Choosing a Property Management Company

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on March 26, 2009 under Landlord Tips | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

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If you’ve decided that property management is not for you, you’re not alone. There are thousands of successful property management companies because there is a real demand for their services. They have the expertise and experience to manage your property, plus they’re knowledgeable about all the laws affecting rental housing. They’ll handle all the bookkeeping, rent collection, and emergency issues, while dealing with tenants fairly and objectively.

There are certain disadvantages to using a professional service. First—they’re not free. If your margin between income and expenses is slim, it might not be cost-effective for you to hire a management company. Also, they might not care for your property as well as you, or be as aggressive in filling your vacancies as you would be.

Check out several property management firms before you decide on one. Have a checklist handy and ask at least these basic questions to narrow your choice:

How will you prepare the rental unit for leasing?

How will you advertise and show the unit? 

Do you prescreen tenants for credit and criminal records?

What is the rent collection procedure? What about delinquent rent?

What do you charge? Are there additional charges?

Will I receive monthly reports? What do they include?

How do you handle maintenance? What about emergencies?

Do you mark up materials and supplies?

How do you handle tenant complaints?

How firmly will you enforce my rules and procedures?

Can you give me an example of your attention to detail?

Always ask for references and follow through with talking to them. A complete client list is even better; specifically check with owners of properties in your size category. Visit the property management company’s office and meet the staff. Don’t sign the contract until you are sure the company has a sound track record. Know that some management companies charge lower fees and make up the difference in repairs, by marking up supplies and labor, or by performing unnecessary repairs. 

Finally, make sure the company has adequate insurance. They should also be bonded to protect you, since they will be handling and collecting your money. 

Finding the right property manager will make a big difference in your cash flow because they take care of all the issues that affect it.  They fill the vacancies, find good, solid tenants, and perform all maintenance and accounting. Make sure you choose a property management company that is squarely on your side.

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