Owning an income property can be a great investment. However, managing a rental home or an apartment building personally can be overwhelming and quickly turn into a full-time job instead of the passive income you were hoping for. Being a landlord requires you to be on call at all times, which might not be compatible with your lifestyle, especially if you live far away from your income property or if you are planning to travel. Besides, how do you feel about taking a day off from your regular job to evict a tenant?
Hiring a property manager can bring you tremendous peace of mind and it can also help you maximize your return on investment on your real estate property. Here is all you need to know to choose a Rockstar property manager for your rental home.
- Do they have any referrals?
Your first task when choosing a property manager should be to ask for referrals around you. Word of mouth travels fast. When interviewing potential managers, make sure to ask for referrals from previous and current clients and follow through with them.
Do not hesitate to ask other local real estate investors and real estate agents what their experience is with any prospective property management company. You should also check with the Better Business Bureau and your state’s Real Estate Commission to ensure that they are licensed and have an outstanding reputation.
- How do they handle communication with you?
Communication is key when it comes to property management. If you are having a hard time getting in touch with a prospective property manager from the get-go, chances are prospective tenants will be faced with a similar conundrum, which could be synonymous to a loss of income for you. Save yourself a headache and pick a candidate who will be responsive from the very beginning.
In a world where being tech-savvy is increasingly important, make sure that you hire a property manager who is available on a variety of platforms including social media.
- What are their responsibilities?
Depending on your needs, your property manager should be able to handle the rental process from finding new tenants by marketing your property wisely to handling move-outs and evictions if necessary. Responsibilities, whether they are yours or theirs, should be clearly laid out in a contract from the start. Always review the proposed management agreement carefully for any hidden fees.
It can be a good idea to check some of the properties managed by the company in person: are they well maintained? Are there ads for available apartments in a variety of places? If you get a chance to talk to tenants living in those properties, do not hesitate to ask about their experience with the company.
- How experienced are they?
Property management can be a very specialized business. A good property manager should be able to help you get the most out of your real estate investment property, for example by being aware of the appropriate rent in the part of town your property is located in, or which tenants they might be more likely to attract and how to market towards them.
You should also ask what type of property they have the most experience with (apartment buildings, single family homes, multi-family properties…) since the type of experience required can be vastly different from one to the next. They should also be able to propose a portfolio of reliable contractors for any repairs or maintenance needs.
- Can they answer additional questions?
Before hiring a property manager, make sure to ask them any questions you might think about regarding their day-to-day operating system in order to avoid any bad last-minute surprises. Some good questions to ask include the size of their staff, the average time to process maintenance request, their screening process, their vacancy rate and so on.
A property manager can make or break your experience as a landlord, so do not hesitate to take your time before choosing one. Good luck!