According to the latest available census data, more than 14 million people own investment properties in the U.S.
Are you one of those fortunate individuals? Are you trying to manage everything that goes with owning and managing a rental property on your own?
Managing all the admin that goes along with an investment property can get stressful, but there’s a simple solution. Reliable property managers help make owning an investment property easy, stress-free, and profitable.
Does that sound like just what you need? Follow these steps on how to find a property management company that ticks all these boxes.
Get Referrals For Reliable Property Managers
Ask other landlords you know if they can recommend a property manager in your neighborhood. A personal recommendation is one of the most reliable ways to find a reputable property manager.
You can also search online for reviews about the best property management companies in your area.
These personal accounts reveal what it’s like to work with a particular firm. They’ll also highlight any pitfalls associated with their services.
Don’t let negative comments put you off immediately.
Rather, consider how the property manager handled these complaints. Did they resolve the issue promptly and satisfactorily?
Another way to investigate the best property managers is by visiting some of the buildings they run. Do these properties look well-run and cared for? Are the tenants content with the level of service they receive?
This vital first step in finding a property manager can help you narrow down your options to come up with a shortlist of likely candidates.
Research Qualifications, Licenses, and Experience
Once you’ve narrowed your search to five or fewer candidates, you can get into the nitty-gritty aspects of their offering.
All U.S. states require that property managers hold a real estate license to practice third-party real estate management. Specific regulations may vary from state to state.
Most property managers must undergo specific education. This includes passing an examination and engaging in ongoing learning to keep their license.
Always check whether prospective property managers meet these requirements before you engage with them.
Experience is a vital component of property management, as is up-to-date knowledge of housing laws and regulations. As the property owner, you could end up in hot water if your property manager does anything underhanded.
So, check if their brokerage license is active with your state’s Real Estate Commission, and search online to see if they’re certified with important trade organizations.
The best ones are:
- IREM – The Institute of Real Estate Management
- NAA – The National Apartment Association
- NARPM – The National Association of Residential Property Managers
- CAI – The Community Associations Institute
These organizations offer excellent educational programs for property managers, and thoroughly vet their candidates.
An experienced property manager will have well-established relationships in the realm of property maintenance and repairs that can save you a lot of money over time.
They’ll also know the best ways to find and screen tenants and make sure they pay their rent on time.
Find a Property Manager Offering Services You Need
According to reedyandcompany.com, you should have a team of experts at your disposal when you hire the best property management company. This includes negotiators, photographers, phone operators, mediators, and bookkeepers.
Larger agencies might offer more services, but don’t discount small, one-man businesses either. These individuals often display extraordinary drive and dedication, as well as personalized service.
Yet, it’s vital to find property managers that offer the following services:
- Advertising and marketing vacancies
- Sourcing and screening tenants
- Collecting rent
- Performing seasonal as well as annual maintenance
Depending on your building’s size and your preferences, you might not need all these services, so you should also check for flexible contracts offered by the property manager.
Interview Likely Prospects
Now that you’ve got all the research out of the way, it’s time to meet with your shortlisted candidates and interview them for the job. These are some issues you should clear up during this interaction:
- Management fee amounts and what they include
- The size of their team
- Do they have a 24-hour helpline?
- Do they help you find a tenant, and what are the charges for this?
- Who keeps the security deposit?
- Do they require a deposit for emergency repairs?
- What is the limit for repairs before contacting the landlord?
- Do they handle any relevant court proceedings?
Your property manager must know the law on real estate. These include aspects of security deposits, fair housing, and evictions in the property’s location.
They must carry general liability insurance, errors and omissions coverage, and property-casualty insurance.
Another vital consideration is the property manager’s personality. Do you feel comfortable enough with them to work with them for years to come?
Never underestimate the value of a good working relationship with your property manager.
Study the Management Agreement
Management agreements are binding contracts, so it’s best to have a lawyer look over this document before you sign it.
Make sure the management agreement includes everything you discussed at your interview and that you understand it. It’s vital to know where the property manager’s responsibilities end and what your role is.
Your lawyer will help you check for compliance with important aspects. These include, hold harmless and cancellation clauses as well as compliance with fair housing laws.
Keeping Tabs on Your Property Manager
Whether you opt for a large or small property management company, you must check up on them regularly.
Peruse your bank statements regularly for rental payments and whether you’ve received them in full and on time. Check up on maintenance issues and repairs and visit your property often to see how they’re running it.
Based on this information, evaluate your property manager’s performance annually. This will help you decide if you want to retain their services or look elsewhere.
Get the Help You Need
Owning investment property is a breeze when you have reliable property managers to assist you with the daily grind. So, don’t stress yourself out anymore about the day-to-day operations of your multi- or single-family building.
If you’ve got the right team in place to take care of your interests, property ownership is a breeze.
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