Top 10 Questions To Ask A Property Manager Prior To Appointing Them

Mar 21 2014 / 10:00 am Was written by Atwell & Co. Comments Off

If you are looking to hire a property manager, it is important that you ask the right questions so that you get the right person for the job. It is even more important if you are dealing real estate for the first time. This article tells you the questions that you should ask any prospective property manager before you hire them and what answers you should get.

Are you the one who will personally manage my property?

It is not always the person that you meet to have discussions with who will manage your property. They could be there on behalf of their company, so that after your meeting, they go back to the office and assign someone to manage your rented property. If that is the case, you should ask to meet the person who will be assigned the job. Make sure that he understands your expectations; also learn from him exactly what he will be doing to manage your property.

You should also aim to find out how long he has been managing property. Are there any homes or houses that he can point out that he has managed for a while? This tells you how much experience he has. Find out how long they have been in real estate, how long they have been with the current firm and how they can demonstrate their qualifications to you. A good real estate manager will give you referrals of property owners he works for so that you can find out for yourself.

How many properties do you have on your hands right now?

Big property management agencies are reputed to be good and therefore have lots of clients, but you want someone who has the time for your home. The general rule of thumb is about 100 per property manager. This means that a firm that has 500 properties to manage will have 5 property managers, each overseeing 100 properties.

Do you have tenants in arrears? What action have you taken against them?

One of the most important things that your property manager will do for you, other than take care of your home, is to collect rent. You want rent to be paid in full and on time. Ask them what methods they use to collect, how you will get the money once it is collected and what they do with tenants who are late in paying. They should have a laid down procedure for all these things, and most importantly, they should collect arrears in the legally prescribed manner.

How do you carry out emergency maintenance?

Property managers have a list of vendors whom they can call if there are emergency repairs to be done. Ask to see this list so that you can confirm the quality of the vendors. Some property managers pay for maintenance and then take it from the rent that you receive, which is better than expecting you to pay for it. Confirm this little but important detail.

How will you attract tenants to my property?

You want to know how and where your property will be marketed. You would want, for example, to have it on real estate websites, flyers, the local newspaper, magazines and so on. Also, find out who covers the cost of marketing – a good property manager takes care of all marketing himself.

The other thing that you ought to ask here is how, once prospective tenants are found, they will view the house. You want there to be an employee of the agency at all times. Prospects should never be given the keys to go and view by themselves. Also find out if they are available for viewings 6 days a week – you want maximum exposure so that you can get a tenant quickly.

What do you do to screen tenants?

You don’t want to end up with tenants who have had problems paying rent in the past or who have a history of leaving rented houses in poor condition. How does the agency know that they are getting the right people to rent your property? Are they employed? Is there a database they use that gives them a background on tenants? This information is important if you are going to trust whoever will eventually rent your house.

How many inspections do I get per year and what do they cost?

This will go a long way in determining the value of your property. Some states lay down a certain minimum number of inspections every year, so find out what that number is. A good property manager will do one or two more than the mandated minimum or at least stick to that minimum. Ask them what kinds of reports they will give you after then inspection. Find out who pays for the inspection – the easiest thing would be for them to add it to their management fee. Also find out how much it costs to do an inspection.

Find out what kind of communication you can expect from them. Will they give a monthly email with the state of the property? Will they include photos? Do you get monthly statements of rent payments? Do they send you industry news magazines? All these are things that a good property manager aims to give.

How much will you pay them every month?

A typical bill includes a management fee, a letting fee and an administration fee. Find out how much you are getting charged for each and of course remember that they quote high because they anticipate that you will negotiate to bring it down a little.

How much do you think we can get on weekly rent?

This is probably the most important question that you will ask.  “How much are people willing to pay for my property?” This requires that the property manager have experience and information with properties like yours in the area. He should be able to quote them for yo0u, both where they are located and how much they fetch every week. Your property will be rented for an amount that fits with the profile of other such properties around.

What else do I get other than property management?

It is all about value for money, so your property manager should be able to explain to you how you can get the maximum returns for your investment. Perhaps a little bit of landscaping could attract better paying tenants? Perhaps a second garage will attract families that have more than one car? It is the job of the property manager to advise you on things like this so that you can get maximum returns on your real estate.

All these questions will help determine the best property manager for your home. To start with, just so that you can be sure, sign a short contract and work on a probation basis. If say, you sign for 3 months and you are happy, you can keep them.

If you are not, you are not bound by a long contract so you can always terminate with them and look for a new property manager. Make sure that you understand what was wrong with the first property manager so that you don’t make the same mistakes with the new one that you will hire.

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