7 Expert Tips on How to Choose a Good Property Manager
When choosing a property management company, you want to find a property manager whose objective will be helping you maximize your return on investment rather than growing their own revenue at your expense.
Our team at Real Estate Bees reached out to reputable property management professionals with the question “how to choose a good property manager?”
The experts advised us on what to look for and particularly what questions to ask property managers while interviewing them.
7 Expert Tips on How to Choose a Good Property Manager
The following seven essential tips are a summary of the experts’ answers:
- Choose a property manager that knows the whole process of investing in properties and the value of a true investment. Work with one that can tell you the types of properties they personally own and knows which investments to capitalize on.
- Select a manager who is a member of professional organizations such as NARPM and has industry designations.
- Make sure to know how involved and accessible a property management company is. Pick a property manager that can be reached anytime, especially if there are maintenance issues involved that can be a matter of life and death for tenants.
- Check their online profiles. Look them up on Yelp, Google My Business, Better Business Bureau and read reviews. Look for their social media pages to see how they respond to comments from happy and unhappy clients. Check their website to see how professional they are as a company, as well as the professional organizations they belong to.
- Be in the know when it comes to all of the fees involved. Check whether the fees are standard rates or there are add-ons involved, such as fees that can be passed on to you from third-party contractors like outsourced maintenance teams.
- Ask the “get to know you” type of questions. While it’s important to know the service they provide, their years of experience, and the reputation they hold, it is also a must to understand their background and how they work as a company to see if their goals align with yours.
- Make sure to work with a property manager that has years of experience in the industry and knows the business inside out. Partner with one that has standard processes and systems, and whose operations are consistent no matter the type of client or property they handle.
It all boils down to working with a property management company that you can trust and treat your investments like their own.
Find a property manager that knows how to handle any property management-related issues thrown at them, believes in fighting for your rights as a property owner, and realizes the value of enhancing an investment to make it work for you.
Now, let’s go over the full answers from each expert.
How to Choose the Best Property Manager?
Chase Coleman, Rental Management Group
When choosing from local property management companies, I think it is important to ask more non-conventional questions.
Of course, do your research regarding fees, online reputation, and all the terms and conditions, but this is going to hopefully be a long-term relationship and you want to get to know who you will be dating per se.
Some questions I would recommend asking are:
- Do you invest in properties yourself? This is important because you want to work with people that understand the process as a whole and know where to capitalize on an investment.
- How long have your team members been with you? It really says something about the culture of the company when the employees have tenure. It shows they treat them well and take care of them. If there is high turnover, then they probably don’t treat them well and probably won’t treat you well either.
- What kind of metrics do you track? If property management tracks their numbers, it shows that they are serious about improving. You can’t improve what you don’t measure. I like metrics like average days on market, vacancy rates, eviction rates, and turnover time to name a few.
- What is the long term goal of the company? It’s important to know this because as an owner/investor, the whole reason you hire a property management company is for peace of mind. If the goals of the company don’t align with yours, then it probably won’t be a good fit, especially if they are going to have a lot of changes.
Now, these are just a few of the more “get to know you” type questions. It’s still important to understand all the suite of services and really make sure you are making an informed decision.
Just remember that a good property management company is about the value and its people, not whether you save a buck or two.
Cora Langel-Person, Centana Property Management
Here are 5 most important aspects to consider when shopping for the right property management company:
1. How involved do you want to be?
Ask if the company wants 100% control or they will allow you to be as involved as you want.
2. Do they have an in-house maintenance team?
Property managers with in-house cleaners tend to cost you less compared to companies that use subcontractors.
Can they respond quickly to maintenance issues? Are they properly insured including liability and worker’s compensation?
Are they aware of the critical maintenance issues that must be addressed immediately or else they can cause significant damage to a property.
3. How accessible is the property manager?
Will you only be able to get a hold of them during business hours or do they have an after-hours emergency contact line? Do they return calls promptly?
4. Do thorough research on the company’s reputation:
- Google the company and read their clients’ reviews.
- Find them on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram and see how they communicate with their audience. Do they respond to complaints and other comments?
- Find their website. Does it look professional? Is it up-to-date? Do they advertise vacancies and pictures?
5. How long have they been in business?
The property management industry is tough and ever changing. It’s not something you can just enter as a newbie and start managing properties. Make sure that the owner of the company and the property manager(s) have years of experience.
Experience is key. You also want to ask a property manager how long they have been in business and the type of properties they have within their portfolio.
Also, the professional organizations they belong to such as:
- the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM)
- the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM)
- Community Associations Institute (CAI).
Each of these organizations have a code of ethics and professional conduct that a member must adhere to.
Jeremy Tallman, T&H Realty Services
The key to choosing a reliable property manager comes down to proper vetting. Here are 3 key items to understand before making a decision:
- Does the Owner of the PM Company own rental real estate? They should. Hiring a PM that doesn’t own rental real estate is like hiring a stock broker who doesn’t own stock.
- Understand all the fees you’ll be charged. Most fees are standard, but some are not. Be sure you understand exactly what you’ll be charged for and how much. Price should not be the biggest factor in deciding on your property manager, but it’s obviously an important component.
- Ask about both the size and experience of the staff. A properly staffed company should have at least 1 employee per 50 properties they manage. Experience matters in property management and you don’t want your property manager learning the business at your expense.
Guy Blankenship, CoreMax Leasing and Management Services
It is my opinion, one of the most difficult obstacle for an investor when evaluating various property management companies to manage their properties, is finding a property manager whom they feel they can trust and who will protect and enhance their investment like their own.
It’s that point where the Investor/Owner is relinquishing the control of the day to day management of their properties, something that they were probably doing themselves, to someone else.
There really is no clear solution to overcome this hurdle. If I were an owner evaluating a prospective property management company, I would be asking a lot of “what if” questions to them.
I would want to know how that company would respond to various situations and try to get a feel for how that property management company will handle these various situations and try to base my conclusion on that.
- How will that company communicate to the owner?
- How often will they communicate?
- How will that company respond to various problems?
- Will the company proactively respond to and communicate these problems to the owners?
Gregory J. Rice, Nexus Property Management
When you are looking to hire a property manager, there are 2 things that are significantly important:
- their hours of operation
- method of communication.
Find a company that is 24/7 and doesn’t call or email you for issues. You want to have a web-based (documented) portal system for all correspondence. Phone calls and emails are sloppy and will certainly lead to miscommunication.
In addition, having a mobile friendly version of the software is imperative. Nowadays, clients (like yourself) are on the go and demand updates from wherever they are on Earth! Your property manager must cater to that!
Alex Yoder, Dorman Real Estate Management
1) Look for companies that:
- are serious about what they do (members of NARPM)
- have experience (industry designations)
- fight for private property owner rights (legislative involvement).
2) You do NOT want a company that says “yes” to all of your requests. You want a company that has fixed processes and systems and that operates the same way every time across the board.
3) Join the Colorado Springs Landlord Forum on Facebook! 🙂
Where to Look for a Good Property Manger?
To help real estate investors find a good property manager, we at Real Estate Bees put a lot of time and effort to create a high-quality directory that lists top-rated property management companies in your area.
All listed professionals in our directory are screened and verified based on our quality standards. Feel free to browse our directory and choose a property manager who you believe will help you optimize your ROI and grow your real estate investing business the most.
Additionally, read our articles What Do Real Estate Property Management Companies Do for You?, where our expert property managers answer this question, and 7 Interview Questions to Ask a Property Manager Before Hiring.
If you want to contribute your expert advice on a topic of your expertise, feel free to apply to our Expert Contributor Program.
About the Author
Kristina Morales is a REALTOR® with over 20 years of professional experience. She actively practices real estate in Ohio but also has practiced real estate in California and Texas. Conducting her real estate business in three states has allowed her to gain unique experiences that make her a well-rounded realtor. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and her MBA with a concentration in Banking and Finance. Prior to real estate, Kristina had an extensive corporate career in banking and treasury. She ended her finance career as an Assistant Treasurer at a publicly traded oil & gas company in Houston, TX.