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The Ultimate Guide to Finding a Good Property Manager

Renters Warehouse Blog

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As a landlord, your work never ends. It seems like there’s always something that needs to be done with your rental, whether it’s repairs or maintenance to arrange, an outgoing tenant and upcoming vacancy to plan for, or checking in to do a walk-through of your property. 

For many landlords, help comes in the form of outsourcing: to a professional property management company, or property manager.

Property management includes tasks such as tenant sourcing and screening, rent collection, lease enforcement, property maintenance and repairs, and more. While some landlords may feel that they can handle property management on their own, for many there comes a point when outsourcing starts to make more sense. This is especially the case if you’d like to invest in multiple properties, are planning to invest out-of-town, or would like to start producing passive income with your rentals, something that will most likely require you to take a backseat for the day-to-day tasks.

An effective property manager can make all of the above possible. But how can you find a great property manager that you can entrust with your rental? Let’s find out!

What Does a Property Manager Do?

There are many moving parts when it comes to rental property management, and a good property manager should be able to juggle these responsibilities without missing a beat. Here are some common tasks that a property manager, or property management company, should perform:

  • Tenant Sourcing and Screening

Property managers have tools and processes in place to advertise vacancies, and generate interest for your property. Property managers use various channels, both online and offline, to advertise vacancies and attract potential tenants. They can conduct showings for interested parties and highlight its features.

Once they have potential tenants lined up, they can commence the tenant screening process. A good property management company should have an airtight screening process in place to check credit histories, references, and rental histories in a way that’s fair and in compliance with the law.

  • Tenant Communication

Property managers are the primary point of contact for tenant issues and concerns. Tenant communication is a key part of property management, as resolving tenant concerns quickly and professionally can lead to tenant satisfaction, which may increase the likelihood of tenants renewing their leases and staying put for longer.

  • Lease Management

A good property management company will also handle rental agreements, renewals, and even evictions when necessary as well. They should also handle lease enforcement, helping to ensure tenants are in compliance with the lease.

  • Rent Collection

A property manager should also implement efficient systems to collect rent to help ensure timely payments.

  • Financial Reporting

Property owners receive regular financial statements detailing income, expenses, and any other relevant economic activity related to the property.

  • Maintenance and Repair Management

Per landlord requests, property managers can arrange regular inspections and routine maintenance activities, like landscaping or pest control. They address and coordinate necessary repairs, often having a network of trusted professionals they can call upon when necessary. 

  • Availability

Most property managers provide round-the-clock emergency services so that critical issues like plumbing leaks or electrical failures are addressed quickly.

Renting out a property exposes investors to certain risks. Navigate these with our FREE Guide – Risk Management for Landlords: Identifying and Mitigating Potential Hazards and Liabilities.

10 Qualities Every Good Property Manager Should Have

If you want an excellent property manager on your team, here are the traits you should look for:

1. Great Communication Skills

Rental property management is a people-facing business. Aside from you and your tenants, property managers talk to repair companies, lawyers, local government agencies, and other establishments. Often, these are not one-time meetings either. The rental property manager has to develop good relationships with contacts if they want to have smooth discussions and transactions in the future.

A property manager is adept at explaining lease terms, addressing tenant concerns with empathy, and providing clear reports to property owners. They also know how it can be frustrating for tenants and landlords to wait for days for a response to a problem or request, so they do their best to respond promptly.

Explore the Different Communication Options for Landlords and Tenants.

2. Proactive at Problem-Solving

A busted pipe on a snowy winter day, neighbors quarreling about noise, or a tenant getting locked out; from maintenance emergencies to tenant disputes, issues can arise unexpectedly with rentals. An efficient manager anticipates potential challenges and has contingency plans in place. They’re solution-oriented and shouldn’t get overwhelmed by stressful situations.

3. Organization Skills

Juggling multiple properties, tenants, and contractors requires an organized mind. The best property managers maintain meticulous records and stay on top of maintenance schedules. They help to ensure that tasks like lease enforcement and rent collection are handled punctually.

4. Good Knowledge of Regulations

Local and federal regulations govern residential properties. A property manager should have an understanding of these laws, and should be able to conduct their business in a way that’s in compliance with regulations. 

5. Strong Ethical Compass

Trustworthiness and integrity are non-negotiable traits. Property managers handle significant financial transactions and sensitive personal information. Owners and tenants alike must have confidence in the manager’s ethical standards, knowing they will act in the best interests of all parties involved.

6. Negotiation Skills

Negotiation skills often come into play as well, from negotiating with a potential tenant to discussing rates with contractors. A capable property manager knows how to strike a balance, crafting favorable terms while maintaining quality and relationships.

7. Tech-Savvy

Many property management tasks have moved online. From listing properties on rental platforms to using property management software for accounting, a tech-savvy manager can streamline operations, boosting efficiency and accuracy.

8. People Skills

Residential properties aren’t just investments; they’re homes. Recognizing the human element and interacting with tenants compassionately, understanding their needs and concerns is crucial. A manager who builds rapport with tenants can enhance tenant satisfaction rates.

9. Detail-Oriented

Overlooking minor details can lead to more significant, costlier issues down the line. Whether scrutinizing a maintenance request, inspecting a property, or reviewing a lease agreement, a keen eye for detail helps to prevent things from slipping  through the cracks.

10. Enjoys Property Management

Passion often drives excellence in any profession, and property management is no exception. An effective property manager genuinely enjoys their work. They take pride in maintaining properties, building relationships with tenants, and making sure that operations go smoothly. The work is challenging, but when they feel motivated and positive despite challenges, this enthusiasm often translates to a proactive approach. They’re more willing to go the extra mile and keep up with the latest industry trends. When a property manager loves what they do, both owners and tenants can feel the difference, benefiting from an enhanced living experience and superior service.

7 Tips to Finding a Good Property Manager

1. Gather Recommendations

Start by tapping into your network. Chat with fellow landlords, property investors, or friends who’ve rented properties. Personal recommendations can be golden since they come from firsthand experiences. The internet is another good place to start looking. Search for local property management companies in your area. Online forums, local real estate groups, or community boards are also treasure troves for suggestions.

2. Research and Review

Got your list of potential candidates? Do a little background research before reaching out to them. Begin by checking online reviews and ratings on Google, their websites, or social media pages. Find out how long they have been in business and the type of properties they typically manage. Check for client testimonials, too.

3. Interview Potential Candidates

As mentioned earlier, a property manager needs to have good interpersonal and organizational skills. You can learn much about a candidate’s interpersonal skills and demeanor from an interview. A face-to-face or video interview allows you to see beyond what’s written on a resume. It facilitates real-time interaction, allowing you to gauge a candidate’s ability to think on their feet, communicate properly, and respond to unexpected questions.

Here are some practical tips for your interview with a potential property manager:

  • General Communication Skills

How well do they articulate their thoughts? Are they good listeners? Do they interrupt, or do they wait for you to finish before responding?

  • Language and Vocabulary

There’s a lot of jargon in real estate. While it can be helpful when dealing with industry experts, not everybody can understand insider speak. The applicant should be able to explain concepts in simple terms, especially if interacting with people outside of their field.

  • Body Language

Non-verbal communication often speaks volumes. Are they making appropriate eye contact? Do they appear engaged and interested?

  • Active Listening Skills

Pose a question and see how well they comprehend and respond to it. Active listeners will often paraphrase, which means they listened to every word you said and picked up on body language clues as well. They will also ask clarifying questions if they feel like they didn’t understand what you said immediately.

  • Property Management Experience

Instead of yes/no questions, ask them to elaborate on their experiences or opinions. This can give you insight into their experience.

While you’ll want to formulate your own questions, here are some examples of questions you may want to consider asking during the interview:

  • How do you manage routine maintenance and emergency repairs for the properties under your care?

  • What’s your process for selecting tenants?

  • Can you describe a time when you successfully resolved a complicated situation with a tenant?

  • What’s your marketing approach for vacant properties to avoid extended vacancy periods?

  • How often will you provide me with updates?

4. Check References and Credentials

A reputable property manager should be fine with providing references. Depending on your location, property managers might also need specific certifications or licenses. Take the time to verify licenses and accreditations. You’ll also want to check to see if the property manager is insured.

5. Understand the Fee Structure

It’s vital to know what you’re getting into financially. Some property managers might charge a flat fee, while others could take a percentage of the monthly rent. Find out what services are included, additional costs you should know, charging during vacant periods, and how they handle property maintenance costs.

6. Watch Out for Red Flags

While on your hunt, be wary of:

  • Vague Contract Terms

The terms, services, and costs should all be crystal clear and leave no room for confusion.

  • A High Number of Bad Reviews/A History of Frequent Tenant Disputes 

This could indicate poor tenant relations or management practices. Or it could be a sign that the property manager may not have an airtight tenant screening process in place.

  • Lack of Transparency

You want someone who’ll be upfront about everything related to your property.

7. Finalizing the Agreement

So you’ve found ’The One!’ Before you celebrate, make sure you have a detailed contract. You’ll also want to set the terms for communication. How will they get in touch with you? Email or phone? How often can you do phone check-ins? Talk about the exit strategy, too. If things don’t work out, how can either party gracefully exit the agreement, and how much notice is required?

Finding the right property manager requires a bit of diligence, but it’s worth spending some time to ensure you get the right property manager for your property. With a good property manager on your side, you’ll have peace of mind, knowing that your rental is in good hands. Best of all, you’ll be able to claim back more time in your day. Who knows? You may decide to expand your property portfolio or even invest out-of-state. With a good property manager, it’s possible. 

Don’t have time to manage your rental investment? At Renters Warehouse, we offer 24/7 Hassle-free Property Management services. We’ll handle the day-to-day work that’s involved with the property so you can focus on other things: like growing your investment portfolio. Start your journey today with our FREE pricing tool and see how much you could be getting for your rental. 

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