Potential clients have lots of questions, and they are usually curious about when they should hire a property manager and how to decide on the right company to hire. Today, we’re talking about how to discuss your needs and expectations with and, what to look for in, a property manager. Each owner/investor manages their businesses and properties differently, so finding the right partner is key.
One of the questions to ask a South Jersey property management company is how they place tenants. You’ll want to know if the property management company uses a broker service or if they are actual a licensed broker, which gives them more flexibility.
Repairs and Maintenance
Ask if repairs are handled by an in-house company or if they outsource. When they outsource, you’ll want them to use licensed and insured contractors, and you’ll need to know if there’s a mark-up. Some property managers will mark up the maintenance services, and others do not. Whether marked up or not, you’ll want to know you’re getting quality service for market rates along with priority response time.
Notices and Documentation
Ask how they send out notices, and what they do to track those things. We have a software system that handles those types of items for us, and helps keep everything accurate and efficient.
You need to know about their eviction process and quickly they evict tenants. Find out if they are hiring an attorney or whether they have an in-house legal department. You want to know how the rent collection process helps you avoid eviction and collect rent on time and the appropriate plan for eviction and removals.
Not all property manages work with government programs. Finding one that does allow for more flexibility when placing tenants. It’s not the same process; they might include HUD programs, Section 8, or TRA (temporary rental assistance). These are government related and driven by the county, the state, or the township. A good property manager will have knowledge of these programs.
You should discuss, in detail, how the potential property manager handles accounting; do they have a full-fledged cashflow/accounting system and/or a bookkeeper who is managing your business? The management business is numbers driven, so you want someone competent at tracking the income and expenses associated with your property.
Costs and Fees
Naturally, you’ll want to know how you will be charged. Management company fees may be a monthly management fee or a percentage based on rent amount or sometimes on collected rents. There many options for our industry and different ways to collect fees, so make sure it’s right for you.
We go through these things with a new client because we want to educate ourselves about the property owner, and the owner wants to be educated about us and how we work. It’s a good way to begin a relationship.