1. How do they advertise?
2. How do the screen applicants and select the right one?
3. What do they do when rent is late? Check on them! They might talk a good game, but do they really enforce the rules?
4. What do they charge for fees and what do they do for their money? Are there hidden fees?
5. What is the cancellation policy if you are unsatisfied with their services?
There is much more to this, but this can get you started. DO NOT interview just one manager! Visit with at least three (if there are that many available) and put them all through the wringer. You will learn a lot and one of them will likely stand apart from the others.
If they sound good, ask for references. Get a couple Owners AND current tenants and then ask them specific questions. How well does the PM communicate? Do they take care of the properties the way an owner would? Are they professional when dealing with tenants, meaning they run it like a business and not a welfare system or a get-rich-quick scheme?
My first property manager used forms that were taken from someone else's office and copied so many times they were hardly legible. That's a sign that they were just doing the minimum to get by. Find a PM that really works for their money, is honest, and that can care for your property while taking care of the tenants.
Finding a good property manager is a lot like finding any other professional you are looking to hire.
- A sk around! Do you have family, friends or coworkers who have used a property manager in your area? .
- B etter Business Bureau or Chamber of COmmerce, or local board of Realtors can supply you names of several people who are in the business. that is a t least a starting point.
- C heck the newspaper (or online) classified ads. Is there a name that shows up more regularly. These are the people who are renting property now. Call and ask for references. A good management person will be glad to give you references-- not relatives either.
- D o your due diligence-- ask what they charge, and what services that covers,
In my area of S central PA,a Rental agent may charge the equivalent of 1st full month's rent for finding a tenant, which includes showing the property(maybe to a dozen prospects before a good match is found), checking referrences and credit, setting up the leaseand getting it signed, and doing the wakthru with the new tenant.
Managing the proeprty on a monthly basis commands a fee ofan 8-10% of rent .
hope that helps
REALTOR GRI, green designee
HALE REAL ESTATE