In answer to your first question, there isn't any set fee that Realtors charge for performing property management.
I really believe your second question is a much more important one. When hiring a Realtor to manage your rental property, you need to find how they conduct their business. Inquire about the following things:
(1) How does this company screen potential renters? You need to find out what they do beyond a basic credit check. The best property managers use thorough screening services--ones that will find out if your potential renter has ever been evicted, for example.
(2) Does this company collect rent for the first AND last month, as well as a security deposit? It could matter if your renter skips out without paying for the final month AND trashes your property.
(3) What is their pet policy? Insurance companies consider certain breeds of dogs more likely to be involved in attacks. A careful property manager who is protecting your interests will base his;/her pet policy on these guidelines.
(4) How do they handle repair issues? The company should have a policy on this. It's best if they collect funds from you upfront to be held for you in escrow in case an appliance, for example, needs a repair. For major items, their repair policy might state that anything costing over an agreed upon dollar amount (such as $500) must be authorized by you in writing.
(5) How do they choose the support people they use? Do they only work with reputable, established cleaning companies and repair people who are licensed and insured in the state where they're working?
As to your last question, "Maybe." Some property managers may offer a lower fee for their services to landlords who bring them multiple properties to manage. However, don't get hung up on the fees. A good property management company is worth the peace of mind they bring you.
Rental commission rates are like real estate commissions, they are negotiable and they do vary. Often the amount of the rental rate is directly related to the services provided. Some companies manage the lawn or other contractors as well as obtaining the tenant and collecting the rents.
If you just want to get a tenant in the property there are companies who simply procure the tenant for a fee. They get the tenant, check references and then you collect all the rents. Once the tenant is in the property you take care of any problems and collect the rents. It has its advantages if you can handle the property caretaking. Don't do this if you are venerable to sob stories when rent is late.
Beware, rental agents like to add stuff in their agreements which give them the right to list the property if you decide to sell during the rental term, or if the tenant offers to buy the property from you, you may have to pay the rental company a commission. A rental agency might not be the best agency to list a property for sale. Read all of the agreement with the company you choose and if you don't understand exactly what it says seek the advice of an attorney.
Beverly Howe, ABR, GRI, TRC, CIPS
1-239-269-2766 Local Direct
If you are deciding on renting a home in the area, and finding a well qualified tenant, I would recommend that you chose a realtor that is familiar with the area and/or the community in which the home is located, completely understands the local rental market in terms of what is the maximum amount of rent that you could expect to receive for the property, what is necessary to receive top of market rents, has a strong marketing plan, understands how to interpret credit and back ground information. A realtor that is dedicated to making your needs a priority to get the property rented as quickly as possible. As you know, the longer the property sits vacant is just an opportunity for lost revenue.
Please feel free to contact me if I can be of further assistance.
Keller Williams Realty