Real estate property management is an essential part of owning an investment property. A property manager’s job is more than just maintenance. They must also deal with tenants, advertise vacancies, determine rental prices, and set a budget.
With so many important tasks, hiring the right property manager is a crucial decision. Here are a few useful tips on finding the perfect property manager.
Do an online search
An online search is a quick and dirty solution. Browse online forums for helpful advice from professional property managers and investors who have already gone through the process.
Vet the names you see on your online search. Check their credentials and their company on LinkedIn. Look them up on Yelp and Facebook for reviews. You can also check out their Better Business Bureau ratings before getting in touch with them.
Solicit referrals from colleagues and business contacts. Once you have a list of potential candidates, go through the same vetting process listed above.
You can also call your real estate agent for referrals. If they’ve been in the business for a while, they can provide you with reputable local property management companies you can look into.
Arrange an interview
Make sure to meet each prospective property manager in person. It’s important to assess their personality and interpersonal skills.
Here are helpful questions to ask during the interview:
- How many rental units are you managing right now?
- What type of properties do you usually manage?
- How long have you been in business?
- How do you set rental price?
- How do you deal with vacancies?
- Do you have an advertising plan?
- How do you deal with tenants?
In California, you can hire an unlicensed property manager but note that they have limited capabilities compared to their licensed counterparts. That’s why it’s recommended that you hire a property manager with a valid real estate license.
To verify, go to your local Real Estate Commission to see if their license is still active. You can also ask if any disciplinary action has been taken against them.
After you’ve shortlisted candidates, check their licenses and certifications to see if they’re up to the task. If they have completed at least one of the following programs, then they qualify.
- National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM)
- Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM)
- National Property Management Association (NPMA)
- National Apartment Association (NAA)
Client references are a great way to find out more about your potential property manager’s work ethic. Past client experiences can help you figure out if a certain property manager or company is right for you.
A former client speaks from experience and can tell you things you can’t have known from an interview alone. They can also let you in on how well they treat their clients before, after, and during the partnership.
If a property manager doesn’t have any references to provide, move on and look for someone who can.
Visit the properties they manage
One of the best ways to evaluate a property manager is by visiting the properties under their care. If you see an unkempt exterior or a poorly maintained lobby, consider them red flags.
If you run into a tenant while visiting the units, ask if you can talk to them about their property manager. Inquire about their day-to-day interactions, as well as how promptly they respond to maintenance issues. If you hear a lot of complaints, then it’s best to look for another potential property manager.
Offer a competitive salary
According to January 2020 estimates by Salary.com, property managers in California are paid an average of $110,000 per annum. Adjust according to your candidate’s track record and experience. The goal is to have someone on board who can demonstrably help you get the most out of your investment.
To ensure your hire performs as you expect, stay in touch with them regularly. Review their work to make sure your property receives the care and attention it needs, and that your tenants are satisfied by the quality and timeliness of the services your property manager offers.