How to Find a Great Property Manager

5 Questions to Help Find a Great Property Manager.

Find Great Property ManagerAs a Property Manager I meet numerous property owners, who all have varying reasons for needing a property manager. Many that I meet ask a lot of great questions, while others don’t know where to even begin. Property Management for many people is an unfamiliar concept. If you are thinking about searching for a Property Manager for your home, here are some great opening questions to ask during an interview to make sure you find a great Property Manager.

1. “What do you charge, and what is included in your management fees?”
This is usually one of the first questions I get asked at every appointment I go on. It’s an important question, but the question itself is not a great question. While knowing how much is charged is important, understanding what is included, and more importantly what is not included, should be explained by the manager. Be sure to get a breakdown of the common services or items that are not covered by the management fees to avoid misunderstood charges.

2. “How is your company structured?”
The property management industry generally recognizes 3 different “standard” company structures that most management companies fall into; Portfolio, Departmental, and Hybrid. While you don’t necessarily need to fully understand the ins and outs of each management style, it is important know how the company is set up. Portfolio managers generally employ a manager to handle a certain number of properties, and that manager is responsible for all of the expectations of each property he or she manages. In this setup, you would most likely only have 1 point of contact who should know all of the ins and outs of your property. Under a Departmental structure, each department (think accounting, advertising, leasing, etc) handle groups of responsibilities for the entire portfolio of properties. You may have a singular point of contact, or you may speak to the department that is most relevant to your concerns when reaching out to the company. A Hybrid structure is a combination of the 2 styles, and can vary greatly depending on the individual company. Understanding how the company is structured ensures that you know who to contact when situations arise that may need your attention.

3. “What is your cancellation policy”
Unfortunately, this question does not get asked nearly enough during the interview process. For any number of reasons you may find it necessary to terminate or transfer your management agreement. Depending on how the paperwork is written, you may find that you are unable to cancel while a tenant is present in the home, or that significant fees are required to cancel. Understanding how your contract will be enforced if the need or desire to cancel ever comes up can save you quite a headache.

4. “How is maintenance handled by your company?”
We get asked all the time numerous questions about maintenance, and how it is handled. Make sure you ask and understand what limits are in place in case maintenance is needed, what happens when repairs exceed those limits, and what happens in emergency situations. Ask if they have an in-house maintenance company, or if they use outside contractors. Ask what a service call usually runs for various repairs, and ask if kickbacks, discounts, or maintenance “fees” are added to the invoice from the contractors. What happens if a repair is deemed to be caused by the tenant? Knowing these answers can help you manage your expenses and to know if you will be paying extra for repairs that are needed.

5. “Do you (or your company) belong to any Professional Organizations?”
Property Management is quickly changing and evolving each year as new legislation and rules are implemented. Belonging to and actively participating in outside organizations are an important way for managers to stay on top of the changes taking place, as well as to learn new strategies for managing your property more efficiently and providing more consistent and valuable services to you. Asking what organizations they belong to, how active they are in these organizations, or if they do not belong to any organizations, how they keep up with the changes in the industry is important to know so that you can be sure your manager will not lead you into legal trouble down the road.

Ultimately there are hundreds of questions that you can ask your manager during the interview process. The most important thing to keep in mind is whether or not the manager is knowledgeable, receptive to your needs, and at the end of the meeting(s) makes you feel comfortable with turning over your property to his company. Understanding the policies, procedures, and knowing that the manager understands your needs and addresses them is the real key to finding a great Property Manager.

Written by RE/MAX Infinity

Jason has been involved in Real Estate since 2005 where he quickly became a multi-million dollar producer within his first full year. He graduated from the Realtor Institute a few years later and then went on to achieve his Broker’s License in 2009. In 2008 he was asked to start up and lead the Property Management Department. He served on the Board of Directors as President for the local chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers for 2014 and is readily available to meet and speak with clients.

Written by RE/MAX Infinity

Jason has been involved in Real Estate since 2005 where he quickly became a multi-million dollar producer within his first full year. He graduated from the Realtor Institute a few years later and then went on to achieve his Broker’s License in 2009. In 2008 he was asked to start up and lead the Property Management Department. He served on the Board of Directors as President for the local chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers for 2014 and is readily available to meet and speak with clients.