10 questions to ask a potential property manager
Handing over the management of your property to a property manager may be one of the most important decisions you will make as an investor, especially when it comes to protecting, not only the income, but the condition and value, of your asset.
Many investors spend their time and effort examining property markets and determining what the most profitable investments are. However, they rarely take the role of a professional property manager into consideration when it comes to maintaining the property’s capital value.
Since the property market is growing rapidly, without any shortage of tenants, most landlords overlook developing good relationships with their property managers, and choose them based on their fees, rather then the additional services they may offer to, not only maintain their rental income, but to maintain the on-going value of the property.
When choosing your property manager, the first step is collating a list of potential property managers. Look for someone who not only has experience in the property market, but the market in the area where your property is located. Also, understand the services offered by property managers and ask some specific questions to determine just how well they are going to look after your property, its maintenance and preservation, for you.
It helps to be armed with some questions that will help you to determine exactly what your fees are paying for and what they are not, and how to ensure you are not only getting good value from your property manager, but good value for your investment.
Below are 10 specific questions that you should ask the prospective property managers:
1. Does the company have a dedicated property management department and who is responsible for looking after your property?
Ensure that the company you decide to work with has a dedicated property management department and the staff has some professionals who can work on behalf of the property manager in the case of their absence or illness.
2. Does the director/owner of the agency play the role of day-to-day management of the property management department?
Due to the fact that most agencies have rental and sales departments, it a wise idea to look for an agency that has its director being involved in the property management department to ensure that seriousness is undertaken in every aspect and they have a good understanding of how their department operates.
3. How long has the property manager been working in the real estate industry for?
This is specifically for the property manager who is going to be managing your property and not the agency as a whole. The number of years that a property manager has been in real estate will determine their understanding of all of the property management duties.
4. What duration has the property manager been in an agency?
Check on the number of years that a property manager has been with an agency and you are unlikely to have any issues relating to management. Good agencies generally have low staff turnover and if a property manager has been with an agency for a long time, they are more likely to have a good understanding of the way their department is run, the location and their tenants.
5. Does the property manager present a written proposal?
Work with a professional who makes a good impression by presenting a well-written proposal. This will give you a hint of whether the property manager will be able to look after your property or not and the additional services, if any, they offer.
6. What geographical region does your property management service cover?
It’s a good idea to look for a manager who has a sound local knowledge of the area that your property is located in. Beyond this, consider how your property portfolio will look in the future. Choose a manager who will look after your entire property portfolio and your future needs.
7. Does the property manager attend the property inspection with a tenant or simply hands out the keys?
If you discover that a property manager just gives out keys when a tenant inspects a property, then look for another agency. Personal inspection with the tenant gives the property manager the opportunity of promoting the property, as well as getting to know the tenant better.
8. What number of properties does the manager look after?
Look for a manager who does not look after a large number of properties. The more properties they have to manage, the less time they will have to devote to your property.
9. Does your agency have sufficient staff to show all of your properties to all interested tenants, six days a week?
Due to the heavy advertisement of rental property over the internet 24/7, an agency must have enough staff to show the property to the tenants at any time. If the agency does not have sufficient staff numbers to be able to do this, you may miss out on finding a tenant for your investment property quickly and easily.
10. Does your agency have a system in place to check the prospective tenants about past rental history, credit worthiness, and their current employment?
It is important to ensure that prospective tenants can not only fulfil their rental obligations, but that they have a history of looking after the properties that they live in and maintain positive relationships with both the property manager and the neighbours. Make sure that the manager has subscribed to a major tenancy database and is able to screen all prospective tenants carefully.
Choosing the right property manager is important, and these questions are critical to avoiding unnecessary future problems that can make the rental process a nightmare for an investor.
Don't forget to ask them all of these relevant questions.
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