When you invest in real estate, there are many ways to guarantee a good return on your investment. One of the more reliable and secure is to rent out your property with the help of a property manager. This ensures that you have a professional on your team who can oversee the day-to-day needs of your unit, and deal with important changes like new tenants, upgrades, maintenance, and more.
A great property manager can mean the difference between a rental property that holds its value, and one that’s allowed to slide into disrepair. It’s worth taking the time to find the right one, and ensure you’re in agreement in terms of expectations for the property, and your relationship to each other.
Start by making a list of all the available property managers in your area. It makes sense to hire someone that’s located near your rental property, so they can make periodic inspections and be on hand in emergencies. Once you’ve got your list, here are a few things you should consider when making your final decision.
1. Their Local Experience
Don’t be afraid to ask potential property managers about their experience, and how long they’ve been working in the local area. They may be talented and responsive, but if they just moved into the area, they likely won’t have the necessary connections to ensure repairs and maintenance can be taken care of quickly.
2. How Busy They Are
A good property management company with effective practices for rent collection and listing properties should be able to handle plenty of units at one time. However, if you’re speaking to an individual manager, they might have a bit more limited capacity for how many units they can handle. Make sure to check their capacity to make sure your units will get the attention they deserve.
3. How They Determine Their Fee
Every property manager deals with fees in a slightly different way. Some offer flat monthly rates, while others charge a percentage of the rent collected. Then there are others whose set fees seem low, until you discover hidden fees that they haven’t told you about.
Charging a set portion of the monthly rent is ideal because it keeps the property management company motivated – if they can’t find a tenant for your unit, it will be their financial loss as well as yours.
Additionally, once you’ve sorted out the standard fees, make sure you’re aware of any other fees you could face down the road. This could range from a set fee every time they have to go in for an inspection to an additional percentage amount for the first month of every new tenancy.
4. Their Marketing Strategies
How a property manager markets their properties has a huge impact on the kind of tenants they attract. To find the best tenants, your property should be marketed widely, so the property manager has access to as many quality tenants as possible. Ideally, they should have their own listing service, where potential tenants can easily access information on new listings as soon as they’re available.
If you interview a property manager and they’re stuck in the Stone Age when it comes to marketing, take a pass. Relying on newspaper ads just won’t cut it anymore.
5. How They Communicate
Reaching your property manager should be easy. The best property management companies have created clear and simple channels of communication for both tenants and landlords, so they can get necessary updates as quickly as possible.
Potential property managers should be able to tell you how they can be reached – and it shouldn’t just be over the phone. A quick response time is the sign of an active and engaged property manager. If it takes them days to get back to you, imagine how slowly they’ll be when it comes to regular upgrades or home inspections.
6. How They Handle Expenses with Landlords
As a landlord, you have the ultimate authority over your property, and how things like repairs and maintenance are handled. However, it’s important to work out a plan with your property manager to determine how to approach these expenses.
Some property managers prefer to be given access to an emergency fund with a set amount of money (a few hundred dollars to start) that they can draw from without alerting the property owner. Other managers go directly to the owner with every expense request, no matter how small. There’s no right answer – you just have to decide which system you prefer.
7. How Well They Listen
The relationship between owners and property managers should be symbiotic. You should feel like they’re acting in your best interest in every situation, and that they take your needs into account.
It’s hard to make this determination before you’ve actually started working together, but a good indication is whether or not they’re listening to you during your initial conversations. If they’re dismissive or act like they know what’s best for your property from the beginning, it’s a sign that they’ll continue to do exactly that in the future.
Start the Hunt for a Great Property Manager Today
When you’re looking for a property management company in Windsor, make sure your needs are taken into account. Hiring a property manager should feel like entering into a partnership, not taking on additional liability.
Fortunately, the team at Goldmar Property Management is here to help. As real estate investors ourselves, we know all about the unique stressors of income property ownership and are happy to put our knowledge to work serving our clients. Contact us today to learn more about our experience in the Windsor area, and how we effectively manage and operate properties all around Essex County.