face for whatever they may encounter that day.
Proactive Complacency is one of the worst qualities a property manager can have. In order to avoid mounting utility bills, crippling disaster costs, and unexpected fees, property managers must be proactive.
Most problems can be mitigated if caught early enough. For example, a common problem is an unexpected rise in utility bills due to an infrastructural malfunction on the property. An attentive property manager could avoid these types of issues by scheduling inspections and preventative maintenance. A little foresight goes a long way in prolonging the infrastructure of your property and avoiding the rise of monthly fees.
In the event of a natural disaster or freak accident, there is often nothing you can do to avoid major costs. You can, however, lessen the dent it makes in your wallet if these events are prepared for. For example, your property experiences a flood, but the property manager already has his emergency contacts prepared and has people repairing the house the next day. Being proactive and prepared prevented water from seeping deeper into the structure of the house, saving the owner a large chunk of change.
The ability to anticipate potential problems before they appear is a quality that separates a good property manager from a great one.
You’ve heard the horror stories, don’t be the one that settles for a company with low standards. So before you decide to type in “property management companies near me,” keep in mind the importance of choosing the right company to handle your investments. Take your time to make the right decision on who to hire. The characteristics listed above don’t tell the whole story, but it will certainly put you on the path of selecting the property management company you deserve.