Buying an investment property can be both personally rewarding and financially lucrative. It also represents a complex undertaking that requires a tremendous amount of hard work and commitment. Managing your investment effectively is essential to securing and sustaining its value, but being a landlord isn’t suited to everyone. Ongoing administration, repairs and general maintenance are critical to maximizing income, and can be overwhelming.
Rather than going it alone, you may want to consider hiring a property manager whose services can be indispensable. If, for instance, you aren’t inclined to dedicate your coveted free time to emergency requests, weekend repairs or filling vacancies, leave the details to the experts and concentrate on the other important aspects of your life. Or if you have a limited interest in hands-on, day-to-day management, you’ll want to have a dedicated and trustworthy team at your disposal to provide the care and expertise your property needs and deserves.
The services of a property manager are also indispensable if your property is located in an area outside of where you live. Having a local team on the ground will ensure you don’t have to concern yourself with issues that require your onsite attention.
Hiring the right person or company is essential to your investment’s success. Here are some tips for finding the most suitable professional to meet your needs, maximize profits and provide you with peace of mind.
Do your research
Searching online or through classified sections of your local newspaper are good places to find organizations in your area. Review company websites to ensure their offerings match your requirements, check mission and vision statements, employee profiles, current properties under management, years of service, established relationships with vendors, and client testimonials. Also look at reviews on external sites such as Google and Facebook, and check for a rating with the Better Business Bureau. You’ll want to look for companies who understand your local market and the laws that govern rental properties, including tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities.
Ask for referrals
The best referrals often come from friends and family or industry contacts such as your Realtor or real estate lawyer. Obtain referrals from several different sources and ask about the strengths and weaknesses of the recommendations.
Interview multiple candidates
Take a deeper dive by making a shortlist of possible candidates and call/meet with them. This process is not unlike a job interview where you vet possible contenders with the goal of finding a property manager who not only meets your expectations, but who you also feel comfortable with and confident in their abilities. Make a list of questions to ask each company and compare notes from one prospect to the next. Invite them to ask questions of you as well. They need to understand your requirements to ensure they can be met, and avoid any unwanted surprises down the road.
Key questions to ask:
- What’s included in your management services?
- How many properties do you manage? Do you have the capacity to manage mine?
- What is your knowledge of, and experience in, the local market?
- Do you belong to industry associations or hold related designations/certifications?
- How is payment of property expenses handled?
- How do you collect and manage rent payments?
- How do you screen and select new tenants?
- How do you market to fill vacancies?
- Will you handle lease preparation and execution?
- How do you address payment delinquencies and evictions?
- What is your emergency availability?
Visit existing properties
Some companies list the properties they manage on their website but, if not, ask for a list and conduct your own onsite inspections. This will allow you to evaluate whether current properties are in good repair, if the grounds are well maintained or if there are signs of damage or decay. Arrange to speak with existing tenants if possible to find out if they feel their needs are well addressed, how long it generally takes for a repair/maintenance issue to be resolved, and whether they have any major complaints/concerns.
Obtain a list of references from existing clients and ask questions related to the quality of service they receive. Enquire about the company’s management style, their effectiveness in problem resolution, their ability to fill vacancies and the reliability of the tradespeople they hire. Gathering first-hand knowledge about current customer satisfaction levels will help establish your general sentiment towards a particular company. You also want to check whether memberships with professional associations are in good standing and verify industry designations.
Much like location is a key element in ensuring the success and profitability of your investment, so too is finding the right person to manage your properties.
Have questions about hiring a property manager? Answers are a call or email away!