Now you have an investment property the subsequent step is to look for an individual to take over its management. Do some investigation and list questions you would like to ask when interviewing potential property management companies. Short list a couple companies that interest you.
Call them to ask questions then, if you’re still interested; make an appointment to visit in person. Visiting in person gives you an idea of how they conduct their business and you can meet up with the individuals who will represent your interests. Here are the top five questions to ask when you interview a property manager.
1. Does the Company have a Devoted Management Team?
You want to know whether the property management company offers a comprehensive service or if it is just a side line for an estate agent. Who and how will your property be managed. How many staff are in the office? Who will manage you and your tenants if staff leave or are sick?
2. Does the Company Owner/Director get Involved in the Business?
Most property management companies are divided in two – selling property and managing property. Generally the company director is involved on the sales side as it is the high profit area of the business and a property manager will take care of leasing. If the company director is involved with the property management arm of the business, you may find they take it more seriously than others.
3. How well do they know the Rental Business?
Verify with the property manager how long they’ve personally been handling property management. Just because you happen to be speaking to a well known property company does not necessarily mean their staff have a great deal of experience. It also does not mean they provide top quality customer support.
Some property managers start out working in a property office as the office person and work their way up. Some shift into property management and the rest into sales. Other property managers have specifically selected property management as their profession.
4. How long has the Property Manager worked for the Firm?
You need a property manager that is stable in their employment, and who will take looking after your interests seriously. There is a great deal of pressure involved in property management, that has a high turnover of staff. In six months time, you want to be talking to the same person to create a business relationship that understands your needs and the property. This is a good reason to look for a property manager committed to it as a career.
5. What Area does the Company Service?
You are correct to think about companies that have expert local knowledge but, if you intend on buying more houses in the future, how far does their expertise reach?
You do have a choice – either hire a property management company in each geographic area or find one that covers a wider area to take on all your properties.
6. How do they Conduct Property Inspections?
This is actually an important one – the last thing you need is for a property manager to just hand out your keys to potential tenants. Too much can go wrong. You want to know that the property manager will give good customer service and personally take potential tenants to inspect your property. Or, they may hold open houses at certain times. This provides them with a chance to get to know a possible tenant better.
7. How many Properties does the Company Manage?
You want to know how many properties the property manager manages personally. Some may have 200 or more. If they do, I wonder how they can offer you and your tenants top customer service. Others may have only up to 150 but charge more for their service. This may be a better option to get peace of mind and, ultimately, make a good return on your investment property.
8. Does the Company’s Staff Work Six Days a Week?
You want a property management company that can show your properties when it is convenient for the tenant. After all, you want tenants that can pay the rent so that means that most will be at work during normal business hours; unless it is a commercial property for rent. In the world of internet advertising, enquiries come in 24 hours a day. This comes down to their availability and ability to deal with maintenance issues as well.
9. Does the Property Manager Check New Tenant’s Credentials?
It is important to ask how the property management company checks out the credentials of short listed prospects. You need to reassure yourself they check people’s credit and rental history, and their past and present employment.
All prospective tenants must be screened carefully. Does your property manager have adequate access to information for this purpose? Do they provide you with a written report that backs up their claims when handing over short listed prospective tenants?