The management company you choose will have a lot to do with the success or failure of your property. While certain things, like location and market demand, are relatively fixed elements, the right property management company will bring out the best in your facilities and your tenants. We’ll look at how to wade through the options, so you can choose the right property management company that has the experience and skill to take the load off your shoulders.
Match Your Portfolios
A 100-unit complex will require a very different skill set than several 2-bedroom single-family vacation homes. Check to see how many properties the management company has under its umbrella and what the average size is. To cut down on confusion, many owners begin by reaching out to a real estate association for referrals. This can ensure owners are getting a property manager that can handle their specific needs.
Property owners quickly find that all property management companies make roughly the same promises. These claims are often vague and don’t always address what you really need to know. If you want to hire the right people, you can’t take anything for granted.
One of the easiest ways for owners to drill down is to ask questions and require proof. From licensing to insurance to references, you’re essentially verifying everything with documents and conversation. If a staff member becomes evasive on a particular topic, such as liability, this could be a sign of what’s to come.
The services of a property manager can run the gamut. Keep in mind what you’re looking for today and consider what you might need tomorrow. For example, are you planning to buy more properties in the next 5 years? Do you think you’ll be remodeling the facilities? You need to find out how companies can scale up (or down) depending on your needs.
Get Into Details
Property management companies have a lot on their plate. Collecting rent, tenant retention, maintenance, budget: the list truly goes on and on. A good property management company will focus on the details without losing sight of the big picture.
When you’re interviewing a company, pay attention to how the staff frames certain issues:
- Are they trying to reduce their client’s utility bills?
- Do their screening practices effectively reduce the number of problem tenants?
- How often are managers inspecting the property for defects?
- What’s the policy for arranging maintenance appointments?
- What’s the protocol for compliance regulations? How are companies keeping on top of new laws?
- Are certain maintenance items deferred, and if so, for how long?
The details have a lot to do with your profits. A proactive property management company will constantly try to better the facilities and grounds. They’ll be on top of local legislation rather than being caught unawares when the laws are passed. They’ll have initial strategies and contingency plans on everything from marketing tactics to zoned temperature control.
Calculate the Costs
Property management companies usually work on a percentage of the monthly rental income collected (though some will work for a flat fee). All property owners will need to consider how these fees eat into their potential profits, but they also need to consider the true value of a trusted property management company.
Experience can be worth its weight in gold in this industry, as it allows property managers to foresee trouble before it has a chance to develop. A cut-throat property management company may seem as though it’s saving you money, but as with most things in life, you get what you pay for.
Reputation and Referrals
Try as some companies might, it’s impossible to please all clients. What you’re looking for in terms of reputation is whether people’s reviews match what the company promises. If the company is advertising 100% occupancy rates and a client states that their building was half-empty for three months, this is a clear discrepancy. If the complaint isn’t addressed and explained by the company in a rebuttal, odds are it’s true.
Looking into remarks from other clients is also a good way to learn the specific policies of the company. For example, if the property management company pockets late fees from tenants, you might see this pop up again and again as a pet peeve of customers. Or if managers have a tendency to ignore requests on the weekend or holidays— even when they’re meant to be on call.
Property managers serve as a stepping stone to your tenants. They need to be tough enough to counter those who might take advantage of you, yet soft enough to ensure tenants feel valued. As you might expect, this is not always an easy balance to strike.
One of the ways that property managers inspire the goodwill you need for retention is to stay in touch with residents. Comment cards, welcome baskets, and regular communication have all proved effective for keeping tenants happy. Even just small gestures, such as offering more payment options, can go a long way. Look for a company that is going the extra mile without blowing your budget.
If you’re searching for how to choose property management company, it’s a sign that you care about your facilities. A little research and lot of questions can ensure you get a management company that will look out for you as much as you look out for your investment.
Looking for a Reputable Property Management Company? Contact Strategic Properties Group
Are you looking for an experienced property management company in the Tampa area? Our experts at Strategic Properties Group can assist you with commercial and residential property management, leasing, and development to help you maximize your returns. Reach out to us today to get started.