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  • The 5 Most Important Questions To Ask Before Hiring a Property Manager


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    Have you decided that you need professional property management for your rental property? Maybe you have already searched for local property managers by using Google or Yelp, checking your local phone book or asking your friends and relatives for recommendations. In doing so you have narrowed down your list of potential property management companies to a handful or less. Now what?

    Now it’s time to start asking some questions. But what questions do you ask? Where do you start? Here are the five most important questions to ask before hiring a property manager.

     

    1) How Much Does Your Property Management Service Cost?

    This is the question property managers hear most often, and rightly so. If you are considering property management service you need to know what it’s going to cost.

    Residential property management companies charge a leasing fee for tenant placement, followed by a monthly management fee for full service property management. Leasing fees may be a percentage of the first month’s rent or a flat fee, usually paid when qualified tenants rent your home or apartment. Expect to pay as much as half of the first month’s rent for leasing services. Expect to pay monthly management fees ranging from 6% to 9% of the gross monthly rents collected.

    Avoid hidden fees or additional fees for maintenance coordination, annual inspections, advertising and other day-to-day tasks performed by your property management company. Make sure all fees and charges for service are straightforward and clearly explained in the property management agreement. Most importantly, make sure you understand not only the costs associated with hiring a property manager, but also the value you will receive in return.

     

    2) What is the Term Length of Your Property Management Agreement?

    A one-year management agreement is most common among residential property managers. Some property management companies may offer contracts with shorter terms and higher fees.

    Be wary of excessive cancellation fees for terminating a management agreement before the term expires.

     

    3) How Do You Screen Prospective Tenants?

    Property management companies have pre-established rental application requirements for qualifying prospective residents. Applicants must submit rental applications and other pertinent information to your property manager for processing. A professional property management company will require a separate and complete rental application for all adults who will be residing in your property.

    The rental application should be easily accessible in your property manager’s office or on a company website. Make sure your property management company provides prospective residents with the ability to submit online rental applications 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Online rental applications streamline the application and screening process, ensuring that your property rents to qualified residents as quickly as possible.

     

    4) How Frequently Do You Inspect the Properties You Manage?

    At the very least your property manager should complete a health & safety inspection of your rental property once every twelve months, and an exterior drive-by inspection at least once every three months.

    Periodic inspections ensures that your rental property meets minimum habitability requirements and is free of any safety hazards. Periodic inspections also ensure that your residents are properly caring for your property.

     

    5) How Do You Handle Repairs and Maintenance?

    Planning and coordinating repairs and maintenance for your rental property can be complicated and time-consuming. A professional property manager employs a variety of resources to ensure your property is properly maintained and compliant with local, state and federal laws. Some property management companies directly employ maintenance staff to complete repairs and maintenance when needed, while others hire only third-party vendors to work on your rental property.

    Make sure the property manager you hire contracts only with vendors who are properly licensed and insured; including general liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance when applicable. Ask about dollar limits on repairs and the process for handling after-hours and weekend emergencies.

     

    Do you have other questions about property management? Contact one of our experienced property managers for answers.