Choosing a Property Management Company: Tips for Landlords

Posted by Teresa on August 27, 2010 under Landlord Tips, Tenant Screening & Background Checks | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

tenantscreeningblog.comLandlords are faced with making tough decisions every day. If you’re like the investment property owners we talk to, you regularly ask yourself questions like these:

  • Where should my next rental property purchase be?
  • What can I be doing to lower my vacancy rate?
  • When can I quit my day job?
  • Should I hire a property management company?

When it comes to question #4, we have some tips for you to consider when making that decision. Read on for ideas on how to choose a property management company.

First, take your time and do your research. Whether you own one or a dozen rental properties, the decision to outsource management is one of the most important ones you’ll make as a rental property owner. It can make or break your bank account—and even your business. Look at things like:

  • How do they handle tenant disputes?
  • What is their maintenance agreement like? Do they charge for labor and materials? Is there a surcharge on materials?
  • How do they conduct tenant screening?
  • What is their reputation in the community?
  • Do they offer online rent payment?
  • When do you receive rent payments?
  • What is their fee?

Understand that hiring a property management company means letting go of the day-to-day management of your rental business. The PM company will show the property, advertise vacancies, screen tenants, handle the paperwork and all the maintenance. If you are not ready to give up control, then hiring a management company won’t do you or the company any good.

Smart landlords know that you must manage the management company. It’s like having employees—and business owners must manage their employees. The property management company is representing you, so make sure you are 100% happy with how they are treating your property and your tenants.

Hiring the right property management company can lead to increase profitability through lower vacancy rates, better tenant satisfaction and lower turnover. You might even get some of your free time back! Do your homework and carefully consider all the implications before you sign any contracts.

What to do When You’ve Had Enough

Posted by Teresa on August 14, 2009 under Landlord Tips, Tenant Credit Checks, Tenant Screening & Background Checks | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

upset-landlord on tenant screening blogSome people love being landlords. But not everyone does—and not everyone who invests in rental property is cut out for the job.  It’s hard work and can be very stressful at times.

Whether you’ve been a landlord for ten years or ten months, the time could come when you’re not sure you want to keep going. Here are some ideas for when the role of “landlord” is one you wish you could shed like a winter coat on a hot day!

1. Don’t let your properties own you. Maintaining balance is important. If you’re spending more time on property issues than you want to be, only you can make a change.

2. If you’re spending too much time maintaining your properties and making repairs, hire someone to do it for you. There are probably hundreds of handyman-type services in your area. Ask friends for recommendations and interview several before making your choice. Remember to ask for references and check them!

3. Consider a property management company: Not only will they collect the rent and fill your rental units, property managers also screen tenants and conduct background checks. Plus they handle all the bookkeeping and emergency issues! Sounds like a dream come true—but they do have certain disadvantages: property managers are not free, and unless you own multiple properties, hiring one doesn’t make sense

4. Keep your eyes on the prize: If you’re investing in real estate for the long term, remember that setbacks and headaches you’re dealing with today will be worth it when it’s time to retire, if you’ve managed your cash flow properly. Building a portfolio takes time. Be patient.

5. Find tenants you’ll enjoy dealing with. You can’t control everything about your tenants, but by carefully choosing and always screening tenants, your chances of finding folks you get along with are certainly increased. You must not discriminate against anyone based on Equal Housing laws, but properly worded advertisements and finding tenants through friends and acquaintances are two great ways to start the process.

6. Take the headache out of renting to bad tenants—before they become tenants. Credit checks will ensure you have a tenant who will more likely pay rent on time. Background checks will help you find tenants with good job histories.

Every landlord goes through difficult times. If you’re having one of those, take a deep breath, get some exercise, go on a vacation, or hire someone else to deal with your problems! If you can raise the rents to cover the increased expenses, you may find it well worth it!