How to Hire the Perfect Property Manager

If you have owned income property for any length of time, you know that it’s financially rewarding. At the same time, however, you have discovered that property management requires a large commitment of time and effort.

While it might make sense to take on the do-it-yourself approach if you are a handy guy, in many cases, it’s just practical- especially if you are looking to expand your business.

Hiring the perfect property manager can easily become one of your greatest assets, second only to the properties they steward on your behalf. That said, given that the property managers will make crucial decisions on your behalf, it’s essential that you conduct thorough homework before you settle for a property manager.

And in the section below, we shall explore 7 super tips that you need to follow on How to Hire the Perfect Property Manager.

Ask for Recommendations and Referrals

This is a hands-down tip of finding a good property manager.

Both referrals and recommendations are like actual reviews and real-life experience with the property manager.

Come to think of it, how many times have you a made a decision because a trusted friend, business associate or family member made a recommendation?

Talk to other property owners and realtors in your locality, and this way you might be able to get some great options.

However, understand that people have different preferences and a referral can be biased. It’s therefore essential that you get referrals from different sources.

And if you hear the same thing about a property manager or firm, whether good or bad, there is a greater chance that it is true.

Perform and Independent Online Search

While you may find great property managers through referrals, it’s equally important that you perform your research.

An online search will generate a listing of multiple property management companies. And the good news is that websites like T-rex Global and AllPropertyManagement will allow you to plug the size of your property and location and they will generate a list of property management companies in your locality.

Look at the Reviews

After the two processes above, you should already have a few names with you. It’s from here that you should start conducting in-depth research on each property manager and narrowing to a selected few.

The first step is to check on their reviews. Reviews usually paint a picture of what a company is all about.

Gladly, there are various sites to check on a company review, with the leading one being Yelp. Besides Yelp, check on their social media pages on Facebook, or Twitter and see what users say about the company.

If you are like me, you can even go a step ahead and use the “Company name reviews” function on Google, and this will generate multiple search results on the reviews of a property agent.

Sure, there are keyboard warriors out there to malign an image of a company/competitor, but be sure to look at what a majority of reviewers, particularly the tenants and property owners are saying about the company.

Like referrals and recommendations, if you see plenty of negative reviews or one/two-star rating, it’s good that you drop it from your list and vice versa.

Check Out their Current Projects in Process

Reviews, online opinions or word of mouth can only go so far in ascertaining the professionalism of a property manager.

It’s always a good idea to visit their work station or projects to see and feel their real offerings.

While at it, take note on their professionalism, i.e., how are you welcomed, how do they treat tenants and other property owners, do you feel comfortable and so on.

Make a point of speaking to the tenants and ask them of the experience with the property manager. Some of the questions that may help you gauge their competency include:

  • Is the building kept clean?
  • Is the premise quiet?
  • How long does it take for maintenance or repair issues to get fixed?
  • Are the tenants feeling like their complaints are get addressed and in time?
  • Do they plan on extending their lease? Why and why not?

By the time you are through with your “tour,” you should have an idea on the performance of the property manager.

Interview Several Property Managers

By now, you will have narrowed your list to a couple of potential managers.

Trim the list further by conducting an interview process.

Similar to how you interview and screen tenants seeking to rent your property, you will want to interview several property managers. This will allow you to compare them and select a manager you are comfortable trusting your property with.

An interview should separate property managers with real knowledge and a proven plan, from those without.

Questions may vary depending on your property, location, regulations, and size, but typically the interview questions should cover:

  • Services offered
  • Educational background
  • Fees charged
  • Experience
  • Understanding of landlord-tenant laws

You can gauge their competency on how they answer the questions. Are they receptive to your question or dismissive? Are they putting their best foot forward during the interview? If not, things are likely to get worse if you allow them to manage your property.

Check their Licensing and Certification

A majority of the states require that a property manager has a real estate broker’s license. Always ensure that you work with a licensed property manager. Gladly, you can check the validity of their certification through the Real Estate Commission.

Examine their Management Agreement

The final tip of hiring a property manager is examining their management agreement.

The agreement should clearly define the responsibility of the property manager as well as that of the property owners.

Pay close attention to the sections on the services provided, extra fees, compliance with fair housing rules, reasons for cancellation and should hold harmless clause.

Now, if this is the terms you agreed, then you should go ahead and sign the document.

Finding a reliable and professional property manager is a challenging affair, as you can see. If you are in San Jose, however, you do not need to go through the hassle of the above processes; Utopia Property Management has in the decade providing professional property management services.

Adam Torkildson