It may come as no surprise to you: not all real estate investors come equipped with the skills and know-how it takes to properly and successfully manage their investment. As their agent, you work hard to secure strong deals, negotiate ideal terms and operate with their best interests at heart. When the transaction closes and your client is happy, your job may not always be over. There may be one more value-add to consider: does your client stand to benefit from the services of a rental property management company?
When it comes to choosing rental property management companies, it is important to consider a few factors and know the right questions to ask.
Identifying your client’s needs
Step one in finding the right investment and rental property management company lies in determining what type of services will meet the needs of your clients. While rental property management tasks can overlap in terms of results, different firms may specialize in different types of services so it is important to ask questions.
Don’t assume you know the answer until you’ve heard the answer. You may find a firm is interested in moving into a new area of service and looking for early adopters to prove their abilities. Determine your client’s needs to ensure you are asking the right questions to quickly filter your available options.
Consider the options
The advent of technology have increased the ability to connect exponentially, and allows for even the smallest of companies to leverage methods of marketing that can push them into near-direct competition with the largest of corporations in the same industry.
By leveraging your social networks on Facebook, Yelp and searching Google for multiple phrases and even services, you may find far more options than you had been aware of. Read the reviews with a discerning eye, and even reference specific events in your interview process. This will not only hold the firm accountable for their action, but it may also help begin a conversation that leads to a fruitful partnership!
There are websites, like allpropertymanagement.com, that can point you toward modern rental property management services based on specific criteria. For example, if your client has a 8,000-square-foot, single-family home in the northwest suburb of Barrington, you will be able to uncover a list of property management companies that operate in that area, with the ability to request a bid from them on the spot.
Finally, reach out to your trusted network for advice. A referral from a trusted colleague carries a lot more weight than a link from a Google search. Additionally, there are many property management companies run referral programs that can benefit Realtors.
Checking the boxes
By compiling a list of must-have’s for your client, you can approach the search for the right property manager with a checklist and cut down on your learning curve.
How does the firm market vacancies?
Do they utilize a small team of in-house agents who hit the web, aggressively posting your client’s listing? Or do they immediately post it on the MLS and wait for calls to trickle in while they are actively hunting down new business? Are they working with potential renters’ schedules to book showings, or are they only taking appointments 9 to 5, Monday through Friday?
Some other areas of service to consider:
- How do they screen potential tenants; are they thorough, keeping the safety and well-being of your property and other tenants in mind?
- How do they collect fees, rent and penalties; Are they utilizing technology to make the process fast, simple and friendly so your tenants are not burdened?
- Are they prompt and responsive; when tenants call in the middle of the night, will they answer the phone or will the tenant have to call your client next?
- Are they proactive about security and safety; do they recommend or offer to place a fire extinguisher in every unit, replace exterior lights regularly and ensure means of egress are secure and lock in accordance with the law where applicable?
- Do they perform regular maintenance; will they replace furnace filters and remove snow and ice in the winter?
- Are they skilled communicators; Do they know how to speak to all types of people respectfully and with ease, allowing for a positive relationship?
Property management firms charge a fee for their services. This can vary from firm to firm but the key lies in spelling out the services covered by the standard monthly cost and determining what, if any, extra fees are lying in wait for your clients. If a firm charges a higher monthly percentage, they may not necessarily be the most thorough service around.
On the other side, if a firm is charging a lower rate than others, there may be many services that carry extra costs. Services like lease renewals for existing tenants, that don’t really cost anything to anyone, may come with an unexpected charge.
By using this article to best consider the needs of your client ahead of time, you can ask the right questions to find out which property management firm will provide the greatest value to your clients.
Andrew is the President and Founder of Lofty Real Estate. Whether you or your clients need help managing an existing property, or would like some data-driven insights to help steer a decision on a new investment, Andrew and his team at Lofty are excited to partner with you. Get in touch with them at www.loftyrealestate.com.