What Should You Expect From Your Property Management Company?
Once you have decided that you really need to hire a property management company, what should you rightly expect?
7 Essential Expectations
- Personal - Will there be one particular person who will be managing your property? Have you met that person before you signed the contract? Do you feel comfortable with that person? What is his/her name? How easily will it be to contact that person with your concerns?
- Attentive - Remember, it is your property the company will be managing. You should expect to have your questions heard and answered promptly and without attitude. Your questions should not be dismissed as unimportant and you should not feel ignored or belittled for asking questions.
- Up-to-date - Is your property manager well acquainted with the applicable rules/regulations and the current trends in the rental market where your property is located? It is not enough to know the general market for your city. Has your property manager done his/her homework for your unique community? Have they made the effort to thoroughly acquaint themselves with your particular property as it exist today, rather than simply assuming it is like all the other homes in the neighborhood?
- Professionalism - Does the company apply the very best property management tools to advertise your property, screen prospective tenants, communicate with property owners, and manage finances? How easy is it have online access to everything related to your property? Does the company operate with transparency or do they tend to be secretive or evasive about their operations?
- Contractors - Who are their primary contractors when maintenance issues arise? Are they top quality, bonded contractors with a respected track record in the community? Is the property management company known to follow up on all repairs to confirm quality work was completed as expected, with the exact materials you ordered?
- Reputation - What is their track record for dealing with problems such as when a tenant ceases to pay rent, is destructive to the rental property, becomes a nuisance to neighbors, does not abide by the terms of the rental agreement, or may need to be evicted? Do they handle issues efficiently, expeditiously, and legally? Do they have a good reputation as a company in your community, with the BBB, the Chamber of Commerce, and contractors within your city?
- Competence - Is the property management company known to have the knowledge and necessary experience for what you need? In other words, do they notice what most others wouldn't have seen? What kind of things do they look for during a property inspection? Do they utilize a detailed inspection check-list? Will you have access to the results of each inspection? Do they take before, during, and after photographs of your property? Will they immediately contact you with any preventive maintenance concerns? How often will the property manager drive by your property to 'spot check' and schedule walk-through inspections to make sure that the tenants are actually maintaining your property as agreed? What do they advise regarding property insurance, record keeping for tax purposes, etc?
Questions You Might Also Ask - What are their recommendations regarding tenants who smoke, leasing to students who may bring in roommates, dealing with your homeowner association rules and dues, and tenants who have or later want to have pets? Can you, the property owner, contact the tenants and/or check on the property yourself? What if you decide you want to sell your property before your management contract terminates?
There are many important aspects to Property Management that you, the property owner, ought to think about before you sign the contract. We hope these 7 expectations will be helpful. If you live in the DFW area, please check us out.