Protecting your real estate investment hinges a lot on picking the right property management firm. The problem is there is a surfeit of property management companies in the real estate market with new ones entering the fray every day. How do you tell the difference between competing organizations when most of them provide similar services and make similar claims? Here are some pointers for determining the best fit for your needs.
1. Look for referrals from several sources.
Word of mouth can be your initial clue in looking for a property manager. You may be able to get some viable options by listening to some property owners in your environs or to some real estate agents.
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Ask if you may have a list of property management firms they had experience with or are presently using. Pick up on the things they have been happy with and the problems they have had.
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Know that a referral can be partisan. This is why your referrals should come from various sources. If you hear several times that a certain property manager or firm is exceptional, then there is a great possibility it is true.
2. Use the Internet in searching for property managers.
After hearing from others, do your own research. Some websites will ask you to indicate the size and location of your property and they will produce a list of property management firms near you.
There are also company reviews you can find online that you should peruse before setting up a meeting with a property manager. Be informed of the kind of rating the company tends to get and if there are complaints filed against it.
3. Inspect their ongoing projects.
Drop in the actual properties they administer. Are the premises clean and properly maintained?
Talk to the tenants for some firsthand information about how the property manager operates. The property management should satisfy the needs of the tenants so it is important to know if they are satisfied.
You may want to know if tenant’s complaints are promptly addressed. Inquire as to the amount of time it takes for a maintenance problem or repair to be done. Observe how clean and how quiet the building is. Question the tenant if he intend to sign a new lease with the property manager and his reasons for renewal or non-renewal. Knowing the answers can aid you in your decision whether to hire the same property manager or not.
Ask the property management company also for the kind of monthly report you would be getting from them. While you’re at it, you may also want to take a look at the property manager/management company’s license and certification. Check if they have a valid real estate broker’s license and a certification from a trade organization.