Property Management: Key Questions To Ask

In a perfect world, you might not need a property management company.

But since tenants aren’t always perfect themselves, and most owners are too busy to keep a constant eye on their holdings, it often makes sense to bring in someone who is able to focus on making sure your investment properties are kept up and the tenants are doing what they’re supposed to (e.g. paying rent).

Property managers can be great go-betweens and the better ones will make sure any tenant related issues are taken care of in a manner that preserves the underlying relationship with the tenant, yet protects the owner’s interests at all times.

But distinguishing the better property management professionals from the “less better” ones isn’t always easy. Generally, experience isn’t everything, but it certainly helps. Likewise, a good attitude and the ability to deliver great customer service are huge assets. Familiarity with local and state property laws goes a long way as well towards keeping you out of trouble. Of course, cost is always a factor.

For those considering hiring property management professional for the first time, or maybe even replacing their existing one, do not hesitate to ask your candidates a lot of questions.  Questions such as:

·    What is your personal background and relevant experience? What types of property owners and properties do you and your company currently represent?

·    What neighborhoods do you think present better opportunities for rental properties? Which neighborhoods present challenges and how would you overcome those?

·    Tell me about some of your past positive and negative experiences with tenants, including evictions, late payments, property damage, and maintenance.

·    Describe how you deal with late paying tenants.  At what point do you move to evict them?

·    Describe how your company processes the rental income generated by the properties you manage. How do you prevent theft? Are you insured and bonded?

·    Describe your company’s policies on routine maintenance and repairs.  When do you fix something yourself, ask the tenant to do so, or call the owner for authorization to hire a contractor?

·    How can you and your property management company help increase the value of an owner’s property?  What do you expect an owner to do to help you do your job more effectively?

All of these questions are fairly open-ended and can provide a path to a productive conversation about how a prospective property management company or professional might be able to assist you in taking care of your investment properties and the tenants who occupy them.

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