When you’re deciding on a property management firm, there are a lot of factors to consider. While online reviews can be helpful, they shouldn’t be your sole resource. While these reviews may be helpful in some cases, there are still questions you need to ask to make sure the firm has your best interests in mind and will be there when you need them. A property management firm should ease your headaches, not create new ones. Before signing on the dotted line, be sure to get the answers to these questions:
How many evictions do you do each year?
Evictions should be a last resort when dealing with tenant issues. If your prospective property management firm has been forced to do a lot of evictions, you’re going to want to ask why. You want a firm that is going to screen tenants well enough beforehand to avoid evictions. With that said, you also want someone who knows how to deal with evictions if need be. When asking this question be sure to find someone who has experience with evictions, but not too much!
How do you handle late rent payments?
There needs to be a policy in place so that if a payment is late it doesn’t become a habit. If there are no repercussions, then the tenant may be more likely to pay late again. Ask if late fees are charged (which they should) and how they go about collecting the fee and the late rent.
How much do your services cost?
This varies with each company and depends on what services you’re getting. The average cost is between 8 and 12 percent of the monthly rent plus expenses. It’s your job to find out what’s included and what other expenses or fees may be added. For example, extra maintenance work may not be included in the basic fee. Ask whether you get notified of these extra charges before the work is complete.
How do you handle repairs and maintenance?
On the topic of maintenance and repairs, ask whether the property management firm is on-call 24 hours for emergencies. You’ll also want to know if the firm has its own in-house company for repairs or if it searches contractors for the lowest bids. If the latter is true, be sure they use qualified and certified companies.
What types of reports do you do for my property and how often?
As a property owner, you’ll want to keep track of rent collection, repair costs, fees, and any other types of money-related information. Ask what types of reports are done and how frequently. You’ll also want to know how they are accessed. Some companies have online portals so reports are available 24-hours a day once they’re posted. Typically, reports are done monthly.
Do you have dedicated, licensed property management employees with real estate background?
First thing you’ll want to know is if the firm is licensed. Going with an unlicensed firm can cause big issues if there are ever any legal problems with your property. Ask about the background of the employees. Do they know about real estate? You’re obviously going to want people with experience. How many other properties have they successfully managed in the past? Do they solely do property management, or do they sell real estate as well? You can ask for references as well to see how other property owners liked dealing with the firm.
Remember, if you don’t like the answers you’re getting to these questions, it’s okay to shop around. You want to find a property management company that will make your best interests their priority. And, if you’re looking for a property management firm, we hope you will consider Property Alliance. Over 95% of tenants we place pay their rent on time, every time and the majority of our properties are rented prior to the lease actually becoming available. Read more about what makes us unique – you won’t be disappointed!