For many owners, employing a management company is not just a financial decision but an emotional one as well. Entrusting your home or investment property to others can be a difficult decision, especially to those moving out of the area.
I have always been a firm believer the personal connection between a home owner and their management company is an important consideration. A mismatch in personalities could ultimately impact the professional relationship.
Homeowners need to weigh the cost versus the benefit of having a professional company handle their investment. Is it important to you having someone to market and procure tenants, to act as a liaison between you and your tenants, handle repairs and maintenance issues versus spending your own time dealing with these issues.
I find owners focus on three major areas when asking questions of a management company. How are properties marketed? How are potential applicants screened? How are repairs and maintenance as well as legal issues handled?
I always encourage potential clients to interview other companies and benchmark their findings against their needs. Every owner has a “hotspot” that will trigger their decision making. What is the aggressive strategy for attracting renters, especially on-line or mobile search capabilities? Does the company syndicate listings to a variety of consumer websites? Which credit bureau is utilized for consumer credit reports? What kind of background check is performed? Is the lease governed by the local Realtor board? Does the lease fall under a state jurisdictional Landlord Tenant Law or Act? What are the terms of the lease? Will the property manager oversee maintenance items and cosmetic issues that need to be addressed?
Don’t assume every management company uses licensed, insured and bonded vendors. Ask for contractor lists and license verification. What are the nature of inspections to be performed and how often? The bottom line, attention to detail on all these items separates the great companies from the average ones.
Licensing and membership in professional organizations should also be considered. Is the company run by a Real Estate Broker and are the individual property managers assigned to your property licensed Realtors®? Although not a requirement in all states, there are innumerable benefits if they are. It ensures compliance with local and state laws, all Fair Housing issues and gives you the single point of contact for all necessary real estate services.
Membership in NAR, NARPM or networks such as Leading Real Estate Companies of the WorldTM indicates a commitment to continuing education and a pledge of excellence. The end result is a higher satisfaction rate among clients.
Your final decision should be made based upon your individual needs, the services offered to satisfy those needs, the overall cost, and the professional expertise a property manager can provide. And remember, Real Estate services are local – so your property management should be as well!
-Article by Katja Hom, Avery-Hess Realtors, Director of Business Development