At some time, most landlords consider whether or not to hire a property manager. Perhaps your rental properties have expanded beyond what you can effectively manage; perhaps you purchased property in another town or state; or perhaps you just don’t want the hassles that come with day-to-day, hands-on rental property management.
An effective property manager will handle rent collection, fill vacancies, screen applicants, show your property, and take care of advertising, repairs and maintenance.
What To Look For in a Property Manager
You’ll want experience, of course. A good property manager has a strong set of management and organizational skills, as well as excellent interpersonal skills. He or she needs to be tough, but fair. And, the PM really needs to be a “people person.”
To choose the right property manager for you, think about your needs:
- Do you need someone who is bilingual?
- Do you want someone who can live onsite?
- Do you need someone who can take care of light repairs?
Remember, your PM is supposed to make your life easier—and your business run better. Ask for references, and be sure to speak with each one. Also, ask other landlords for recommendations.
Managing a Property Manager
Once you hire a property manager, you will need to manage him or her. Depending on your arrangement, the PM’s experience and your personal preference, your level of supervision may range from hands-off to very involved.
As the property owner, you are still responsible for the actions your PM takes, from rejecting applicants to interacting with tenants. The federal Fair Housing Act, your local landlord-tenant laws and your own rules will all need to be understood and enforced by the property manager. And if he or she breaks the law by, for example, rejecting an applicant based on family status, race or another protected factor, you could be the target of an investigation.
Be sure your property manager supplies you with regular reports on rent collection, vacancies, marketing efforts, expenses, repairs and any new or pending tenant issues. Obviously, you’ll want these issues resolved as quickly as possible, so it’s a good idea to follow up.
Remember, your rental properties will still belong to you, even after you hire a property manager. It’s always a good idea to regularly check up on your PM and check in with your tenants to make absolutely sure everything is running as it should be.